I follow WPBeginner on Twitter (@wpbeginner) and saw this tweet yesterday: “Folks need to understand that Twitter is more than just posting links from your site. It’s about ENGAGEMENT!” I also read a blog post by Brian Solis called “Is Your Business Antisocial?”, which led to another post by Andrew Blakely called “Why I Don’t Like Your Brand on Facebook”. This post was about Blakely’s experiment on following the call to action to like brands on Facebook which he chronicled on Tumblr.
All this got me thinking really hard and reevaluating my use of social media and how I promote its use to my clients. So here’s my added thoughts. Posting links is a good start, but it’s just a start. Remember it’s SOCIAL media, accent is on SOCIAL. Give people a reason to follow you. Define WHY you use social media other than “everyone else is doing it” and give something of value that will interest people in your brand and keep them interested. Don’t just post sales and promotions – share useful tips, thoughts, highlights of your business. Ask your readers questions. Be adventurous and make videos of yourself giving how-tos, talking about a new product and why it’s special, or to make a special announcement, then put it on your YouTube channel and post the video as a blog post. When you get people posting replies and retweeting, that shows engagement. It also means your BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS.
Social media is a marketing avenue, but the mistake many companies are making is treating it entirely that way – meaning they’re just throwing posts out dispassionately like they’re airing another commercial or distributing flyers or publishing a print advertisement in a magazine or paper. We all know that despite these old-school methods being “tried and true” they have a low conversion rate (print is like 1-2% and that’s the optimistic stat, commercials have to be seen or heard at least 7 times per person watching for a brand to be memorable, much less make a sale) and yet when many companies make the foray into social media it seems most of the time they approach it with the same mindset they do for traditional advertising. Old-school advertising is like throwing marshmallows at someone’s head and calling it eating, to borrow a quote attributed to Katrina Gutleben.
What I’m trying to say is that conversation abounds on Facebook and Twitter. People are talking about anything and everything, and these platforms are making people more “vocal” than ever. People are finding their voice in ways never thought possible, and they’re speaking their minds. People are eager to share their experiences with products and companies both good and bad, and their words spread faster than wildfire, to the ends of the earth. Keep in mind a government toppled (Egypt) thanks to Facebook and Twitter. Find a way to tap into this wor(l)d of mouth. Engage people in a way that they’ll share your brand and talk about your company and products in a positive way. Be fun and interesting. And most important of all, work on building relationships. If you’re passionate about your business and what it has to offer this should not be difficult.
I’m becoming more passionate about the use of social media because I see so many people, particularly businesspeople, that don’t see the potential of online relationship-building. However, I want them to also understand that to succeed in the social arena is much like planting a garden – you plant your seed, but it takes watering, cultivation, and love to grow and yield the fruit you desire.