I love social media, I can waste hours scrolling Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest! But the main reason that I love social media is that it allows us to build relationships with far more people over a far wider area than we could ever achieve face to face. I love the fact that we can meet someone once then connect with them on social media and when we meet them again months later it feels like we’re meeting a long lost friend. For those of us in business that means that we can build our team of influencers and advocates in a gentle and non-salesy manner. Equally we can stay in touch with customers and nurture prospects without bombarding their inboxes.
What impact are you having on your audience?
It’s therefore important that we think carefully about what we post and what impression we want to create. So now we have an election in full swing I am seeing people posting some very strong views for and against particular parties or individual politicians. I’m not suggesting we should be bland and boring but some of the posts I see are very derogatory about people who don’t share the writer’s views. If those people are prospects who are stalking you before deciding whether or not to work with you then you’ve just insulted them and lost some potential business.
Another thing I see from time to time are business people complaining about a difficult customer. There will be few business owners who can say they’ve never had a difficult customer and there are times when we’d really like another perspective on how best to deal with the issue but is social media the place to get it? Perhaps once it’s OK to post a question in a closed group of other business owners but when the same person shares similar posts on repeated occasions you have to question his or her professionalism. For me the reason I belong to a social media group is to grow my tribe, to develop relationships with people I can collaborate with, learn from, share ideas with etc. I want to be in a place of mutual respect. I wouldn’t want to be washing too much of my dirty linen in public and I wouldn’t want to recommend someone who always seemed to have a problem keeping customers happy.
The other thing that gets me mad are the constant moaners. You know the ones. The weather is too hot or too cold. They’ve got too many customers or not enough. Other people’s demands are always unreasonable. Nobody loves them etc. etc. Would you want to build a relationship or do business with someone who’s always moaning? Probably not.
Most of us know we shouldn’t post when we’re drunk or angry but if we’re in business we should be more strategic in the way we use social media. So here are some key things to consider if you are using social media for business:
- Who are we targeting on that particular platform and why would they want to connect with us?
- What do we want our audience to know, think or do when they connect with us on that platform or in that group?
- What impression do we want to give?
- What tone of voice will help us to convey that impression?
Before you post always ask yourself ‘Why am I here?’ and then ‘Will this post serve my purpose?’ As I said earlier I’m not advocating bland and boring or that we shouldn’t sometimes share our challenges and frustrations but we need to find a balance and a way of being human without alienating our audience.
Why not take a look at your recent posts and check whether they are serving your purpose? If they’ve got out of alignment make sure that you plan some more strategic and positive posts in the immediate future in order to redress the balance. Take a look at your analytics and see what posts get the most engagement from your target audience. Don’t be too influenced by the views of people who are not in your target audience and don’t be afraid to reach out to your target and ask them for their views.