The brands who win at social media have three things in common: They know how to engage with, entertain, and enlighten their audiences. That is, they see the medium for what it is, a way to interact with their audiences in a way that adds value to their lives. This is what gets brands noticed and leads to fans and followers becoming members of thriving communities.
You’ve conducted giveaways, held monthly contests, sought the advice of a third-party and copied the strategies used by your competitors, all in hopes of beefing up the number of Likes on your Facebook fan page and followers on Twitter/X or Instagram. It worked. Your Fans and Followers now number in the thousands. Now what?
Social signals are not the goal.
If yours is like most of the other corporate Facebook and Twitter/X pages I review weekly, there is work to be done. For more than three months, I’ve spent a few minutes each day browsing, sometimes perusing, the Fan Pages and Instagram and Twitter/X profiles of several dozen well-known companies. What I’ve found has been anything but inspiring:
- Little, if any, interaction
- Instead of exchanging information, everything is about the company
- Questions being ignored
- Few images posted
- Everything is about contests and giveaways
If this sounds like you, (a) you have plenty of company, (b) you need to quickly turn this around, and (c) the remedy is painless.
To win at social media, think audience-first.
Get your social media efforts on track by changing your thinking. Social media became wildly popular largely because it allowed for the constant exchange of information and images with friends and family members, no matter where they lived. From there, it morphed into what it is today, mainly, a vehicle used to exhibit our narcissistic tendencies—where instead of sharing information, we make everything about ourselves: what you’re eating, where you’re located, who you’re with, and sundry other random (and often useless) thoughts.
Most worrisome, brands of all sizes make social media about their businesses, seldom about their fans and followers. The result has been that folks Like their page or Follow them but quickly get turned off and never return. To ensure that this stops happening to you, follow what I call the 3 E’s of social media for brands:
1. Engage your audience.
I’m continually amazed at how many companies go days, even weeks, without offering any interaction on social media. All the while, folks are posting images, asking questions and including their brand in conversation. Jump in there and engage them. Answer their questions, comment on their posts, reply to their tweets.
Your absence is a big slap in the face, one that screams “I’m just using your Like or Follow to make my company look good, but we care nothing about our customers.” Make them feel important through daily engagement. All it takes is a few minutes each day.
2. Entertain your audience.
Everyone of us has enough stress in our lives. The last thing we need is more of the same. We all want to smile, laugh. Stop making every Facebook post about a giveaway or a contest and start including funny (though non-controversial) images, humorous quotes or inspiring stories you’ve uncovered online. (The Oreo Tweet from Super Bowl XLVII is a great example of timely engagement.)
Even better, why not share a humorous anecdote that shows the personality of your company—maybe an internal goof that others can relate to. Or it could be silly, irreverent posts depicting your sales or marketing team members joking around as they prep for a meeting.
What’s more, invite your fans to do the same. You can even have contests around the best story or silliest image in a given category. Remember, people Liked your page because of the brand; they only interact if your page interests them. Oreo Cookie tweet
3. Enlighten your audience.
You have a compelling story to tell, so why not tell it? It could be one that reveals something about the company or its culture that folks wouldn’t otherwise know but would find interesting. Maybe it’s about how the brand began. Better yet, why not illuminate, say, the quirky personality behind a popular product?
Or, even better, allow that person to post about the process they use to come up with new ideas. Also, don’t think of these ideas as always having to come from your company. You could share compelling stories from non-competing brands or followers as well. The key is giving folks something they didn’t expect.
Remember, the medium is called social media for a reason. Your fans and followers have given you license to be a part of their online lives; reward the privilege with engagement, entertainment, and enlightenment. That’s how smart brand win at social media.