Just like guinea pigs, bees, wolves, and lions, humans are social creatures; we thrive most fully when we can engage, learn, laugh, challenge, and connect with each other. 

Thou Shalt Not Sell (All The Time).

When a customer chooses to follow their favorite company on Facebook, it’s because they see value in it. Some of that value is entertainment. Some of it is connection. Some of it is education. And some of it is because they want a really good deal. Take that into consideration when you are writing your updates across all of your social platforms, and allocate your post content accordingly.

Social Suggestion: Set the number of posts you’d like to do each week or month and divide your content into the following buckets: engagement, promotion, education, and entertainment. Play with your ratios until you find a good mix.

Share The Love.

To the above point, there are few things that consumers love more than doing business with people who obviously love what they do. It makes us feel cared for and valued when we are addressed personally, treated warmly and answered fully. So, celebrate what makes your business real and unique—it’s people!

Social Suggestion: Team photos, behind-the-scenes footage, and company shout-outs are a great way to keep people in-the-know and engaged with your brand.

Honor Your Customer’s Opinion

Of course, social isn’t always all love, likes, and ha-has. You’ll get the occasional angry or sad face in your newsfeed—and that’s okay. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can help them feel heard, and you can move the conversation off-line quickly, professionally, and effectively. If you do it right, you and your customer will both learn something; your customer will know how you handle challenges, and you will see how you can possibly improve your business.

Social Suggestion: Want feedback about your product or service? Ask for it—nicely! Encourage customers to review your products and services and proactively remind them you are available to answer questions and handle concerns.

Look Both Ways Before Crossing.

Social is a two-way street; you can’t expect engagement with your customers if you don’t invite them to join the conversation in a meaningful way. If you’re struggling with messaging, look at your last ten posts and ask yourself how (or if) you would have responded to any of that content if it came from another brand—or another person. Also look at what your customers have responded to. They may be trying to tell you something.

Social Suggestion: Avoid asking questions where the “yes” is obvious. Understand the key difference between “Do you remember the first time you rode a bike?” and “Who taught you how to ride a bike?”

Be True to Your Brand—and Your Strengths

Developing consumer trust is a long, hard-won battle. It means delivering on expectations, maintaining consistency of behavior and voice, and keeping promises. Your social media should look and feel like the rest of your branding; it should deliver the same experience as your website, your phone etiquette, and your in-person interactions. This can be hard to manage for companies who are new to digital exposure or want more from it, which is why many businesses outsource these efforts.

While most of us are pretty savvy with social media in our personal lives (just look how much practice we have!), using social media to benefit your business can be a little tricky. It takes time, dedication, and education—and creativity, consumer knowledge, and a sense of adventure. Now that you know the rules, it’s time to apply them to your social strategy. We’re here to help when you need it.