What’s worse than not having any social media accounts? Having social media accounts that are neglected and ignored. One of the biggest missteps we see from brands of all sizes is failure to engage. Remember folks, social media is meant to be inherently social therefore engagement is critical. If someone passed you in the grocery store and told you they liked your shoes would you pass them silently? We are hoping not. However, this type of awkward interaction is happening daily across social platforms.
Failure of brands to interact over social media is uncomfortable. If someone takes the time to find you or your company on social media and leaves feedback it is your responsibility to interact. If right now, in your head, you are arguing with us and saying, “I don’t have time for that.” Then we challenge you to hire someone who does or stop asking your audience to interact.
By failing to engage you are creating conditions to turn customers away from future interactions. They will walk away from the social media interaction thinking, “I’m not going to waste my time doing that again.”
Don’t mistake our wisdom here for expecting you to thank every retweet on Twitter. There is a level of reasonableness here. We are keyed in on those who leave feedback asking a question, affirming your brand, or responding to information you shared.
Consider this: each public social media interaction is an opportunity to let your organization shine. When a person decides on their own initiative to support what your company is doing, by leaving positive feedback, they are throwing you a softball—you better swing for the fences! Thank them, affirm their great experience, and consider other ways you may follow up. While it may start on social the interaction doesn’t have to stop there.
One of the most powerful ways to use social media is to transcend the digital environment. For one of our healthcare clients a note of appreciation is sent to those who leaving glowing feedback on social postings. This encourages the public affirmation to continue and shows heartfelt appreciation. We think this is an excellent practice and truly shows an attitude of gratitude and maximum engagement.
Another way to transcend a strictly digital interaction is to bookmark what you see on social, about another company or person, and bring it up in person sometime. Do not just be a consumer of social media, use it as material for meaningful in-person conversations. This served our company very well. We started watching a local brand share exciting information about their latest product launch. At a networking event we bumped into a key leader of the company in the drink line. As we stood chatting about all the great things we saw over social media we formed a meaningful connection. When it was time to seek out marketing help they pursued our company—because they knew we had been watching them and cheering them on across social media for months. It really is that powerful!
Sales people should use it to better understand their customers and target companies. The things people and companies share tell a lot about their motivations, heart, and interests. For instance, if you follow our Founder & CEO over Twitter you will quickly learn she loves her kids, writing, marketing, and running; her twitter stream stays fairly consumed with those topics. Insight like this is great to bring to a meeting or to discuss at an in-person event.
Choose to interact over social media with intention. Do not downplay the importance of these interactions because they are occurring on a digital platform. We challenge you to return to the roots of social media and be social.