Social media is the most powerful tool for small and midsized companies since the invention of the stapler, allowing you and your customers to create an ongoing dialogue that can turn into a relationship of mutual respect and appreciation. Everyone likes to know that they’re valued, and social media gives you the ability to personally show your customers that you value them as much as they value you.
Here at Hudson Fusion, we’ve noticed that many people are afraid to jump into the waters of social media head-on, either skirting it entirely (and missing out on the rewarding relationships available to them) or missing the beat (and creating a wall between themselves and their customers).
But it doesn’t have to be this way; with a little thoughtfulness, you can develop relationships with your customers that will translate to real affection and appreciation for your work.
One of the most important things you can do is to develop your voice. Your voice says a lot about who you are. Are you relaxed, approachable, and casual, or perhaps stuffy, distant, and uptight? How you interact with your audience is as important as what you say to them. While you’re developing your voice, have someone check your posts to make sure that what you say is really what you mean to say. You may think that referring to yourself as Mr. Smith makes you seem distinguished and accomplished, but if you’re trying to interact on the same level as your clients (and get them to build an authentic, personal relationship with the authentic, awesome you) you may be alienating them by being overly formal. Instead, get personal by using “I” or “We” to level with your fans.
Once you have your voice nailed down, think further about how you’re interacting with your audience. Are you responding to their comments and inquiries with respect and appreciation? Are you ignoring what they have to say? Over and over we see social media meltdowns that can ruin a business because the owner reacted poorly to criticism. When your clients criticize you, look at it as an opportunity to grow and show other potential clients how gracious you are. Most customer service is done in secret, with businesses hoping that the word will get around that they treat their customers well. But social media is a customer service gift. It allows you to publicly address problems as they arise, giving you the opportunity to shine for your other fans.
The last major faux-pas we see is a serious lack of self-awareness about the content you’re putting out on social media. The dialogue you create with the content you provide to your fans is the most important part of social media - you need to be aware of what your fans are responding to, and how they are responding to it. Just because you’ve made a series of videos about your product doesn’t mean your customers will engage with them. And if your content is stale, uninteresting, or too frequent, it becomes increasingly likely that they’ll mute or unfollow you, depriving you of a relationship because you failed to understand what it is they wanted from you.
Most importantly, have fun. Social media is meant to be just that: social, and the rules of how to behave in a society don’t operate so differently on the computer from how they do in person. By staying engaged (and engaging), polite, and on-the-level with your customer base, you will be able to fulfill the potential of your social media presence by making it the vital tool it could be.