Don’t Be a Wallflower When It Comes To Social Media

There’s a reason why Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites are referred to as “social” media. The point of these platforms is to foster interaction, encourage conversation and basically…to be social. This is something that some businesses that maintain social media platforms tend to overlook as they work diligently to promote their brands and deliver company messages.

An article on Ragan’s PR Daily summed it up like this: “Think about it in the context of your life. You don’t go to a party, see some guy standing in a corner all by his lonesome and think, ‘Man, that guy is really putting himself out there!’ He’d probably answer a question if you asked him, but he’s not doing anything to garner attention, attract people to him, or develop connections or relationships. Except for rare circumstances, businesses and brands simply cannot develop meaningful relationships with consumers on social media without behaving socially.”

There’s no denying the importance of promoting your brand via social media, and we’re not suggesting you stop doing it and resort to posting nothing but E-Cards and crazy cat videos. But what’s important to remember is that having a social media account gives your company a voice…and how you choose to use that voice can really attract consumers and fans.

If you’re already on Facebook – and there’s a good chance you are – you probably have those few friends who never post anything. They read everyone’s updates and once in a blue moon they might “like” a status or make a quick comment. There’s no interaction, no sense of their personality. The same is true with businesses that simply post messages on social media without doing anything to foster conversation or get to know their fans. They’re missing out on a wonderful opportunity to really connect with the people who can ultimately be their biggest brand advocates.

So how do you make those connections? A good way to start is by encouraging conversation. Ask questions and seek input from fans. Get them to be as much a part of your social media page as you are, whether by asking for comments on Facebook or encouraging retweets and interactions on Twitter. Let the fans help shape the discussions. According to the article in PR Daily, “By initiating an exchange, you are greatly enhancing the probability that you will not only receive a reply, but also generate a dialogue.”
Another important factor is voice….don’t be afraid to develop the character of the page. People need to feel as though they’re interacting with a person, rather than reading programmed posts that have no personality.

Remember that from a business and marketing standpoint, your social media pages are reflections of the companies they represent. Just as we want our personal profiles to reflect how awesome we are, businesses should cultivate their social channels to reflect their best assets.