Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Social Media Process: Step 4

Step 4 in my Social Media Process is to Engage and Interact.

Having completed Step 1, Step 2, and Step 2 (Side Note), we are now comfortable and familiar with who constitutes our audience. This is important because it is allows us to tailor our messages and themes to the demographics of that audience. Topics we discuss with a group of male tweens/teens is often significantly different from topics discussed with middle-aged females.

According to our schedule of consistency (Step 2), we want to start actively using our account. Maybe we have formed a committee to set the theme for our week's interaction, we are working on a particular campaign, or we have an altogether different strategy. However we are going to handle postings, here are a few important reminders:
  • Social media is not about us. It is about our followers. It is about giving them an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with organizations, like us, that have products and/or services they love.
  • Give people a reason to connect. Followers connect because there is a benefit. Maybe followers are privvy to special information and discounts, they get to review products, participate in contests with prizes, whatever the reason - give a reason.
  • DO NOT information dump. Distributing information is an invaluable aspect, but it should not be the sole focus of our interaction. Pose thought-provoking questions, observations, acknowledgements of clients/patrons/members, and musings.
  • ALWAYS respond. If a follower posts a question or comment on our social media platform, they should expect a response within two to four hours MAXIMUM. Now, if we post information about an upcoming event and one of our followers comments, "I'll be there!" we can take the opportunity to interact and comment back, "it will be great to see you," or we can let the opportunity pass. However, it is absolutely positively beyond necessary to respond immediately if one of our followers comments, "what time does the event start?" Not responding could mean that follower doesn't show up and our efforts have been wasted.
  • Tailor messages. We need to tailor our message to the demographics of our audience AND to the social media platform. For instance, if we are on Twitter and Facebook, we would not share the same exact message on both platforms. Why? Because we can use hashtags and mentions in Twitter, but they would look impersonal and out of place in Facebook.
  • Share stories. Sharing stories makes us more personable and real. It makes our followers feel more connected to us and it opens the door for them to share and participate.
  • Be fun. We shouldn't be all business all the time. Occasionally, post something about what is going on in our office. Maybe we are enjoying cake for Sandy's birthday or we're having a taco lunch buffet to celebrate reaching an internal goal.
  • Include pictures and graphics. Give our audience that additional dose of personalism and connection.
  • Consistency is key. Stay on track and post according to our schedule. Two to four times a week keeps us relevant and interesting, without inundating our followers.
Graphic Copyright (c) 2006 - 2010 Tenaya Group, LLC. Article by Brian Phipps. 

 People are often worried about quantity - how many followers do I have? Why don't I have more? I need more! We should be worried about the quality of our followers. I would rather have 100 followers who are thoroughly engaged and care about my services than 1,000 followers who just receive my postings. Strong content along with engagement and interaction attracts more followers.

Connect with me at www.lbspeaksonline.com or at www.facebook.com/lbspeaksonline.

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