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Why is social media so difficult for business owners? Why are customers so fickle? Yesterday they seemed to like your post but today, what should be a social media home run produces nothing more than the sound of online crickets.
Nobody even acknowledged the post that you put a ton of time into creating. How do the best social media managers consistently engage their customers and how can you take some of their tricks and put them to work in your business?
Don’t Idolize Them
Before you look at the big brands and ask yourself why they do so well and you don’t, let’s clear up a misconception. The giant companies that hire teams of social media “experts” have the same frustrations. The team spends a lot of time putting together editorial calendars that require well-produced media like videos and images. Then, they post it and they’re left asking why the response was minimal.
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Of course, the reason is that any number of variables come into play. First, just because you post something doesn’t mean people will see it. Social media platforms look at each of your posts and decide how many people to “serve” it to. If it sounds like an ad, and you’re not paying for the ad, it’s not likely that many people will see it.
There’s also the huge amount of competition. At any given time, there are hundreds or even thousands of posts waiting for your viewer’s eyes. And let’s be honest—you can’t compete with the newest baby or engagement announcements of that person’s friends and loved ones.
Everybody has the same struggles as you. It doesn’t matter if you’re an international conglomerate throwing around billions of dollars or the smallest of small businesses. Social is crowded and tough but here’s how to maximize your chances of impressive engagement.
1. DON’T Talk About Yourself
Can we be blunt for a moment? It’s for your own good. Nobody cares that you hired a new warehouse manager. Nobody cares that you repainted your storefront, and nobody cares that you just got a new certification. People only care about things that affect their own lives. Post things that stir some kind of emotion in your customers.
2. DON’T Advertise
Unless what you’re advertising is seriously awesome! Nobody cares that you have a few items on sale for 10% off. They might care that you’re getting rid of old stock and things are half off but if you post it online without paying for it, most social platforms will see it as an advertisement and not put it in front of your customers anyway. You can advertise from time to time but nobody gets on social media to read ads.
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3. DO Add Value
You might not see baby pictures, cute dog videos, and the latest Facebook quiz as adding value but your customers disagree. They come to social to relax, have fun, laugh a little, and learn something.
What does that mean for you? If you’re an accountant, they would love to read an article about tax tips at the beginning of the year and they would love for you to tell them how to minimize their tax bill by taking certain steps throughout the year.
Your customers would also appreciate watching a funny video of somebody acting like a fool in your office. They would remember you if you posted pictures of the company costume party, and if your business fits into this, you could post something inspirational or uplifting.
They don’t care that you just expanded your store hours. They care that you’re human. That’s what they came to social media looking for. Hard sells don’t work online. Engaging with your customers like a friend is what creates value for your business online.
4. Be Responsive
Friends don’t ignore friends that talk to them. If somebody replies to one of your posts, reply back. Even if it’s negative, take a minute to respond and offer to make it right. Because of all the competition online, somebody replying to you is a HUGE win. Start a conversation with them. When others see that you reply to all comments, they’ll start commenting too.
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5. Move Away from Text
Sadly, Americans are reading less. They would rather consume content through images and videos. We still read but in smaller doses—like texts or short e-mails but when given the choice, an increasing amount of people prefer video or imagery. Focus on that.
6. Make it Beautiful
Your videos don’t always have to be amazingly produced but to catch their eye, a beautiful image with bright colors will cause readers to stop on your posts more often, according to research. Good news—your phone is capable of taking great looking pictures. There are plenty of photography websites that can show you how to take eye-catching pictures.
7. Ask Them What They Want
The movie business knows this all too well. They pour millions into a movie only to watch it flop. Nobody likes it despite thousands of hours of planning, millions in marketing, and production that would make anybody say, “wow!” Any time you do something creative, sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t. Ask your customers what they would like to see? You could offer free T-shirts to people who have the best post idea. Get creative with how you engage your customers.
Let’s be honest—social media takes a lot of time and potentially a lot of money to do well. Some businesses have no real need for a social media presence so don’t feel like you have to do it just because everybody else is. Pick one or two platforms and post regularly. A few times per week works but once or twice daily is ideal.
Try different types of posts and keep an eye on which perform well. There are few rules that work 100% of the time. Act like a friend online and you’re more likely to see positive results than if you acted like a business.
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