Whether you are a B2B or B2C brand, social media is a must these days.
That’s because at the end of every transaction, regardless of business type or niche, there is a human being.
Humans are social beings. They like interaction, especially today's connected consumers on up to 8 social media platforms where they spend 2 hours 21 minutes of their time every day.
But many brands aren’t getting engagement on social media.
The reason is simple. They haven’t grasped the basics.
Here are 5 social media essentials to help you build authentic connections on any social media platform.
Let’s get started.
#1. Show up
To succeed with social media, you’ve got to be on social media.
Sounds obvious, right?
After all, 71% of small businesses are on social media. Of the rest, 16% are planning to join in the future.
But the thing is, while many businesses are on social media they are not seeing any Return On Investment (ROI).
Simply because they are on the wrong platforms.
Don’t just jump onto the most popular platforms or the latest craze like TikTok without doing your homework. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Be where most of your ideal customers hang out. Follow them to their favorite online watering hole, be it LinkedIn, Facebook, WhatsApp, or Instagram.
But how do you know where your customers hang out?
First, ask. Do a survey and ask your customers what their favorite social media channels are. Use a tool like Survey Anyplace to do it.
Second, revisit your buyer persona. Which generation does the bulk of your ideal customers fall into? Different generations prefer different platforms. According to the Business Insider, these are the top channels for each generation.
- Generation Z (Instagram, Snapchat)
- Millennials Y (Facebook, Instagram)
- Generation X (Facebook, Instagram)
- Baby Boomers (Facebook, Pinterest)
Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and YouTube are the top three social networks for every age group.
The foundation of your social media engagement is showing up where your audience is found. Once you know what makes your audience tick, plan your social media approach—enthusiasm without a plan won’t get you anywhere.
#2. Listen up
After you’ve identified the right platforms, don’t jump straight into the conversation.
If you jump in without understanding the platform or what’s going on your contributions will not hit the mark. You might even embarrass yourself and your company.
Pay close attention to what’s being said by:
- Your niche influencers
Influencers are market leaders for a reason. They have their fingers on the pulse of your niche. Find out the posts they publish that get the most engagement.
- Your competitors
You can also spy on your competitors. What’s working for them? How are they killing it? Take those winning posts and give them your slant and spin.
- Your ideal customers
On social media your perfect customers are unguarded. They share their joys, frustrations, and pains about topics that matter. Note what they engage with or what they complain about most. Build content around those topics.
Importantly, listening to your customers helps you gauge brand sentiment. You’ll know how people perceive your brand and adjust accordingly.
Crucially, pay attention, and respond promptly when your customers complain or ask for help.
Zappos prioritize customer service even on social media. They openly declare they are available 24/7 on all their channels. Here’s an example of a customer who reached out because she’d received a wrong size shoe for her party. Zappos picked up the matter and sent her the correct size overnight.
Imagine how loyal such a customer becomes.
#3. Speak up
Now that you know what works for your audience, it’s time to chime in.
Nothing happens until you talk, engage, or reach out.
Dive in with both feet.
But don’t comment on everything. You’ll burn out fast, spread yourself too thin, and be ineffective.
Instead, pick topics and threads where you can make the biggest impact.
Make intelligent contributions to the discussions. Impress people with your insightful comments or thoughtful questions. Sharp questions are a superb way to spark conversations and get people talking.
Humor is a brilliant tactic to engage people on social media. According to studies by Psychology Today, humor makes people like you and bonds people together.
Chubbies know how to make their audience chuckle.
With 111 likes and 6 retweets, this humorous post excited people.
As a general rule, stay clear of religion and politics. They are controversial. You will end up provoking the very people you are trying to connect with.
When you contribute, don’t forget to find the best hashtags so you help people find your message and grow your reach.
#4. Loosen up
Too many brands are rigid and lifeless on social media.
Do social media as a fascinating person, not a boring company.
It’s social media.
Relax. Let your hair down. Dump corporate-speak and all the fancy office mumbo-jumbo. It doesn't work on social media.
Be real. Be comic. Be chatty.
You’ll connect better with people.
Customers love to see and meet the people behind their favorite brands. A report by Marketing Charts revealed 72% of people felt more connected to a brand whose employees take part in social media. In particular, they love seeing contributions from founders and CEOs.
The best part?
Your conversations don't always have to be business-related. Besides business topics talk about:
- Popular culture.
- Trending topics.
Ryan Deiss, the founder of Digital Marketer, engaged his audience with a tweet about an anniversary present he got from his wife.
See how his audience liked a simple Tweet about cross-stitch. By talking about his family, he endears himself to people who share the same values. They appreciate him more.
Social media is the perfect place to try emojis, memes, and GIFs and have fun with your audience.
#5. Divvy up
You are on social media to make a difference.
You can do that by being generous with your time and expertise.
Like and share other people’s stuff—consistently. It’ll trigger reciprocity. They’ll return the favor by not only sharing your content, but they’ll also remember you when they want to buy a product or service related to the problems you solve.
Plus, because they like you, they will recommend someone who needs your product or service.
Too many brands miss it by only sharing their content. As a result, people don’t engage with their posts.
Also, become a resource person and prove your authority.
Share your expertise by:
- Answering people’s questions.
- Giving people free resources.
- Offering tips of the day or week.
- Taking part in trending threads.
- Doing giveaways and competitions.
Do that, and little by little people you will draw people towards you. You’ll always be top of mind and you’ll be the first person they’ll reach out to when it's time to buy products or services related to your niche.
An excellent example is conversion copywriter Gill Andrews.
She teaches her audience and makes them warm up to her by giving them a free no-sign-up required sample of her book. Surely, several people who enjoy the foretaste will buy the book. Even those who don’t will be grateful because they’ll pick nuggets on how to improve their websites.
Social Media: The Place For Mixing Business With Pleasure
Social media isn’t complicated when you think about it.
It’s like a networking event. A place to meet people, chat, and throw in a word or two about business when the moment is right. So mingle, connect, and serve others.
And enjoy the drinks of course.
According to his cheeky wife, Qhubekani Nyathi aka The Click Guy is irresistibly handsome. He’s an offbeat certified content marketer who writes zingy long-form content that ranks, drives traffic, and leads for B2B SaaS, Marketing, and eCommerce companies. He contributes to prestigious blogs like Wholesome Commerce, Search Engine Watch, Crazy Egg, Clickz, and Smart Blogger.