Social media has turned into a noisy place where brands are competing for attention similar to billboards in Times Square. They one-way broadcasting done by the majority of companies has turned social media into anything but a social place.
In fact, in 2014 the Harvard Business Review reported that only 22 percent of tweets directed at the top 100 brands were responded to. If a physical storefront blatantly ignored 78 percent of all customers, they wouldn't be in business for long.
Top brands aren't only at fault here either. Small businesses and startups alike often schedule a couple of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn posts a week and then leave it at that. Social media will not be effective for your brand if you expect everyone to be social with you when you're not willing to start a conversation.
Sharing articles and funny pictures is good, but having a genuine conversation with someone is undeniably valuable in brand building. If you think back to the last time you had a great customer service experience--either online, on the phone, or in person--you undoubtedly left with better things to say about that company as a whole.
In this article, I want to go through three actionable ways on different platforms for you to become more social on social media and deepen bonds with people:
1. Using Twitter search.
Twitter search is still one of the most underutilized tools on social media. It gives you the power to find people openly discussing your industry and lets you jump into the conversation with them.
Let's look at an example.
If you were trying to get some exposure on your new pet food business you could do something like this. Head to the search bar and type in, "my new puppy." Then you'd filter the results to only show people near you (potential customers) and start scrolling.
Then after a bit of scrolling, you'll see start to see posts like this.
Once you see a post like this, you need to start a conversation with this person. Something like this below.
For the cost of a bag of puppy food, you may acquire a customer for life.
2. Leveraging Facebook comment threads.
Leveraging other people in your space's following by way of Facebook comments is a great way to build connections with potential customers.
Let's say you're going after a similar audience to Gary Vaynerchuk, you then need to start watching, not only Gary's posts but the conversations going on below them. Look for posts where you can add value to the conversation that's going on and jump in when appropriate.
Here's a real life example.
I gave my two cents on the post, and also responded to someone else in the conversation (below).
Then 20-minutes-later I received this message on my business page.
This will take you five minutes of work, and can lead to increased connections and potential customers.
3. Giving recommendations and using LinkedIn groups.
Since LinkedIn introduced its endorsements feature, the practice of giving recommendations on LinkedIn has gone by the wayside. However, it's still a better method for you to show appreciation to people for the work they've done. When you write a recommendation, it takes some thought and is much more genuine than a simple endorsement.
LinkedIn has industry-specific groups you can join where people are connecting every day. Find 1-3 groups that you can contribute to the conversation regularly. If you do this consistently you'll soon start to scale one-to-one relationships and your personal brand will benefit.
Conversation is the key.
Whatever platform you're using you have to shift your focus from broadcasting to creating a conversation with your audience. The more conversations you're able to have with your audience members the stronger the bond they'll have with your company.
Let conversation be the catalyst for your business' growth on social media.