There has never been more pressure on brands to succeed at social media. If you’re not crushing it on social, you are missing out on the biggest opportunity in the history of business.
This is the first time that brands have had such a direct line to their users and prospects. As a brand, you can chat 1-on-1 with millions of users across the world, whenever you want. Making the most of this opportunity is the key to a winning social media strategy.
Impatience never wins
The truth is that many brands fail at social because they are impatient. They don’t take the time to think about what they are posting, who they are posting to, and why they are posting.
Then take into account the pitfall of high expectations. You’re expected to know exactly what to post, how to post, and where to post it, straight off the bat. You’re an ‘expert,’ right?
I’ll admit that I’ve often found myself overwhelmed by this pressure to succeed with a social media strategy. What I’ve learned is that if brands have articulated their values, vision, and purpose, there is a stronger pathway to success. Your ultimate goal should be focused on being authentic, engaging and listening to your followers, offering something valuable, and managing expectations. Taking care of these areas will go a long way toward helping you put the ‘social’ into your brand social media strategy.
Here’s few tips I’ve learned for crushing it with your social media:
Speak to individuality
Engagement has become a bit of a buzzword right now. It’s one of the most talked about aspects of any social media strategy. Many brands struggle with how to define ‘engagement’, or how it works as part of a strategy.
Engagement is not the number of views on your video or post. It is the valuable interactions between your brand and your followers. Likes and shares are a great indicator that your audience aligns with what you’re posting, but the most valuable engagement is in real, bona fide conversation. Your ultimate social media goal should be focused on having valuable conversations and speaking to each of your fans/followers as individuals.
[Tweet “Your ultimate social media goal should be focused on having valuable conversations.”]
There’s no trick to driving valuable brand engagement in your social media strategy. Speak to your audience’s interests, passions and spark conversations, one by one. To engage people, be engaging. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 followers, or 10 thousand, engaging the people following you will result in more individual engagement.
A great way to start off engagement is by engaging with something they post. Ask them a question. Share a piece of advice. There are a ton of ways to start a conversation, the important thing isn’t how, it’s that you do.
Be authentic and open with your tribe
Being authentic is crucial to the success of any brand. And your social media strategy is no exception. Sunny gives a lot more detail on brand authenticity in ‘To Thine Ownself Be True – A Lesson in Authenticity‘. To summarize, authenticity is when the things you say and do, align with everything that you believe and do. “When companies and brands are authentic and successfully communicate that authenticity to the world, they are in a better position to serve themselves and others”.
Treat your social media platforms as a place where your brand can be a truly open book. Be open with your tribe, with every Tweet, Facebook post or Instagram Photo. Make them an extension of your brand, and reaffirming your values and archetype.
Find where your values align
The value of listening isn’t a secret. Since Dale Carnegie’s famous “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (we wrote a post on it here), every business person worth their salt knows that being a great listener is an art. And that there is more value in listening to people than there is in talking at them. Although this might seem to contradict my first point, to engage followers, actually it compliments it.
Listening is a vital part of any conversation, whether online or offline. You can’t know how to respond to someone without listening to what they have to say. Otherwise you’re just talking to people, which is unfortunately the state of most social media feeds.
When you are engaging your followers, listen to them. Respond to them and ask questions. Strive to understand them, their values, their wants. Find where they align with your brand values, and care what they have to say about you. Stop selling, and start listening.
[Tweet “Stop selling, and start listening”]
Appreciate the value in every interaction
Making people feel valued is immeasurable, and in my opinion, is the most important part of any social media strategy.
If someone highlights a pain point in conversation, and it’s something that you or your brand can help with, do it! It could be as simply as posting a link to some actionable advice, or sending an inspiring message.
Make people feel valued by engaging them, listening to them, and acting on what you know about them in a meaningful way. Finding ways to show you care about your followers will go a long way to building trust, affinity, and an eventual brand advocate.
[Tweet “Make people feel valued by engaging them, listening to them, and acting on what you know.”]
Manage your expectations and stop trying to measure ROI
Your social media strategy shouldn’t have to provide a return on financial investment. So stop trying to measure it.
Whenever I’ve said this before, it’s been quite divisive. I’m often met with flippant responses, or lists of tools that ‘allow you to measure ROI’. I’m not saying you can’t measure ROI. I’m saying you shouldn’t.
It’s a divisive notion, but I stand by it nonetheless. I think many assume that when I say ‘you shouldn’t measure ROI’, I mean ‘don’t measure anything at all’. And that’s not the case.
Metrics and KPIs matter. Of course they matter. Likes, shares, comments, number of conversations, even conversion rates matter. What I’m saying is that you need to stop expecting a financial return on your investment. You need to stop trying to shoehorn a monetary value on the relationships you build on social media. In my humble opinion, that is inherently anti-social.
Social media must be about starting valuable conversations, and building mutually valuable relationships. Use your metrics and KPIs to show whether you’re doing the right thing by your followers, and illustrate how effective your strategy is.
[Tweet “Social media must be about starting valuable conversations”]
At this moment, you have a real opportunity to engage millions of people in valuable conversations. Putting ‘social’ into your social media strategy is simple: stop talking at people, and starting talking with them.
Agree or disagree? Let’s chat about it in the comments.