Followers Are People, Too: Interacting with Humans, Not Data

fashion-person-woman-handIn the endless search for more follows, likes, comments and shares, it’s easy to forget what social media truly fosters and why we use it: human interactions. Each of your followers, whether you have 26 or 26K, are individuals who need to find meaning in your posts in order to remain engaged. So how do you find and share that meaning? By treating your followers as they really are: people.

Be authentic, really – Granted, authenticity is a buzzword around social media. People often talk about being authentic with their posts, but what does that really mean? Well, think about people you may know who seem inauthententic…what are some of their key qualities? Are they perhaps pushing their own agendas? Do they flip-flop on messages they send? Are they trustworthy? Sometimes it’s helpful to think about not only what authenticity is, but also what it is not.

Remember, you’re engaging with humans, not the platforms you’re using. Don’t send your message to Facebook – send your message to the people who find value in your connection on Facebook. Engage with them as you would a group standing in right front of you.

 

Evoke emotions – You’ll find articles all over social media marketing sites highlighting this one key to engaging your customers…because it makes sense. When you post content that makes people feel something, whether is nostalgia, excitement, joy or pride, people are more likely to share their feelings with their own followers. Why? That’s what being social is. We engage with each other in an online community much the same way we do person-to-person. We share stories, disclose information, empathize, and hopefully walk away feeling good about the interactions. You’d want to share stories that make your closest friends feel happy, surprised, or joyful, so why not your followers, too?

 

Ask what your followers can gain from reading your content – In return for their engagement, you’ve got to give your followers something back. Relationships grow around reciprocation. Value comes in endless shapes and forms…are you offering behind-the-scenes news they can’t find anywhere else? Do you provide useful tips that apply specifically to your audience? Do you post deals exclusive to your social media network? Research your followers, take their demographics to heart, and then give them what they want – useful information about the topics they care about.

 

Have fun – Social media is, by definition, social! Your followers (they’re people, remember) are using social media because it’s fun. Social media streams can be entertaining, surprising, hilarious, sentimental…be one of the accounts your followers enjoy when they see. Build relationships like you would at a social gathering – tell stories, listen well to others, and maybe have a good joke or two in your back pocket.

5 Reasons to Love Your Content Calendar

I’m a big fan of content calendars. And planning, in general. Give me a list, organizing tools and some creative freedom, and I’ll be your friend for life. Taking the time to plan your social media posting schedule has a host of benefits, and helps to avoid those dreaded “I don’t know what to post!” moments. Here are five reasons why allocating time to develop a content calendar for your social media program makes good, efficient sense.

Your content calendar:

Works as a collaboration & brainstorming tool

Gather your social media team regularly to brainstorm content ideas, adjust the current schedule, and check in with what’s working and what’s not. Make sure you’re not missing important dates or promotions by inviting in your event and/or advertising teams, too. Scheduling six months out with major themes is generally a good practice, and your can even plan a month or more in advance for individual postings.

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Serves as a guide posting themes

Even if you don’t schedule every tweet or Instagram photo in advance, a content calendar can be a great tool for guiding the theme and tone of your posts. For example, if you’re a grocer and your monthly theme is local producers, perhaps a field trip and photo shoot at a local farmers market is a good way to gather new material.

Helps make sure you’re posting consistently

Remember, consistency and quality trump quantity. Having your content calendar as your guide, you’re less likely to save all your posting for one sit-down session and more likely to use your analytics and data to guide your posting decisions, such as posting when your target audience is typically online.

Gives you material to present your coworkers or supervisors

Reporting your social media data to a team? Your content calendar is a great tool for assuring coworkers that your social media plan is on-track and in-line with the organization’s broader goals.

Finally, you’ll sleep better knowing you didn’t miss anything

No one likes realizing they’ve missed out on shooting video of a special event because it wasn’t on their calendar. Rest assured you’ve got the most important content for your social media program planned ahead of time and immediately available for viewing and editing. Whew, now hit that snooze button.

Need some layout inspiration for your new calendar? Hootsuite has a great template to get started, and they’re willing to share.

 

You Sent Your First Post…Now What?

You’ve done your research. You’ve created an account with a really great profile picture. You’ve entered all your key information (clever bio, contact details, website link, etc.). You’ve followed people and businesses you already know. And now you’ve just posted your first message to a social media platform. Congratulations! So now what?

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 3.54.14 PMThe beauty of social media marketing as a tool for your business is that you have an ongoing program to actively engage with your followers. What a great way to get insight into how people see and feel about your brand. How are people reacting to your post? Is it being shared or reposted, liked or commented on? Are you gaining more followers? Begin taking notes on what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust your style accordingly.

And now you’ve got to make sure you’re giving your followers attention back – engage! Here are a few ideas to help you along the way:

Step 1:

Make sure your notifications are turned on for your phone or email, so that you can see when someone has posted a comment or question to your post. Timing is everything, and building a conversation in real time will earn you points with your followers who have something to say.

Step 2:

You can also use a social media monitoring tool to give you a head’s up when people are talking about your brand online. Hootsuite is wonderful for easily letting you see who has mentioned you in a post or tweet. Kred will help you measure your engagement by monitoring influence  (content that encourages others to share) and outreach (how much you share, retweet and respond to others).

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Use your analytics and insight tools to see when your audience is online. If your followers are typically online between 9am-8pm, then you probably don’t need to be monitoring responses to your posts at 11pm. Facebook Insights let you see what time of day your posts are being viewed, and you easily can see which days of the week your tweets are getting the most action by viewing your Tweet Activity.

 

Now go forth and converse! Have fun, ask questions, share stories, and remember to thank your followers for inviting you into their busy social media streams.

Why (or When) Social Media?

why social

Every opportunity you seize to showcase your business’s story and engage with your audience is valuable, and social media marketing provides a unique and effective platform to do just that. There’s little question that social media is one of the most cost-effective and approachable marketing tools a business can harness. You’ll provide a rich, interactive experience for your followers – full of photos, events, news, promotions, and more – and increase your brand loyalty by engaging with customers on a regular basis.

If you haven’t yet launched a social media program for your business, the question should no longer be “why” but “when.” We can boost your efforts with one-on-one strategy sessions, ongoing social media management, proofreading services and more. We’ll get your business on track and online, so your followers can find you easily and on their territory.