At Social Media Week Chicago (#SMWChicago), I attended several sessions on a variety of subjects, including generating content that’s best for a business, getting closer to the social community, and determining and amplifying the ROI of social, among others. But the underlying theme, no matter the social topic, was focusing on the human at the other end of the device.
As brand stewards, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re not using social media just to generate a “like” or a retweet. We’re doing this to connect with people and engage them in a conversation. Fresh from #SMWChicago, here are five tips to help keep humanity at the core of everything a company does online:
5) It’s not always about the hard sell. Do your fans want to hear about your new product? Sure they do, but not 24/7. A good rule of thumb is to talk about your product or offerings 10 percent of the time and reserve the other 90 percent to give your brand a personality. Demonstrate this through curating relevant content, giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at your operations or offering fans a Q&A with company executives.
4) Find your brand fans. Harnessing fan enthusiasm – whether these fans are internal or external – is a great way to personalize the social media experience. Give these uberfans a chance to share their perspective, invite them to participate in special focus groups or even spotlight these fans on your pages. Your brand enthusiasts are unique to your brand alone, so use them to your advantage!
3) People want to feel like they’re part of something. When was the last time you polled your fans and asked them what theywanted to see more of from your page, group, handle, etc.? It’s a simple action, but the response you receive could inform future content or even your next campaign.
2) Don’t be boring! There are so many online distractions (who doesn’t love a good cat meme), it takes only 3 seconds for fans to decide if they want to engage with your content or move on to the next post. Meaningful, engaging content – or quality over quantity – should be the norm. Plus, reaching out to fans with “spam like” or irrelevant posts is a waste of time and can possibly cause fans to un-friend or un-follow you. Ouch.
1) And the #1 tip for adding a little humanity to your social media strategy? Social media is a two-way street. This means you have to give a little to get a little. Post questions to the group. Listen to and apply their feedback, if appropriate. Give fans exclusive offers or entries into contests. Provide product sneak peeks to help them feel like they’re truly on the inside. This should go without saying, but respond to fan questions and comments, even if the comments are negative.
The key takeaway? Humanizing your social media efforts helps humanize your brand, which in turn fosters community, customer loyalty and, ultimately, growth. It may also net you a few more “likes” and retweets along the way.
Kiki Nichols is a PR and social media engagement supervisor at gyro Denver.
Follow her @kiknic