Instead of social media being a complement to human interaction, it’s taking on a life of its own and often diminishing the same social skills we were taught growing up. Still, the most effective social media campaigns follow the rules of interpersonal engagement closely (you know, the stuff our parents tried to teach us): delivering value, being memorable, having something important to say, being authentic, and being on time. Here’s our ten most helpful tips to having a kick-ass social media presence.
1. Be authentic. Part of your goals should be to put a human face to your business, an identity your audience can relate to, rely on, and easily engage with. This can only be achieved by being authentic. Otherwise, you’re just another Twitter/Facebook feed lost in the mix. Being authentic means you have to focus on a handful things, which is a perfect introduction to the remaining nine tips on your list.
2. Be consistent. If you’re using your social media for a specific task (sharing coupons/specials, promoting community events, recognizing staff members, etc.), make sure you always keep that as your focus. Once you come up with a tone, be sure you to always use that same tone so your audience knows what to expect from you. To be consistent, you have to have a plan (see #3).
3. Have a plan. Social media isn’t actually free. It takes time for you and your staff to be active and, as they say, time is money. Having a plan will help you do these other things and also keep you on track to reach your social media goals. Some questions to ask yourself: Why would someone want to hear from us and how can we deliver that message? How much time do we have on a daily basis to allocate to social media? How will we know if our efforts are paying off — are we looking for sales, engagement, loyalty club sign ups?
4. Be relevant. Your posts and tweets should serve a purpose. If you’re a hotel,someone is choosing to follow you because they visit you often, they had a particularly memorable stay thanks to your staff, or they want to keep up with what’s going on in your community. Have a good idea of why someone would follow you and make sure you share timely content that appeals to them.
5. Focus on relationships, not the bottom line. Don’t always look to sell while keeping in mind how much it irks you when you’re being sold something at an inopportune time. It turns people away so even when you have something valuable to say, they’re accustomed to the idea of tuning you out.
6. Have an opinion. Don’t always quote, link to, share/re-tweet. It’s good to have your opinion on topics and stories that are relevant to your audience. Sure, you may turn some away but most of your audience will love you for choosing a side. At the very least, it’ll drive engagement, which should be near the top of your social media goals anyway.
7. Engage. Talk ‘to’ your audience, not ‘at’ it. Offer compliments, ask questions (sometimes, even if you already know the answer), offer your feedback (you may just be the first to point out something that others missed). For a great example of this, check out our blog post on Hampton Inn Ephrata. Get your audience involved and keep your name out there. Some basic ways to keep you audience involved include contests, top-ten lists, and giveaways.
8. Be active. If you can’t share posts/tweets often (at least once a day), you should probably stay away for the time being. It’s better to not have a social media presence than to have one and not be active.
9. Provide value. Our society is moving at a frenetic pace; think about all the ads, sales pitches, Facebook posts, and tweets the average Web user encounters. Remember, they’re always thinking, “what’s in it for me?”, and to grab a piece of their mind, you have to deliver value. To deliver value, you have to save them money, make something a little more convenient or a little more fun, or have a unique opinion that they cant find elsewhere.
10. Set policies (you’ll thank us later). Before you even get started, make sure you clearly communicate with your staff about what you can and cannot share via social media. If you’re a hotel, it’s likely you’ll get guests posting a complaint via Facebook or Twitter. If that’s the case, make sure you acknowledge the complaint and pass it along to the right person. Be sure to keep in mind that if you deny or accept any blame via social media, it can be used against you. Also, when sharing pictures and videos involving staff and/or guests, be sure to request their permission before posting.
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