NASHVILLE, TN – For many businesses, adopting social media is new and scary. You’ve probably already caught on to Facebook, and some businesses use Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn. I’ve gone into more detail about social media, especially Google+ and Facebook, and how these outlets affect SEO.
Social media helps like-minded people stay connected to issues they care about. Now that you have a profile, you want people to like you and follow you. You want to engage your viewers to comment and share your posts. Social media provides a space to share all those blog posts you’ve created for your search engine optimization campaign.
Share and discuss relevant content. Staying on topic will help you stay neutral, as most businesses don’t involve religion or politics directly. Content is king, both on your blog and on your social media outlets. Posts that your viewers find helpful, interesting or new will be commented on and shared. Posts that are poorly written or confusing will be ignored, or worse – commented on and shared for negative reasons.
If you don’t have time to be active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and LinkedIn, don’t set up profiles for each one. Each social network has different purposes. Research these outlets to see which best fits your company’s goals, and set up a profile on the site or sites you will use often.
When followers reach out to you, respond! Comment on your followers’ posts and let them know that you’re here, and you’re human. Also, don’t (always) respond to your massive customer base. Remember social media is about individuals.
Respond to Individuals
It may be tempting to use social media solely to share all of your articles, but that behavior won’t engage or entice your followers. It’s definitely okay to share your own articles, but remember that people want a conversation on social networks, not a one-sided promotion venue.
Recently the insurance company Progressive received some heat on Twitter. Whoever runs the Progressive Twitter account decided to respond to these messages defending their position. These tweets were copied, and the identical tweet was sent to each responder. Twitterverse (that’s the Twitter universe, guys) found those duplicated tweets to be insensitive and tacky.
The handling of the social media wasn’t ideal. Respond to individuals as much as you can, especially when your followers are criticizing your business decisions.
Not only do you need to respond to individuals, you need to respond quickly.
Online social interactions happen fast, fast, fast. You probably see this if you have a Twitter account and you’re following more than, say, 30 people. Your timeline will be full if you follow close to 100 people, and it’s easier to miss things not tweeted directly to you with a Twitter handle (@heyjessicabates) or through direct message (DM).
University of California Urvine professor Judith Olson talked with Mashable journalist Greg Ferenstein about how to gain trust online. When we can’t hear a person’s inflection or see his body language, how do we build trust?
“Olson finds that when only text is available, participants judge trustworthiness based on how quickly others respond,” Ferenstein writes. “So, for instance, it is better to respond to a long Facebook message ‘acknowledging’ that you received the message, rather than to wait until there’s time to send a more thorough first message. Wait too long and you are likely to be labeled ‘unhelpful,’ along with a host of other expletive-filled attributions the mind will happily construct.”
Well said, Ferenstein. Respond quickly and thoughtfully, or not at all. I’ll reiterate this point: be realistic about how much social media your company can handle. Don’t commit to social profiles that you don’t have time to manage well.
Social media users can easily get into heated debates online, and the anonymity that social media sometimes has almost encourages that behavior. But for businesses, social media networks are avenues to gain trust, engage followers and hopefully spark new business.
Do not use your business social media accounts to discuss your personal beliefs. You’ll only risk alienating your customers.
Be Respectful In Your Business
Followers may be talking about you online. Someone who ate at your restaurant or visited your practice could share their experience online with their virtual friends. The best way to keep a respectable online reputation is to keep a good real life reputation. Make sure your customers are satisfied. If they are unhappy, try your best to rectify the situation. Stay professional in your business and on your social media feed.
Thanks for reading, and have fun engaging with your social media followers.