By Thomas Lashier
Too many businesses are throwing up a Facebook page for their organization simply because it’s the “popular thing to do” in 2014. Local businesses should get on Facebook? OK, I’ll have my high school daughter create a Facebook page for us.The same line of thinking goes for Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and any other social media network you could think of. Then, these same people are mystified when their Facebook page only has 40 likes or their tweets never ever get re-tweeted. Facebook doesn’t work for us. We have a page and we only got 40 likes. This is a waste of time.
Here’s the problem: you’re thinking of social media like you think of print advertisements. You are treating it like a traditional form of marketing and it isn’t traditional at all. It’s groundbreaking and and exciting and social.
Print advertisements can be created and placed in a targeted publication. After the ad is placed, you sit back and wait for customers to call you. The same can be said for TV ads, radio spots, direct mailings, and other forms of traditional advertising.
Social media doesn’t work like that.
Social media has given business relationships an atomic wedgie because it fosters two-way communication. Customers can post on a company’s wall, tweet directly to a Fortune 500 company’s CEO, and write reviews on a company’s product that can be seen by hundreds and thousands of other consumers. If a customer sees your print ad, you don’t know what their response is to that particular ad. If a customers sees that your brand is on Facebook, they can give you their heartfelt opinion right on your public wall.
It is true communication. It is truly social.
You can’t be social if all you have done is set up a Facebook page with a few photos and some company info. You can’t be social if you joined LinkedIn but haven’t actually connected to anyone within the network. Think about real life scenarios. Would you want to do business with a company that has an empty storefront or disinterested employees?
The whole world can see your efforts on social media. This includes customers and people looking to become customers. Don’t waste this opportunity.
In order to really make an impact for your brand within social media, you have to join and encourage conversations. You need to be posting relevant and entertaining content daily. And you shouldn’t put all the focus on your company’s articles or photos or accomplishments. In real life, you don’t like the self-centered tool who only talks about himself, do you? No you don’t. Nobody likes that guy. So don’t be that guy on social media! Post an article about a popular event (Super Bowl, Oscars, local concert) or share a fun story about another local business to show that you are part of the community.
If customers tweet at you, or follow you, or post something about your brand, you need to respond. In today’s world, customers expect brands to be on social media and they want to connect with them. Don’t be the brand that misses this valuable opportunity because you don’t understand the importance or you are just too lazy. In real life, you would never turn an interested customer away from your door. So don’t do it on social media by ignoring their comments or thoughts. (You can read our article about finding customers on Twitter here.)
Lastly, you can’t be social if you are a robot. Outside of Hollywood’s laws of science, robots don’t have the ability to feel and connect emotionally. Your smartphone is a sweet piece of technology, but it can’t truly start a conversation with you. (Suck it, Siri.)
In the same way, don’t depend so heavily on automated marketing that you become a robot that can’t connect to your audience. Automation is great for some things (we use Buffer at Freaky Fresh Marketing), but don’t forget that you actually need to type up responses to people yourself. You need to answer questions. You need to add some humor to a conversation. Just like in real life, you need to be present and engage with people, and you can’t rely on marketing automation to do that for you.
So, there’s my rant. If you wouldn’t do it in real life, why would you do it on social media? Don’t ignore people, don’t half-ass your efforts, and don’t become a robot. Be present, be authentic, and engage in conversations. That is the only way to truly get involved with social media.
What do you think? Am I way off here?