I'm going to introduce you to an idea that might seem radical. We're told all the time about the importance of engagement in social media. We hear endlessly that engagement is vital to keeping existing customers and building community. That's true of course. However, imagine a world where social media is viewed as a distribution channel first and a discussion mode a distant second.
This is increasingly the world we live in.
Social Media platforms encourage us to share and reshare information in the hopes of sparking interest. From Facebook and Twitter to Snapchat and Periscope, the range of applications that allow individuals and businesses to connect instantly is constantly growing and so, too, are the rules of the game. While frequent discussion may be the preferred social media strategy of some businesses, examination of social media trends and user behavior indicate that less talk may be more meaningful.
Less is More
Current social media trends show that utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to share content such as articles, photos, and "sneak peeks" establishes a brand story that can flesh out a company. Rather than just being an online wine retailer sharing promotions through social media or having discussions about vintages with customers, you can craft a persona for the company that shares positive news stories about wine, funny wine memes, wine quotes and images, unique winery articles, and more.
I've found customers prefer this distribution-focused model. Most people don't have the time to engage in conversation. They find that not only do they learn about sales and promotions, but that the content shared by their favorite wine retailer is also relevant to their own interests. They'll enjoy sharing content with their followers because it is also a reflection of their interests. They'll also begin to see the brand or business in a new light, one that is more a part of their lives.
Using social media outlets as a content distribution channel can boost follower numbers, retweets and shares, and likes by providing regularly posted content that is relevant to follower's interests. This increase in visibility can help your brand or business grow and can also give insight into your clients.
What You Share is Key
For example, if you sell running shoes, your followers are most likely people who enjoy running or other athletic activities. Relevant posts for your social media accounts would include: running quotes, information about picking the right running shoe, special shoe sales or promotions, new product highlights, fitness news, and running memes that make light of the sport in a fun way. While it's important to interact with people who reach out to the company, especially those who have customer service needs, engagement isn't the backbone of your strategy here.
It is important to not only share information about your brand and your products, but to also have fun with the platform, sharing information that is useful and that gets followers to share your tweets and posts. Monitoring what content catches on with your followers will help you fine-tune your social media plan and help you continue posting content that will enhance your follower experience and increase your visibility through shares and retweets.
Don't Neglect Engagement
In contrast to content distribution, discussion tends to happen on a smaller scale and rarely leads to more visibility. While it can help resolve problems and make your followers feel valued, it probably won't be shared at the same rate as good content. That said, it is still important to talk with your followers on occasion. When engaging with followers, consider your motivations and post wisely. If something has angered you, don't reply in haste. Take your time and craft your responses to ensure you're representing your brand or business in the best light.
Any discussion you initiate with a particular follower should be about your brand or business and reflect the values you espouse. Perhaps they mentioned your company and you want to thank them, or perhaps they're discussing a problem they've had with your business or brand. Either way, a beneficial discussion will aim to showcase the ideology of the company by how it's handled.
Get the most out of your social media by posting easily shareable information that is relevant to your brand and your customer. Utilize images that are unique to your vision and which will engage your followers. And while discussion should not be your first priority, don't forget to check your messages and respond when necessary. As you fine-tune your social media plan, remember that not all social media platforms are created equally. Some are more attuned to content distribution. Manage your content and learn what and where to share to maximize visibility for your brand and business.