During the early days of social media you rarely saw anything other than moms bragging on their kids or memes aimed at getting a giggle and share. It didn’t take long for the business world to realize the power of social media,however, entering the feed stream with brand-centered messages. This provoked a lot of anger and frustration from consumers, who didn’t want their personal forum to be turned into an ad portal for businesses.

This push back was part of a dance that takes place between social media users and companies that want to talk with them. This dynamic relationship gets credit for much of the evolution that’s taken place in social media, from influencing how companies like Facebook determine who sees what to introducing ads onto previously ad-free platforms.

Businesses today, if they play their cards right, can have a direct line to their customers and potential customers. Of course, they can also alienate and anger everyone with an internet connection or smartphone. The real trick is knowing how to create social messages that engage, interest and inspire your followers while still showcasing your brand.

What’s the secret?

Well, I’m sorry to be the one that tells you that there is no secret. There are, however, plenty of strategies that work if you take the time to learn and use them. Today I’m going to go over some of the things you can do to use social media the right way, no matter if your business sells widgets or fried pickles or unicorn glitter.

Plan, plan and plan

If you were going to give a speech you would plan out everything you wanted to say and how you wanted to say it. I bet that most people wouldn’t even be comfortable giving a toast without having a little time to figure out what to say. Why then would you carelessly throw words up for the world to see?

The answer is you wouldn’t, so your business shouldn’t either. By planning out what you want to say you can make sure to offer the right ratio of social content to business content. A good rule to follow is to post three social posts for every business related post. This will keep you from flooding your feed with sales and other stuff that will turn people off.

Share and share alike

Sharing is one of the earliest things kids learn, and for good reason. Nobody likes to be around greedy people, and by refusing to share the content of others you’re being a greedy. The remedy is to simply take part in the social conversation of those that like your page by clicking, commenting and sharing things on a regular basis.

One thing to be careful about, however is the types of comments and nature of the items you may share. Avoid saying anything that could in any way be interpreted as political or divisive. Stick to congratulating people for things like marriages, anniversaries, having babies or other events considered universally positive. When you share something, follow the same rule. Remember, this isn’t about you as a person, it’s about your business!

Be consistent

There are some things in life you just rely upon, like your morning cup of coffee. If you were to wake up and find that coffee was no longer available it would rock your world. Why? Because you count on it to be there and it always is. By being a consistent part of your routine, and offering a much needed boost, that cup of java has your loyalty.

Your company’s social media posts is kind of like coffee. People want it to be around on a regular basis, and you gain their trust and loyalty when you deliver. Even if they don’t engage with you much, your consistent presence matters. Make sure you deliver by providing posts on a regular basis.

Social media is first and foremost social. By following these rules you can get your company’s message into the conversation without turning them away from your brand. In fact, you build loyalty and goodwill by simply handling your social media the right way. So the next time you start to post about your latest specials or flash sale, make sure you have plenty of fun, helpful and interesting non-sales posts in your feed.

 

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It’s not always about you: Creating social messages for your business
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