When people talk about social media used for branding/PR/marketing, you always hear that it’s finally a chance for organizations to “have a voice, and open a dialog with their audiences.” Yet, as I scroll through my endless feeds on countless profiles, all I see are strategies that clearly view people as stats, never look beyond their own proliferation and entirely miss the unique value offered by social media.
So what’s the point?
If you’re trying to humanize your brand, what kind of person would your brand be based on the content you tweet and the practices you keep? We all have that friend (or those friends) that only talks about themself, is blatantly uninterested in what anyone else has to say, and worse, is always repeating the same, played-out stories.
Don’t be that person, but…do be a person.
Automation and social technologies are key and necessary
evils lifeboats when managing large and/or multiple brands on social media. Social content’s shelf life is seconds-to-minutes max. In order to reach more of your audience, whenever they may choose to check their feeds, it’s necessary to schedule out evergreen content at a multitude and variety of times.
Big Data and analytics are a huge help when trying to optimize and guide your social strategy. When managing highly active social profiles that demand almost constant proliferation to meet business goals, tools that recommend and aggregate content can help drastically cut down the time. However, there should always be a human touch to your accounts.
I use countless tools for a variety of tasks: Content generation/aggregation, social listening, social media management and scheduling, analytics, competitor monitoring, influencer relations etc.
I’m not saying don’t follow back those who follow you. I’m saying follow back those you encounter who share things of value to you and your brand. Personally, I follow about 65% of those that follow me on Twitter. Once a person follows me, I check out what they’ve tweeted recently. If something catches my eye, I’ll follow.
Don’t follow blindly, your twitter feed should be a resource to you, an aggregation of thoughts/ideas/news that you have deemed relevant to the conversations you want to be a part of.
Also, don’t follow someone only in the hope that they will follow you back. I once had a client ask me, “is a week-long enough to wait before unfollowing those that didn’t follow us back?”
… … … no. Again, be genuine.
Follow those who share interests with your brand. If they don’t follow you back, that’s fine. All your “follows” need not be requited.
If you blindly follow back all those who follow you, or like pages and posts in an irreverent land grab of impressions, you lose sight of the new value social media offers.
What’s 10,000 impressions on an audience that has no interest in you or what your brand has to say vs. 1,000 impressions that followed you organically and will actually digest, react and potentially “buy in” to what you’re saying?
Build more than an audience, but a community. Be a voice to your brand’s customers, partners, fans and employees and listen to what they have to say back. Don’t worry about reaching those that add nothing to this dynamic.
…It’s like a man drowning of thirst opting for an ocean of salt water vs. a small, fresh-water creek…
Sure you have all these followers and your impression number is up, but you’re hard-thought content is being ignored by those who see it and unseen by those would have found the most value in what you have to share.
If you do successfully develop a community of followers genuinely interested in what your brand has to share, don’t punish them with endless self-promotional content. Your following has already “liked” (“followed”/”1+’d”/”connected”/ etc.) your profile, reward them by having something of use or entertaining for them in return.
Before you post: “Will this content be appreciated by my targeted audience(s) and is it inline with the campaign’s overall objective(s)?”
Yes, each of your posts, on any given platform
will should immediately increase your profile’s impression count, but if your audience feels spammed, you’ve made the wrong impression.
Large followings of randomly construed interest groups and scatter-shooting dull, lead-generation posts may give you the numbers you (your board/investors/bosses) want to see, but through content no one else wants to be shown. Personally, I am far more concerned with stats like “engagement rating” and clicks than I am impressions. Getting content in front of someone is easy, making them care is the challenge.
Look at the brands you follow. What compelled you to do so in the first place? If it wasn’t just an attempt to cajole the brand into following you, identify what type of content attracted you. In general, (consumer) audiences are likely to start following a brand’s social profile in order to be in the know of company updates, discounts and promotions, thought-leadership in your areas of expertise and/or my personal favorite strategy, because you “surprised them with delight.”
Give your brand a real personality. In the virtual world, just as in the physical world, no one likes a fake.
Chances are if you’re not having fun creating the content, no one’s having fun reading it.
If you know there’s no value in what you put out, your readership will too. If even you’re bored reposting the same, dull lead generation posts, your audience probably tuned you out a while ago. If you disingenuously follow(back) profiles with no intention of listening to what they have to say, you’ve become the egotistical, attempt.
Having digested my thoughts spelling them out here, it’s clear to me what the no.1 guiding commandment for using social media in brand PR/marketing is: The Golden Rule.
Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
Optimize not only your following’s experience, but that of your brand’s by listening closely and engaging thoughtfully.