Putting the “Social” Back in Social Media
Wait, you have to be social when you use social media? Get out! Everyone said that was just a rumor…
At the advice of their friends, families, and marketing departments, many businesses make the jump to social media; they create their profiles, connect with as many people as they can, and then they settle back into a comfortable routine of auto-generated posts and responses with the occasional ad or testimonial thrown in for good measure. Over time more contacts come in, and some disconnect with the company’s social media profiles altogether. What is missing from this picture?
Personal interaction between a business and its customers is everything these days, and this could not be more true of social media. While there is nothing wrong with having a system in place to auto-promote your latest blog post or to retweet posts by someone special you follow, it is not right that these activities should be all that goes on with your business’ social media accounts. Social media is about people connecting with other people, plain and simple. So if the human element, that personal touch, is missing from a business’ social media presence, then who’s to say it’s not just another robot in the crowd?
Video: Twitter Marketing Strategies – by Diane Hochman
This is a great video because not only does Diane talk about how to go about interacting with people (in this case on Twitter) and really putting the social back in social media, just by watching her video it is very obvious that this kind of personal attention doesn’t take nearly as much time as many people think it does. In about 5 minutes she has interacted with a half a dozen people at least, and all while only using a minimal amount of outside “help”, i.e. tools like Tweetdeck to help her keep track of and encourage these conversations.
Step One – Be Human
This one should be easy, after all we’re all human right?
Sadly not all businesses know how to tear down the barrier between corporate persona and genuine humanity, and so they miss out on the joy of true consumer engagement. One of the best ways to get in touch with your social media community (your friends and followers) is to just be human. Of course you need to respect company policy when it comes to social media use, and you’ll want to be professional and polite, but these things won’t stop you from building a personality via social media and sharing that part of your business with the people who are connected to you.
Ditch the mono-tone and be the life of the party!
If the only thing posted to your social media accounts are auto-generated posts announcing blog or site updates, it’s time to add a something to the mix. If one thing can be said of auto-updates, it’s that they’re boring. While you might not become the world’s most rockin’ party animal, you can breathe a little bit of life into your business’ social media activity by adding a little personality to an otherwise dull stream pf posts. One way you can do this is to be original, and be yourself. If you have multiple people managing your social media presence, make sure they are all on the same page as far as the attitude they should be presenting to your business’ fans and followers.
If You Mess Up, Fess Up
As uncomfortable as it is, if you mess up, you need to own up to it, apologize, and try your best to repair any damage that has been done. Every day different businesses make small social media faux pas; some unlucky businesses have the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or at least following the wrong trends. What do they have in common? They all made a mistake. The true measure of their attention to their social media and the presence of a human element is that when they realize what’s happened, they do something about it. Honesty is the best policy, and people will likely respect someone who admits their flaws and seeks to improve a lot more than they would someone who does not.
Infographic: The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media For Business
Because we’re all human, we’re bound to make some mistakes. This infographic gives a few pointers for businesses who are going to be (or already have been) putting a real live person or team in charge of their social media presence.
So What Now?
One argument many businesses have against having a person behind the controls of their social media presence is that it costs money, and they really can’t afford to devote any more time or resources to managing something like that. Our question is how can they afford not to? By putting themselves out there through the creation of their social media accounts, businesses are giving themselves one more face to present to the public, and over time the lack of a personal touch is going to start impacting their reputations, and eventually their bottom line. Many businesses trade on their reputations; they’ve built a brand on their ideals, great service, and a solid product. However if they can’t maintain this image, people might start to question their dedication and commitment to their customers. After all, if they can’t even be bothered with their social media profiles that they created, how are they going to handle interactions with customers in other ways?
If you’re interested in reading more, here are a few excellent posts on putting a personal touch on social media and why it’s so important:
- Why brands need the human element – by Heather Taylor
- The Importance of the Human Element in Social Media Marketing – by Jenise Fryatt
- Ignore the Human Element of Marketing at Your Own Peril – by Bob Garfield and Doug Levy
- A Human Element In The Digital Realm – by ptamaro
- Social Media isn’t Magic – It’s about Staying Human on the Internet – by Isra Garcia
- What are some simple tips I can implement today to enhance the “human element” of my social media strategy? – on Focus.com
- The Human Element: Exploiting Social Media – by Ryan Payne
Do you think the human element is important when it comes to social media? Is it more of a help or a hindrance when it comes to reaching out to your customers via social media?