Social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others are powerful tools for creating customer communities, but, as a business, social media has a slightly different agenda to your home-based personal account.

You need to consider your policies of interaction and your brand values before relying on social media as a tool.

Even if you follow all the advice with your website design, make a good quality platform and put in quality content with the right keywords, without social media in the equation you will be losing a valuable SEO opportunity, as well as a chance to net a customer base that follows your brand.

One in four people use a social media network on a global scale – that’s phenomenal. For driving a high number of people to your website and brand it is an inroad that should not be ignored. Social media allows people to share, like, link, and talk about your brand with their own communities.

What’s more, feedback from your social media communities can give you real insight from your customers that can help in areas such as:

  • Research and Development.
  • Marketing Focus.
  • Gauging Success.
  • Consumer Demographic.
  • Brand Values.

From a consumer’s point of view, to have a company on a personal social media feed is a big deal, as for many, social media is an exclusive club of friends.

If a person chooses to align with a brand on social media for regular updates, then it follows that they have a genuine interest in what that brand is up to, engaging with them and will be happy to be seen as a brand advocate by their own friends and family.

How to approach your company’s social media – 5 important policies

1. A friendly voice

Become personable and friendly. Social media has arguably been long misunderstood by companies. It’s OK to talk to your customers’ one on one and have a chat – imagine it’s like a chat over a coffee – except everyone in the café is unashamedly listening to your conversation. Good social media practice says that you should say who you are with a sign off, if you are an administrator acting under a brand logo. If a customer has said who they are – you should not hide behind anonymity. Acknowledge actions that are positive for your brand because this is a) polite and b) draws attention to the action – for instance, say ‘thank you’ for a Like or comment. Be clear and try not to use jargon and phrases that may confuse or isolate any customer reading the comment.

2. Manners make the company

If someone complains, address the complaint professionally – remember everyone else is looking. How you manage complaints can define your values and attitude toward the paying customer. You can turn complaints in great opportunities to show how your brand cares, behaves and responds to people’s concerns. Similarly, great social media ‘fails’ can be seen in the way a manager, used to treating staff with rudeness, gets exposed by replying to a customer complaint with similar aggression.

3. U Certificate is sensible – PG if you must!

Avoid anything that could offend your customers – being edgy can be great, but if you rely on bad language, questionable or graphic imagery it may isolate and outrage people. Whoever is an administrator on your social media has the voice to your brand so make sure the rules of engagement are clearly defined and understood.

4. Double check

Check you have the permission for images you use. Check all spelling and grammar by writing the comment into a Word document prior to uploading, if you are unsure, so you can use the Spell Checker. When you have a large audience you’ll find people will leap on typos in copy, if they find them.

5.Exclusivity for your followers

If someone is following your social media, they will probably want exclusive content, which can be a promotion or offer or insight. Social media can be a great place to tell your customer base the new news on your company.

The clue to social media is in the word – ‘social’– meaning friendly, inclusive, chatty, will be worth the time. It’s simply a way of finding out things and communicating.

What it isn’t great at, is being an old fashioned advertising space. If you try and broadcast the offering in capital letters and sales pitches with every entry, you may find this switches some of your followers off. Whilst social media can be a great platform for sales chatter and discounts, by being too aggressive in salesmanship, customers may be less inclined to follow and return to your community, so you need to temper it. When you go to a friend to see what they have to say or what they are up to, you don’t expect them to enter into a sales pitch to extract money out of you in the first introduction.

Give insight, make your followers laugh, think, feel empowered – seed positive emotions and this will be good social media in practice. Social media is about inviting people into your space and giving them an enjoyable experience.

Want more advice from Varn? Go to https://varn.co.uk/insights/


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