You’re using Facebook every day. You waste time on YouTube. You have a LinkedIn profile worthy of envy. You get it. Or, at least, you think you do. You seem to be leveraging social media to the max, but, like for many people, the return on investment just isn’t there. Too often, guides for how to use social media effectively don’t go beyond the basics. This leaves people to be constantly hunting for specific, actionable steps to transform their Facebook page from a ghost town to a thriving metropolis. Here are a few of my favorite strategies that the pros love to use:
Don’t Hide the Bad Stuff: So, if somebody posts a complaint on your Facebook page, what should you do? A lot of companies immediately delete the post and hope that not that many people had already seen it. This is never a good idea; even if you watch your social media pages religiously you’re probably not going to catch every post before the general public sees it. In addition, hiding the post is a lost opportunity. Unless the complaint is a malicious lie, you should do what you can to rectify the situation online. Studies have shown that if you do everything right, people will not be anywhere near as happy as they are when something goes wrong and you handle it correctly. Handling customer service over social media might seem like an odd idea, but it really is a great way to show how much you care about your customers.
Be Sarcastic: In case you’ve been living under a rock, most people are a little mean on the internet, you idiot. We have come to accept this and-for many of us-even like it. Whereas you would probably want to be very formal if you were getting interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, internet denizens love a bit of controversy. So if you were a beer company and you were to tweet about how a starlet would be classier if she got drunk off your brand, you’re not being crass or inappropriate; you’re creating fun, sharable content that every social media user loves to see. Of course, you should never be sarcastic to your customers; people don’t mind jokes at a celebrity’s expense, but they don’t want to be insulted.
Be Nice: Now, before you say that I’m contradicting myself, let me explain myself: by nice, I mean, charitable. Charities tend to have large social media presences, and, if you were to volunteer your time, you can always ask them to talk about you on their social media pages. This could get your name in front of thousands of users.
Cast the Spotlight on the User: Social media is a conversation between people, and, as everybody who has been to a singles bar can tell you, people love to talk about themselves. Therefore, every single social media post should contain a way that the user can interact with it. The easiest way to do this is to ask for opinions, but you can get more creative, like inviting them to post an anecdote on your wall. People want to feel they’re being listened to, so go out of your way to make them ask you questions.
Run a Contest: At the company I work for, we just ran two different online contests for two different brands, one of which went extremely well while the other one fizzled. For one we included a link on Facebook to a form a user to could fill out for a chance to win fifty bucks, and for the other we asked users to go through the client’s webpage and find a product which fitted a certain theme. Users clicked on the link for the first contest, filled out their entries, and then immediately left the site; the client got almost zero extra sales from it. The other client, however, saw a massive spike. Since the first one was so general, people had no reason to look around, let alone buy anything. Our second client, however, had users look at dozens of different products, which piqued their interest and resulted in them converting from lookers to buyers.
Of course there’s a lot more you can do with social media , whether it be creating targeted Facebook ads or something a bit more creative, like online meetings. However, the most important thing to remember with social media is that you’re not talking to a mass of people; you’re talking to individuals who happen to be grouped together. The best social media strategies are geared with that in mind.