By Andi Barton As you build your social media networks, the need to stay connected to your communities is more important than ever. Sure, you can continue to increase your post frequency and targeting, but building relationships with your fans goes far beyond just reaching them directly. Engagement is equally, if not more, important. Social media users are finding you on social media for many different reasons. But the main unifying goal that all fans have in common is their desire to interact with YOU. They want to know that there's a human on the other end of those tweets and responses. Social media today is becoming a constant conversation, and more and more a source of customer service. Humanizing your social networks is a must in order to attain and retain your community. And here’s how:
- Be Timely: When users are coming to you on social media, they are looking for engagement and interaction. Don’t leave your fans hanging! Being timely on social media is essential- in two different ways. Firstly, be timely in your content. Be present in your fans day-to-day lives. By bringing content that is relevant and timely, users will feel more connected to you. Live-tweeting during events, posting beautifully timed content about something that JUST happened, or even asking the right questions based on knowing your target audiences interests- there are so many ways you can join in, or spark, the conversation with your communities. Secondly, timely social media has so much to do with your daily community management as well. When fans and users are coming to your page with comments and questions, it’s hugely impactful when you are able to respond quickly. Impress them by proving you are paying attention constantly to your community! This requires effort and passion. Social media is an ongoing conversation 24/7. And in order to maintain timely conversation, it does require a lot of your attention.
- Be Grateful: Brand advocates and your loyal fans are your cheerleaders. Let them know how much you appreciate their support! When fans know how grateful you are for their feedback, questions, engagement etc they are far more likely to come back and continue to engage with you! Any feedback- both positive and negative- should be appreciated. Fans want their voices to be heard, and they want to know that you acknowledge their dedication to you.
- Be Thorough: Prove to your fans that you are human. Be thoughtful in your content and community management. When you know the interests of your target audience, you’re able to bring to them much more variety of information. And when you’re interacting back with your fans, be the resource they’re looking for! If you don’t have the answer to their question, assure them you’re looking into it. When fans have inquiries, go above and beyond and provide them with necessary links and additional info to check out.
- Be Proactive: Humanizing your brand goes far beyond reacting to fans that find you- it’s about finding fans too. Tap into the conversations going on in social media. Proactively make an effort to search for the potential fans that have not found you first. Are you a health care brand? Search through social networks for people talking about their related needs and questions. Are you a service provider? Search through networks to find potential new customers that are in need of someone like you. There are billions of conversations going on right now that YOU could be getting involved in.
- Generalize Response Management: Opposite of the DO of being thorough, the last thing you want to be in boring and generalized. It’s great to develop an internal FAQ and suggested response resource to refer back to- however when you begin to generalize your responses, fans will notice. As mentioned, fans want to know they’re interacting with people. Not a robotic voice that does not even address their specific questions. Always personalize your responses.
- Ignore Your Fans: If your communities are highly engaged, timeliness in community management is something that’s difficult to keep up with. However, never let it get to the extent where fans are being ignored. To maintain your human element and community management, each fan should feel that their voice is being heard. You can thank a group of comments at a time- you can if need be respond the next day, but in order to retain fans and maintain a sense of humanization, don’t let fans fall to the wayside on your pages.
Scaled human engagement should always be a priority. Remember to maintain both a level of proactive and reactive content. As social media continues to delve into your target audience’s lives, find new ways to bring a timely level of community management on a daily basis. Humanizing your social media presence is a necessary element in your road to success.