How are you and your social media activity getting along? Does it represent you and your business in the best possible light, so it's really adding an extra dimension to your marketing/ communication efforts? Or is it a slight source of embarrassment? Do you get the odd cringe when you look back over the past week online?
are you the social media ugly duckling?
Well, New Year is as good a time as any to review and adopt new habits, so how about being brutally honest with what you know you're up to on Facebook, Twitter and the rest, in the name of business, cutting out the rubbish and starting as you mean to go on?
Here are 5 ways in which the social media ugly duckling can really mask the swan- like beauty of your business. Please - check what you do and try to write these habits out of your equation as soon as possible:
Mirror, mirror on the wall
OK so you might be the prettiest or the cleverest or the best at what you do, but you know what? People are going to get pretty tired of hearing about you if it's all you talk about!
Social media is all about conversation. Think dinner party, networking, or even dating ... what questions would you ask of the new people you meet? More importantly, what do you need to know about the connections you make in order that you can provide the product/service that's just right for them and those just like them?
Who will buy my sweet red roses?
What you're trying to sell might really be the next hottest thing since the electric light bulb, but still, if you keep on trying to sell it all the time, people will switch off from you in an instant. Instead, think about what else they might want to know about that's related to what you offer. In the instance of the light bulb, maybe you could offer advice on lighting solutions for the home, energy-saving bulbs, the latest developments in lighting, or a mix of all 3.
If you really don't know what information you could offer, then ask! You could email your customers explaining you want to offer them useful and interesting information via social media and what kind of thing would they like to see? Or ask the followers and connections you have what information they'd find useful. Remember social media is all about people. Don't be afraid to have conversations just as you would offline!
Message in a bottle
How would you feel if you asked someone a question in a conversation, or even rang up a store to query something, only to get no reply? You would think 'how rude!' wouldn't you?
So why do so many businesses think it's OK to ignore queries or responses made by customers or visitors to their social media persona? How frustrating must that be for the person trying to get an answer! And frustrated people don't go away - they tend to get louder!
So please put systems in place to make sure that social media networks get monitored and responded to 7 days a week. Even if the comments being made are not favourable, it's always best to respond quickly, courteously and to get the conversation offline to a phone call, or email instead.
They seek him here, they seek him there
Do you put exactly the same stuff up on all your social media networks? Maybe, horror of horrors, you even link twitter and Facebook? Eeek! What's the point of anyone following you on both networks?
Social media is growing up and getting more sophisticated, so it's time for us to do the same. The first step is to start to get to know the different connections you have on different networks - what are their motivations and challenges? What would interest them? How can you help them? You can start to get a good feel for this just by gauging responses to the information you share and, again, by asking questions. Using Facebook insights to measure response or Hootsuite analytics to measure clicks on links in tweets will also help you to assess what works and what doesn't.
And if you haven't got the followers or connections that you think are right for what you're trying to achieve, then consider what you can do to promote your social media presence to the right audience.
You're a hard habit to break
So you're set up on say Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and you've got a fair few followers on each. Good stuff. Are you reaching out to them every day? Or are you an 'all or nothing' kind of communicator? Sorry but who wants 6 tweets, Facebook posts or LinkedIn updates from you in the space of 10 minutes unless you've got something uproariously funny to share? Once is quite enough . but then you need to make contact again, before they forget who you are. And that's not in a fortnight's time, but in a couple of hours, or at maximum, tomorrow.
Think 'little and often' and 'everything in moderation' and you'll be on the right track!
So ... how many habits will you be changing? Let us know in the comments!
Until next time ...
More about Julia Bramble ...
Julia at BrambleBuzz is passionate about helping you get the results you need from social media with training, consultancy, strategy and complete management solutions. She has helped over 100 business owners get social media working for them and is the social media expert to Nigel Botterill and The Entrepreneur's Circle
So, are you missing out on communicating with past, present and future customers because you're not using social media, or not using it effectively? We get you talking in the right way to the right people to get the right results. Simples!
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