On March 21, 2006 a small tech startup in San Francisco launched a new web service. It was meant to engage users in a dialogue with short, to-the-point messages as opposed to long posts.
Twitter did more than engage their users. They helped usher in a new era of brand-to-customer communication. Where the communication highway used to be one way, brand-to-consumer, today it’s a 2-way street.
In short, brands that only broadcast are becoming brands that are ignored.
Why You Should Use Social Media To Listen, Not Broadcast Only
Social Media is not just another platform to project your company’s agenda. It’s a place for genuine, two-way communication that builds relationships between you and your customers. When planning and producing your social media calendar, remember the following reasons not to plug your company initiatives in every post.
Social Media is Increasingly Ad-Blind
This isn’t the Broadcast Era.
Just because you have a Facebook page and a Twitter account doesn’t mean you should plaster your message everywhere. Social media is about building relationships with your audience. It’s the primary way to turn strangers into friends, and friends into customers.
Human beings have an innate ability to detect advertisements, and you can bet they will avoid them at all costs. In the PPC world, we call this ad-blindness; our eyes naturally ignore ads so well we almost don’t notice them at all, even when they are all over a page.
Rather than publishing a 140 character commercial on Twitter, try posting a message your target customers would be interested in. Buyer personas come in handy to give you insight into the likes, dislikes, fears and joys of your ideal customer.
No One Talks to the Person on the Soap Box
A broadcast-only social network isn’t social. The byproduct of social media spam is a disengaged audience. A disengaged social media audience is worthless, no matter how much time you put into it.
Constantly blasting your followers with company-focused messages doesn’t give any room for conversation. Social media needs to be just that, a conversation. Focus on stepping down from your metaphorical soap box and fostering a true dialogue.
Instead of promoting your product or service, try posting intriguing and helpful content your personas will be interested in. Ask them questions and, more importantly, answer their questions.
Liking or replying to a general comment can create a forum for two-way communication. If your audience feels like you understand and are interested in what they have to say, they will engage with you.
Me Monsters are Scary, and Annoying
It can be difficult to realize the benefits of sharing quality content from other companies and influencers. Often, brands are fearful promoting others’ content will make them look inferior.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Sharing great content, even though it’s not yours, shows your audience that you’re more concerned with adding value than you are about spamming your message. Consumers seek education in this era more than sales pitches.
When you’re known as a brand that shares valuable information, even when you aren’t the author, you’re still of value to your followers as a source of educational content. Find the best, share the best with your audience.
They’ll appreciate it.
Don’t be a Robot, Sheldon
Beyond spamming social channels, you also can’t come across as a content-sharing bot.
Automation is a beautiful thing. It can help you streamline an otherwise overwhelming content calendar. Consider how you use it, however, so you don’t come off as a faceless, impersonal program from a company that doesn’t have time for their customers.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t utilize automation at all. You should, though, be aware of its use and make an effort to balance it with personable content. Get comfortable talking about trending topics, pop culture references and major events your target audience will relate with.
Use Social Media to Connect Rather Than Annoy
Social media doesn’t need to be complicated. It does need to be a conversation.
Know your audience and use their interests to plan your content. Doing this will help you find the right balance between the fun, creative content your audience is seeking on social media and the company messages you feel are important to share.
Stop spamming your social media accounts. Instead, put forth the effort to communicate with one person at a time.
See how much more return you get on that investment than mind-numbingly relying on automation to spam your message to the masses who are ignoring every word you say.
Check out this great post for more on building your social strategy.
Chelsea Robinson is a communications professional dedicated to inbound marketing. Currently a full-time Marketing Manager for a NCAA Division I university, Chelsea is passionate about digital and social communications. She contributes posts covering a variety of topics to the Lean Labs blog.
When she’s not writing, Chelsea enjoys exercising, fishing with her husband and hanging out with her dog.