Social media has brought a real opportunity to relate to your client and customer base. The use of tools such as Facebook and Twitter has opened up the lines of communication. The key, however, is to actually communicate. Many businesses sign up for their brand new Twitter and Facebook accounts and expect those sales and traffic to just roll right in. Social media simply doesn’t work that way. Social media is about relationships. Further, the clients and customers who you are targeting know that it’s about relationships. So if you don’t put the effort in, neither will they.
Be personable, not spammy. You want to relate to people, not constantly advertise. Write about life’s tidbits. Did someone cut you off in traffic? Did you have a fabulous lunch, and can recommend a local eatery? Asking questions is a great way to relate to your base, but then answer them. Be a participant in the discussion. You’re putting a human face on the brand you’re representing. The consumer wants to see the human behind the corporate mask. It builds trust, and it builds an ongoing relationship. Decide ahead of time what your social media will be about. Be consistent so your fans and followers know what they are going to be seeing in your stream.
Your bio and photo decision is also an important one. Brand recognition is strong motivation for using the brand logo as your profile. Consider, however, who’s going to be doing the updates or tweets. Is it going to be from the President? Perhaps his or her photo is a better choice. Make the bio more about him or her, humanizing the brand. It’s important to think about the face of the profile and how it will be perceived.
Make the accounts easy to find. On your webpage, use pleasing, current graphics that are immediately recognizable. Put them on the front page – not hidden on a contacts page. In order to engage in conversation, your customer base has to know where to find you. Don’t forget to follow back! While it’s not a great move to spam follow, or to follow the big fish just to rub elbows, you must follow your client base, and you must follow them back when they connect with you. It’s disheartening to see a company with 4,000 followers, and they’re following 1. You can see at a glance that the company isn’t interested in communication – just presenting information. That’s what your website’s for, not social media.
Social media use by corporate brands is about building relationships with your clients. It’s about solving their problems, listening to what they want to see, and troubleshooting whatever it is they’re not getting. It’s about showing your customers that there are people behind the brand, not cold corporate policies.