When using social media to market your brand or business, your goal should not be to gather as many fans and followers as possible. Rather, your goal should be to create a trust-filled relationship through listening and conversing. Before creating a social network account, make sure to establish what you need to know before entering the social media world. The following ten tips will help you start an effective conversation using social media.
1. Politeness & respect
Starting off, all conversations using social media should have the same customs of face-to-face conversation. Overall, this involves being polite, respectful, and open to any opinion that you might not share. Cicero, the Roman philosopher, laid out rules of conversation in his essay De Officiis (On Duties) that will help guide your social media and in-person conversations. They are as follows:
- Speak clearly.
- Speak easily, but give others their turn.
- Do not interrupt.
- Be courteous.
- Deal seriously with serious matters, gracefully with lighter ones.
- Never criticize people behind their backs.
- Stick to subjects of general interests.
- Do not talk about yourself.
- Never lose your temper.
2. Be real
Readers of social media want content that has personality and is real. In contrast, readers will ignore content that sounds like it came from a robot designed to spit-out tweets and posts related only to your brand. Give your fans and followers content that is relatable and has a personal perspective to establish that there is more to you than just business. To incorporate this strategy into your social media use, try sharing some pictures or stories from family or industry-related events that you attend. While this does sort of break Cicero’s eighth rule, it is done only to encourage and increase believability, as well as likeability.
3. Don’t try to sell
Your fans and followers will easily see through your posts if they only concern what products you offer. The main goal of social media is to develop a good relationship, not to try to gain sales. Sales will come after you have established a relationship. To build rapport, share content that is related to your brand, the industry you are in, and other things you think your fans and followers would like to see. Keep them coming back for more by providing content that they can gain from.
4. Always monitor
Set aside a certain amount of time per day to keep up with the conversations you have started. Knowing what your fans and followers are talking about will help you figure out what is important to them. Additionally, their topics can give you ideas for future conversations that will capture their attention.
5. Be prompt
This tip is related to monitoring and always staying on top of current happenings. If someone asks you a question or voices a concern or complaint, respond in a timely fashion. This will increase their trust, encourage loyalty, and promote likeability of your brand. If you fail to respond, it could hurt your credibility and image. This can consume a good portion of your time depending on how many fans and followers you have, but it will be very beneficial for the image of your brand.
6. Consistency is key
Try to continue to post new content on a consistent basis. Depending on your brand, new content might have to be provided every few days, every day, or multiple times per day. To help you figure out how much you should be posting, check what your competitors or similar brands and businesses are doing. There is no right answer here, but there definitely is a wrong one. You want to remain top of mind without being annoying, so try to refrain from spamming the newsfeed or Twitterfeed with content. On the other hand, too large of a delay in updating your social media could be costly as people could deem your brand or business unreliable.
7. Retweet & repost
Do you like what someone has to say? Show your other fans and followers what intrigues you by retweeting and reposting. This lets others see that you appreciate what your fans and followers have to say and that you are actually listening and reading their comments. It can also provide a perfect topic to jumpstart a new conversation.
8. Respond on an individual basis
As you create conversation for everyone to discuss, respond on an individual basis to people as well. This will help keep the discussion moving forward and could provide you with invaluable insight. Additionally, your readers will like your direct interaction. Should something profound be posted or tweeted, a retweet or repost to all you fans or followers might be appropriate.
9. Stay current
Use current events as a way to create conversation that is relevant and gets peoples’ attention. To maximize the effects of this strategy, pick news that relates to your industry. Readers will like to provide their take on news as well as hear what you have to say. On Twitter, you can check the current trending topics and incorporate those hash-tags into your tweets. Your followers will like that your content is not all pre-planned.
10. Stay positive
Know that not everything you read about your brand or business will be positive. If you choose to respond to complaints and criticisms, be open-minded and friendly. It is ultimately up to you how you want to handle the problem, like if you want to do anything special to try to appease the situation and offset any animosity. But, being positive and approaching the problem in a calm, cool, and collected manner from the get-go will help you get started on mending the relationship.
About the author:
August Drilling works for CliqStudios.com, an online site for kitchen cabinets, and loves social media, entertainment, and all things Apple.