The holidays are here and all of a sudden you’re getting too busy to keep up your usual Tweeting and posting frequency. Oh, well, you say, I’m thankful to be busy and my followers understand I can’t post if I’m taking care of customers.
WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?
If you were at a party conversing with loyal friends, would you drop them to go talk to new people walking in?
Hopefully not. Generally, you would continue to include your loyal friends while you also attended to potential new friends. So why would you treat your ongoing Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook followers any differently?
Social Media defined is 2 way interaction.
So, how do you still post when you can’t be present? Try Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. Either have the scheduling option to have posts appear when you want.
But keep checked in when possible!
NEVER just schedule posts and walk away. If you don’t continue to engage, you’ll get a reputation as someone who is not listening and they’ll eventually leave you.
So, make a personal schedule that includes time for checking in to see what your followers are saying! Address comments, requests, kudos, complaints, and comment on others’ posts and tweets. Same as you would do for friends – when you are busy, you still keep in touch!
Schedule all the posts and tweets you want, but never stop engaging with your followers! You don’t want to risk losing them, just like you wouldn’t risk losing your friends because you were too busy, would you?
THEY said it wouldn’t take more than a few minutes a day!
You’ve signed up on Social Media, but now you feel like a deer in headlights. You begin to realize you have taken on a part-time job that you have no idea how to perform.
High stress and lost valuable time that you already didn’t have.
But the ROI?
Huge – if you go about it the right way!
What have you gotten yourself into?! Calm down, here’s how to think about Social Media in realistic terms…
First get out of panic mode
Your accounts aren’t going to EXPLODE if you have to take a little time to get your feet wet before diving in.
Remember when you got your first desktop? Learning how to use the software, setting up your email, searching the internet… all seemingly insurmountable tasks, yet you don’t even think about doing all those things now, right? Same thing with Social Media.
Second… some foundation rules.
You’re going to hear or read a lot of “you have to do this!” and “you have to do that!” I’m here to tell you that no, you don’t. Not until you know what you are doing and are comfortable doing it.
Stick to the basics and don’t try to learn / do it all at once or you’ll wind up quitting out of frustration.
(This is all directed at freshman in Social Media, so you graduates, please don’t comment that I’m leaving out how to get followers, how to increase visits, how to optimize SEO, and so on and so on… I am talking to those people rocking in the corner sucking their thumbs terrified to turn on their desktops because they tried to master social media all at once. Leave ’em alone! They’ll get there soon enough!)
Now back to you newbies…
Stick with The Big 3 – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – because those are the must have social media!
Beginner’s Rule #1: As a newbie, I wouldn’t recommend linking your accounts.
What is linking?
There are tools in the Big 3 that allow you to link (connect) your accounts so that such as when you post a tweet in Facebook, you’ll be simultaneously posting on Twitter, etc… Same goes for Twitter and LinkedIn, LinkedIn updates posting to Twitter, you get the picture. Enough linking already!!!
Why not? Wouldn’t it be more efficient?
NO. Because until you get a feel for the tone and heartbeat of each of them, you won’t know which posts will attract the corresponding audience.
Some people think it’s important just to get something out there and everywhere. WRONG. Eventually, that just begins to resemble spam. No one likes to open their page and see multiple streams consisting of just YOUR posts of mindless rambling.
In addition, if you don’t really know what you are doing, you may wind up posting the same thing several times on one account when you start using tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. Then you wind up looking like you just don’t know what you are doing. Because actually, you don’t.
So, spend some time looking at what others in your industry are doing on their pages. Get a book or two on Social Media Marketing. Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen and Social Media 101 by Chris Brogan – among others… and start playing around with it all!
And tune in to my next post (that’ll make me get writing!) to learn more about how to go gently into the Social Media world of increasing customer response and traffic!
Ever open your Facebook page and see that red number for notifications and get a little excited because you expect to see lots of people commenting, but when you click on it most of the notifications are from just ONE person? Yeech!
What’s your immediate reaction? Disappointment, right? A little resentment? Maybe. But soon you begin to realize that the person dominating your notifications is not listening to anyone, not responding, …only posting. Can you say “Narcissist?”
You begin to feel left out of the picture. You might eventually hide the naughty narcissist’s notifications as you soon tire of hearing about “me, me, me…”
Avoid this behavior if you want to be heard. Don’t BE this person if you don’t want to be ignored.
How do you engage more?
Actually read posts and respond to what others are saying. And only “liking” doesn’t count.
Comment, engage, etc. Let the person know they struck a real response in you – but no faking! Too transparent and they will see through it.
On Facebook, engagement is the easiest as you usually know the people you friend, at least on some common basis.
But what about on Twitter and other avenues that hold mostly strangers? How do you know what would attract their participation with you?
* Use search tools
…like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, trending tweets, popular blogposts, etc. Hootsuite or Tweetdeck are just two tools that enable you to create tabs that constantly search what’s trending in your desired topics.
These tools help you engage in social media.
Yes, they also make it convenient to schedule posts, esp when you expect to be too busy to engage, but if you are only scheduling posts, and not engaging, you might be noticing you aren’t gaining many followers, likes, or comments.
Notice the trends
There are numerous ways to see what people are talking about. Twitter always lists trending topics on your home account page.
If you aren’t engaged in social media, you may have no idea what customers are saying about your business – and then it can be too late to repair the damage.
Remember the game “telephone”?
Negative customer experiences can be hugely viral and do a lot of damage to your reputation. People love to share victim stories and will post them. Those stories then become a launching point for others who may have experienced even a mildly negative experience in your place of business. Before you know it (or worse, don’t know it), the word is out that your business has bad customer service whether or not it is true.
You must set aside time for social media
Yes, it can be very intimidating at first. Even if you are technophobic, playing around with different features and exploring the support pages will acquaint you with social media tools faster than you might think.
Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are popular and easy tools for social media monitoring. These websites offer desktop or Smartphone dashboards with tools allowing easy access and monitoring of multiple social media sites. Set aside an hour of uninterrupted time to explore them.
The ROI on monitoring social media is huge!
Small business owners are often too busy to handle social media monitoring alone. The best idea is to hire a social media consultant or part time employee. Yes, it’s that important.
Can’t afford to hire someone? Maybe you can – check with your local college or university career center for information on hiring a marketing intern for little or no salary. Marketing Interns are often the most up-to-speed on the pulse of social media and you’ll also have the opportunity to see them work before you decide to eventually hire.
No matter how good your customer service is, winning back an unhappy customer, especially publicly via social media, spreads the news you are a business that cares about their customers!
Check out this link for more information on using social media for customer service monitoring.