With the multitude of ways to communicate in this world, sometimes we lose sight of the listening piece to it.
One of the major discussions these days is to make Social Media more social. Whether you’re looking to focus on being digitally connected or physically, the principle is the same: Bringing people together based on a common interest.
Utilizing the tool for everything it’s capable of, however, requires a decent amount of time invested. By focusing on what’s best for your brand, you can choose to make the interactions the best experience for your customers.
Here are some tips to help you communicate better with your followers:
COMMUNICATION KEY: PERSONALIZATION
There are many ways to engage your subscribers. One is actually very easy, but will likely take a decent amount of time: Make your emails reply-able.
This is especially important if you’re asking a question of any kind. If possible, utilize reply-tracking such as Active Campaign’s functionality. This is also important if you’re using a text-only or text-heavy style email AND asking them a question!
Personalization means much more than “Hi [first name]” as a first line. Determine as early as possible what types of interests your subscribers will have. This will make it MUCH easier for you to separate (aka segment) your list from the start.
For example, if you sell e-commerce products you should connect your customers with “things you may like” in their emails, ideally based upon previously viewed items. Communicate in a way where they feel listened to and understood.
There are many ways to make your emails as personal as possible:
- Customize the content via tags or segments (such as where they signed up from, where they live, or whether or not they’ve made a purchase)
- Recently viewed items (usually most important for e-commerce)
- Remind them about specific links they clicked on or carts they abandoned (only if they were logged in to ensure privacy)
COMMUNICATION KEY: ENGAGEMENT
In a world where you can be on everything all the time, as a small business you likely cannot.
Truthfully, you may not even want to be depending upon your target audience, let alone the resources you have available. The first step is choosing where your ideal clients/customers are and ensuring your focus on that platform is all in – whether it be LinkedIn, TikTok or otherwise.
In this way, you can respond to every comment that would elicit one that you possibly can. It will allow you to not only manage your time better, but it will also be simpler for people to be able to engage. Rather than trying to pick from which of the latest technologies to find you on and shooting in the dark, they’ll be able to actually get through to someone.
For example, if businesses aren’t interacting on their Twitter, their followers will move over to Instagram for better engagement of their comments if they see your company more active there.
This is because more often than not people want to be heard, not just ‘yell’ into an abyss where they are forgotten and ignored.
So keep an eye out for people who are not only asking questions on these platforms, but also to those who engage often.
Is there someone or a group of people who tend to react to your posts often? Make a note! These might be your influencers to reach out to or your newest ambassador of your brand.
COMMUNICATION KEY: LISTENING
A hot topic, especially as of late, is “how can I build a community” for a brand. The real question is, does it make sense for your brand?
Before diving into this very time consuming yet very rewarding initiative, you should determine whether or not you have a community already with those who purchase your products or services.
Companies can develop a true loyal network of followers who often hold shared values and is why they love your company – if this is the case then you may be on to something!
If the answer to these questions are positive, you may be on the right track. Just remember that there are steps to take before you get started:
- Determine the type of people that love/use your services or products
- Evaluate their likes, dislikes, common interests
- Research where they are most likely to engage (LinkedIn, Facebook, somewhere else?)
- Create the group (where they are) and start inviting!
Be conscious, however, in how you interact as a brand. Are you fun/silly, professional, a little of both?
Ensure that moderators of this group align with that because they’ll be the face and voice of everything your company stands for, especially when moderating within the group. They will ultimately determine what should be encouraged or discouraged on a daily basis.
Once you have a strong grasp on these things, you’ll set rules/boundaries and begin to work with your customers as though they are partners more than likely because the goal of a group is to get people to engage, be helpful, and contribute to the overall brand.
You should also be prepared, however, for any and all negative comments and how you want to respond to them if and when they happen.
People also want to be useful and help a company they love, so let your members shine and show that you appreciate them. Whatever that means for your company is up to you, but remember that you should rely upon your followers to guide it. Remember to listen!
Show Up in Real Time
COMMUNICATION KEY: BE PRESENT
Showing up in your communication means both ‘physically’ and mentally. You want to listen to your followers so that you can provide exactly what they’re asking for and need. No guessing required.
There are already several places you can hold live video: Facebook, Youtube, or Instagram; soon LinkedIn as well (it’s already available now for some).
This is where you can do any number of interactions with your followers – primarily with you on video and followers/viewers who can join in on something like a Q&A sessions, live tutorial, or interviews with others in your industry.
Twitter chats are also a way to get people talking. You have to be strategic with this one since it’s not a video and it’s many single posts by (potentially) many people.
Depending on the topic, however, this could turn out to be an excellent source of information on both sides where people can comment, ask questions, share their experiences, etc.
COMMUNICATION KEY: SHOW THE REAL YOU
Whatever avenue you choose, be yourself (or the company as it were) and allow that to shine in the platform. People identify with that and you’ll build trust with people you want to work with!
Here are just a few ways you can ‘show up authentically’ to your audience, even as a company but *especially* as a small business/solopreneur:
- Behind the scenes videos/stories of other videos, photography setup, etc
- Employee team building activities
- AMA (Ask me anything) to people in the C-suite (CMO, CEO, etc)
Now that you’ve got some keys to the communication kingdom, all you need to do now is decide! So which will it be?
If you’d like a free consultation to discuss how I can help you develop and launch a plan for your company communications, please feel free to contact me.
Article Updated 27 December, 2020