Facebook Wants You…But Do Facebook Users Want You?
It’s still tricky being a business on social media. It’s often like being a salesman trying to close a deal at someone’s birthday party – it’s clearly not about you. Be mindful of this potential friction at all times so as not to create negative associations around your brand.
So how do you sell that Chevy while everyone’s eating cake? Easy. Don’t sell it. Talk about it, introduce yourself, become known. In short, enjoy the party. You’re lucky to be there.
Below are three main factors to think about before launching your business into the social media stratosphere.
With all of the above said, you are a business, so act like it. Any blatant attempts to ingratiate yourself to the tone of the social medium can come across as cloying and tacky. Be comfortable in your skin as a business and avoid such individual social media habits as posting about politics, brunch plans, or cats. The tone you set here will reverberate across vast networks, so reflect and define yourself first, then let your individual posts be informed by your overarching social philosophy.
Consider honing in on your online business personality by choosing your spot on the following 1 through 10 sliding scales:
1. “We are the brand logo” —– through —– 10. “We’re fuzzy, just like you”
Do you want your customers to see your company as an abstract, faceless brand or as a collection of interesting individuals? Or somewhere in between? You can allow employees to let their personalities shine through or you can presume that less sharing is more professional. It’s up to you. There are pros and cons to both approaches, and ultimately, one approach will probably just “feel right,” but you should establish a stance early and stick to it.
1. “Hey Hey Hey!!!” —– through —– 10. “Oh hi…didn’t see you there”
Are you screaming for attention or mumbling to yourself? Most likely, you’re somewhere between these extremes, but the degree of your pushiness will influence how the rest of your content is received. Identify the audience you are trying to reach and consider their consumer behavior patterns to see which approach they are prone to respond to.
1. “Let’s discuss stocks ” —– through —– 10. “When bears learn to fly, we’re doomed”
Even if this isn’t a conscious decision, every person and every business naturally falls somewhere on this scale. Simply be aware of how quirky or straight your tone is, and don’t veer too far off that path. Major changes can seem like some body-snatcher grabbed the mic, or that you’re changing your personality to serve a fleeting audience. Customers respect integrity and consistency. Give it to them.
You know who you are. Now what are you going to talk about? The kind of conversation you are engaged in influences who “likes” you and should be determined by three pivotal questions:
How interactive are you looking to be with your customers?
The intoxicating siren song of social media is the two-way channel of communication it opens up with customers. There are innumerable ways for a business to connect with customers and enhance their relationship through purposeful dialogue.
Contrary to the craze, using social media as a one-way channel of communication – like TV or radio – is completely acceptable. More often than not, consumers want to consume, and within the realm of social media, that simply means supplying them with great content.
Again, before deciding how interactive you want to be with your customers, it’s important to consider what your goals are and how your consumer base behaves. The last thing you should do is immediately start a conversation with your customers without an underlying, guiding strategy.
Are you providing quality content, trying to promote, or both?
This feeds a bit into your personality and it’s also the most immediate way your customer is going to identify you. When it comes to the customer, either give them something or entertain them. If you’re not doing either, you’re doing something wrong.
Can you invest in a fully engaged and aware social presence?
Have you ever been talking with someone that was messing around on their phone? Their half-conscious “yeah’s” and “uh-huh’s” fueled your neglected rage. Don’t be that guy on social media. If you don’t have the resources or the personnel to have a consistent, attentive voice online, then your efforts will appear disingenuous and damage your brand.
Any person or business can join social media, but without an audience, their voice is virtually muted. Build a network to exponentially expand your reach. This is particularly relevant now with Facebook’s new Graph Search feature. The more people associate themselves with your business, the more your business will show up in relevant searches. You are only visible through the advocacy of your network.
Once the groundwork of your network is established, you can focus on the true point of joining social media – to cultivate existing customer relationships and attract new, potential business. Be aware of how your content is serving both of these ends.
Additionally, it never hurts to step outside the narrow tunnel-vision of B2C strategy and attract peer relationships with similar businesses as well. Positioning yourself as a leader and trusted source in your industry is remarkably beneficial for your actual reputation, which has a positive domino effect on every aspect of your online presence, including SEO, link support, and social sharing.
What About Conversions?
So how does all of this convert to business? What are the numbers?
It’s difficult to measure the exact impact of social presence on conversion rates since it is such an amorphous phenomenon. Certain trends can certainly be tracked, but requiring specific results linked directly to specific social events will only leave you frustrated.
Approach social media less as a sales channel and more as a customer service channel. Be glad for the opportunity to have such direct contact with your customers. The more you obsess over direct, measurable conversions, the more you risk poisoning the tone of your social content with overly sales-y goals.
By providing your customers with good service, content, and a trusted sense of your brand through social media, you will boost positive word-of-mouth, which in this era of available information and referral-based marketing, is the golden goose that all businesses should aspire to have.