Friends. Followers. Fans.
Whatever you call them, they’re your people—your online community.
Do you treat them as such, or has your company’s Twitter feed, Facebook page, blog and email newsletter turned into a spam machine, with update after update after update about new products, services and company-held events?
While some may view social media as a means of distancing ourselves from one another and taking the personal out of personal relationships, the opposite is true when it comes to marketing. Once someone has liked, followed or subscribed to you, they have essentially brought you into their circle. They have not only granted you access to their personal or professional online network and presence but they have also gone out on a limb to show all of their followers, friends and fans that they in some way identify with your company and its message. Respect this.
How Should You Treat Your People?
1). Engage them
This often involves posting great articles and links you think your people can use, not just updates about you. It’s also about talking to your people. Asking questions is a great way to build community. If you’re a coach, ask them to share or send you a story about a time they surprised themselves by achieving what they thought was unachievable. If you’re a clothing designer, ask them to share the worst clothing trend they fell for in high school. Just get them talking!
2). Always reply
When someone does use your social media channels to talk to you or share your material, don’t ever ignore them. A meaningful reply is best (too many “thanks for posting!” comments will feel automated), but any acknowledgment is better than none.
3). Pay attention
Just as you’re using social media as a networking tool to boost your online presence, your people are too, and it’s all about give and take. Take the time to look through your list of people and see what they’re up to. It’ll give you some great insight into who they are and what they’re looking for, but it’ll also give you an opportunity to talk directly to them or to share their material. When they see that you care enough to pay attention to them, they’ll care enough to pay attention to you.
Tip: If you have a lot of followers, it can help to use a program like SocialBro to create lists of people to keep an eye on. You may not have time to pay close attention to everyone, but even if you can create a list of 50 contacts whose engagement would be a real asset to your company, you’ll still come out way ahead of the game.
In essence, what we’re talking about here is the Golden Rule. We all want our friends and acquaintances to see us as people and to put in the time to stay connected, even if they’re not our bestest best friends.
After all, if you wouldn’t want to be your friend, you can’t expect anyone else to.