Social media management is no easy task. Establishing online communities doesn’t happen overnight, and maintaining social relationships can be time consuming. A little focused effort, however, goes a long way.
People want to be associated with brands they like – that’s a given. But what we don’t always think about is that people only remain associated with brands that offer something in return. The longer people are associated with a brand, the more they get to know it, and hopefully, the more they get to like it. If you’re not taking the time to get to know and appreciate your followers in return, you’ll have a hard time keeping your community populated.
Customer/community appreciation should be a top priority in your company’s social media plan. (What? You don’t have a social media plan? No guidelines or policies for your company’s social interactions? Well then, we really need to talk!) You and your social media team need to know how to consistently handle complaints, compliments and curiosities.
When people comment on your blog or Facebook page, do you respond? When they ask questions, do you provide answers? When they share your information or link back to your resources, do you acknowledge it? While it may not possible to respond to every single post, tag or tweet, finding ways to communicate your appreciation is key in successfully maintaining relationships and building communities.
Turn Negative Feedback Around
Let’s talk about complaints for a minute. If a customer posts a negative comment regarding an interaction with your company and it’s not acknowledged, it leaves a bad impression for everyone who sees it. On the other hand, that negative input can be an invaluable resource to you for several reasons:
- You’re now aware of an issue relating to your business.
- You have the opportunity to provide a solution for that issue.
- You also have an opportunity to “personally” connect with your customers and show them that you care about them and their experiences with your company.
- It’s even possible for that one direct interaction to spark a new product, service or campaign because it may be something you didn’t think of before.
Celebrate Positive Feedback
It’s just as important to acknowledge when someone compliments your company. They took the time to tell you – and your entire online community – that they like you. You now have the opportunity to amplify that appreciation by simply saying thank you in some way. When people feel heard and appreciated, they’re more likely to spread word-of-mouth “gold” on your behalf!
To be successful, your social media efforts need to be interactive. Find ways to give to your community, and they will give back to you. Social media is not just a sales tool – it’s a vehicle to share information. People like variety, so take time to find and provide relevant information that is associated with your company, products or services. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Connect with a variety of resources that can help you provide interesting information and opportunities that inform, enlighten and entertain. It’s a win/win: The more you discover and share for the sake of your audience, the more you’ll remain current and competitive in your market.
If you’d like to find new ways to light up your social media communities, we’re here to help!