Social Media – Be Human, Not Annoying!
I’ve often said social media requires a light touch. Businesses can be technically proficient on social media, have all the tools and such like, yet, still fall at the final hurdle. Campaigns, promotions and so on are the lifeblood of social media, yet if your business doesn’t grasp the human aspects of social media interaction, all effort is wasted. It must appear that there is a real person talking but you can’t be irritating. Being too formal, business rather than customer orientated or presenting a selling orientation will turn your audience off.
I suppose you could say the clue is in the name: Social Media. It’s essential a business understands social media is about engaging with real people. It helps businesses build real relationships, at an emotional level, with individuals. These might be customers, prospects or people who ‘Like’ your page because their friends do. Companies and brands have their place but with social media it’s better to think in terms of it being a person to person communication platform.
Why is this important? If people like your business they will be more loyal, and loyalty is the foundation of everything including sales. But for customers to be loyal they have to like you and they have to believe you’re genuine (real). Look at it another way. Social media lets you build connections based on 2-way conversations.
But if you get the tone and content wrong you can really irritate people and you can find yourself ‘unliked’ or hidden. I am sorry to say that these mistakes are common with some small businesses, stuck in time warp. They still seem to think the purpose of their Twitter Account or Facebook page is to pump out information about them. Me, me, me, these accounts scream. Honestly, if your social media activity isn’t customer centred, it’s likely your accounts need an overhaul. If you’re not growing engagements it’s likely something is wrong with the execution of your social media marketing.
Common Mistakes Made by Businesses on Social Media
If you’re disappointed with your social media engagement don’t make the mistake of simply thinking social media isn’t for your business. Fortunately common mistakes can be corrected. Going back to the point I made above about communications on social media being fundamentally about people, it may help to think of people you like and don’t like in real life. What about the person you know who is always asking favours but who gives nothing in return? Or the person you know who is a ‘transmitter’ who never lets you, get a word in edgeways. These are just the kinds of behaviour I see replicated on social media all the time.
Make Conversations on Social Media
The people on your page whether customers or not, will get bored if you only post about the business. It’s essential to ask questions, interact with your audience and make them feel welcome. You’ll get results if you share interesting and valuable content, especially content that might not be about your business directly. Do that and people will engage with it and share it. Think about conversing with people. Reply to what others post in a way that’s designed to make conversation. Never cut people off.
Get the Tone Right
This can be the biggest stumbling block for businesses. If your posts are all official announcements and therefore stuffy, you will turn people off. Of course your page represents your business, but this is not the place to be formal. It’s more about the people behind the business and the business’s personality. You can reduce the formality by revealing more about the business. For example, showing behind the scenes images of your business or personal life or posting something off topic to make people laugh or illustrate an emotion. This isn’t the place for writing in the third person.
Naturally if you can get the tone right, it’s easier to have conversations.
Be Smart – Don’t Sell
Try to be sales-led on social media and you will irk people very quickly. The vast majority of your communication on social media should be aimed at winning people over. Entertaining, inspiring and helping, will win more loyalty than a direct sales pitch. Any sales pitch should be dressed up in the form of special promotions or competitions for your social media audience. Clothing manufacturers can show their audience how to wear the coolest new look of the season. A plumber can post a video to YouTube on how to regulate boiler pressure. Launching a new product? Great! Use social media to run a competition or promotion or a tutorial on how to get the most from it.
More of my thoughts on social media marketing can be found here