One of the hardest parts about trying to be social is overhearing others talking about how much fun they are having. Creating questions, discussions and sparking engagement is at the root of social success. It’s not about sharing content anymore — it’s about shaping and moving communities of people.
However, if your company is trying to create relationships with its customers via social channels, you may find it’s near impossible to get the ball rolling.
We’ve all heard someone say, “It’s not about how many followers you have; it’s how many interactions.” This isn’t the easiest of tasks, especially if you operate in the B2B industry, where “almost 60% of B2B marketers have little or no engagement in social media,” according to a 2010 study by White Horse.
This data comes as a relief to many because it illustrates how many businesses are doing it wrong, which gives you a viable opportunity to stand out amongst a crowd. Nearly 60% of B2B marketers are talking, but no one is talking back.
The difficulty lies in changing people’s expectations of a medium. According to a Brian Solis study, 37% of people followed a company to gain access to exclusive content, whereas only 24% of people followed to be a part of a like-minded community. Managing these expectations and showing them you value their input is one of the fundamental introductory lessons for social media use.
Create something of value
What is your niche? What does your business do better than everyone else in your industry? If you are a low-cost leader, create a graphic presentation of how customers in your industry can save money with services like yours. Don’t give them a sales pitch; instead create something that makes people go “Aha!”
Try to create catchy headers, but don’t kill off your followers by linking to a product or a service. Remaining credible on social channels is heavily based on delivering quality content. If you think you have something with true value, it will likely catch on with an audience. Your goal is make it catch on with enough authoritative socialites to go viral.
Try social bookmarking
Try a social bookmarking service if you are new to social. If you aren’t engaging on Twitter, you are likely having a tough time driving traffic with your links. A social bookmarking service will get your content more views — some services can boost your traffic by 300%.
Once you get more traffic, your retweets will follow. People who share and comment on your article are invitations for communication. Thank them for the mention, comment on something they’ve said or give them a follow. Building your network with social bookmarking really isn’t too difficult because it gives you grounds for introduction.
Humanizing is more than speaking with a human voice. It is breaking down the corporate façade to allow consumers to see the person behind the brand. This is a very risky and sometimes complicated strategy, but humanized brands allow users to relate to a brand. In efforts to humanize, brands are tweeting emotions, activities and personal shout-outs.
If you want to humanize, treat each member of your community and surrounding community like he is your best friend. Ask them things that don’t necessarily relate to your specific industry. Drop the corporate persona and make friends.
Talking when no one else is talking may feel embarrassing, but most brands (especially in the B2B industry) are failing to engage because they aren’t actively seeking out opportunities to introduce themselves. The first step is putting yourself out there. The great thing about social media is that it doesn’t require extensive structure. It does, however, require a knack for satisfying needs and inspiring people with zeal and zest.
How have you started the conversation?