Whether you’re running a small business or a big business, you’re going to need to dive into the world of social media at some point, especially when you consider the fact that nearly 70 percent of all adults online use some form of social media. Even if you’re already active on social media, you may not be getting the most out of your interactions — or you may just be frustrated by your lack of significant results. Before you write off social media interaction as not being an effective strategy for your business, consider these five essential rules of social media engagement that may be able to help you achieve more productive interactions with your customers.
1. Don’t Worry About ‘Selling’ All the Time
Save the selling for your website and use your social media platforms for forming productive interactions with your desired audience. While there’s nothing wrong with linking back to your website, the words directly in your social posts should be geared towards sparking a conversation or providing some type of useful information.
Here is an example: “Wild West Weekend is coming July 1 st and 2 nd . The fun starts at 10 a.m. with a pancake breakfast. #Downtown Houston Hotel.”
2. Don’t Let the Conversation Get Away from You
With social media, it’s easy to go off track with the conversation. For instance, you could post a Facebook post about the importance of having your gutters professionally cleaned at least once a year, and find replies discussing summer vacation plans. Take the time to monitor the feedback you get, being sure to delete irrelevant posts. If you notice the conversation getting off track, post fresh comments to get things back on track.
3. Keep Up With the Demand for New Content
A common reason that business owners, especially smaller business owners, give for ditching social media efforts is a lack of impressive results. However, the real reason social media engagement fails is lack of fresh content. If you don’t have time to post new content yourself, consider allowing employees to contribute posts. Just make sure you set up guidelines for what’s appropriate and what’s not.
4. Seek Out and Form Mutually Beneficial Relationships
Another way to remain engaged with your audience via social media is to partner with other businesses who offer complementary services or products. By working together, you each benefit from the relationship. This is an example of such a relationship: You may have a well-established following on Facebook, but you’re having trouble generating fresh content; a business selling related products that you don’t offer has a strong following on their blog; you agree to promote their business on your Facebook page in exchange for the use of some of their blog content — properly attributed, of course.
5. Nothing Is Set In Stone
Unlike traditional media forms, social media is highly adaptable. You can track your results in real-time with easily accessible tracking tools and make changes accordingly. For instance, if you’re getting more engagement through Twitter and not so much with Instagram, boost your Twitter efforts.
Social media engagement isn’t meant to replace your existing marketing efforts. It’s just another way to reach your customers, many of whom already use smart phones and other mobile devices that can access the Internet from any location. Embracing social media engagement can allow you to do things like send out coupon codes, offer special discounts and respond quickly to customer concerns. Your social media engagement strategies can easily be fine-tuned based on the results you’re seeing.