Putting the Social Back
There are a lot of ways to "do" social media. It's an art, so it's largely subjective. What is right for you may not be right for your friends or competitors. But, while there may be no "right" or "wrong," there are some best practices — one in particular that seems to be missing from much of the social media landscape today: social engagement.
Somewhere along the way, in the midst of scheduled posts and increasing our visibility, we've forgotten the most obvious part of social media—and arguably, the simplest piece of the puzzle. It's in the name, and yet we have forgotten how to be social on social media. But all hope is not lost! How do we get back on track?
" Invite them to be a part of the conversation."
Somewhere along the way, in the midst of scheduled posts and increasing our visibility, we've forgotten the most obvious part of social media—and arguably, the simplest piece of the puzzle.
Make social engagement a priority.
Nothing will change if you don't commit to making this a priority of your social strategy. Put it at the top of your list and communicate its importance to your team regularly. Don't allow any comments or questions on your social channels to slip through the cracks. Take time to acknowledge those who acknowledge you, whether with a simple "like" or a short response. Prioritize this again and again, each and every day.
Think with your audience in mind.
When you're planning your social posts, use the social part of social media to your advantage. Find ways to engage your audience with questions, polls, giveaways, and contests. Invite them to be a part of the conversation, and then honor that engagement with your own responses and reactions.
Make sure your team can handle the task.
Even the greatest of intentions with the best-laid plans will fail if you don't have the team who can execute on it. Social engagement takes time. It's work. Put people in place to make sure it gets done, and it's done well. Don't just assume that this will happen. You'll likely need to set aside a part of someone's role on your team to make this work well.
It never stops. Make sure you're in it for the long haul. Set boundaries so it doesn't overwhelm your team, but never let it go unnoticed. Your commitment to your audience will ultimately determine their perception of you and their return to your brand. Take them seriously and they'll do the same.
David Clark is a writer and community advocate at James & Matthew. He joined our team in 2016 and currently resides in Bloomington, Indiana, where he enjoys running and eating copious amounts of Chipotle.