I've said it before and I'll say it again, to be successful on social media you need to be social. After many consultations now with small businesses I often come up against this problem. Many businesses owners want my help putting out content, ads and information about their brand but when I bring up how much time they want me to spend engaging with people, they usually balk at the idea of paying me to do so. I get the "I am not paying you to play on social media, I need you to grow my followers and get people to my website". I explain that it is an essential part of growing a follower base but many business still fail to recognize this. It is frustrating to say the least because after a month of work, they come back and wonder why people are not engaging with them more. Well, it is a two way street, you can not take, take, take and expect that people will give back so if you want engagement for your business (which you do) then you need to reciprocate. There is an unwritten rule of reciprocity that exists on social media.
The Rule of Reciprocity
When someone follows you on social media, at least take the time to look at their profile and either like a photo, comment or better yet, follow them back, especially if you are a business. This takes time but it is worth it. Things like follow 4 follow or f4f exist for a reason. If you want to grow then you have to take part.
Listen, Discuss, Engage
If you have people that are taking the time to comment or like a photo, tuning them out is bad business practice, they will in the end unfollow you are loose respect for your business. Each person that engages with your business needs to be engaged with. If there is a discussion going on in your comments, you should be taking part. If there is no discussion yet, make one! With each post you have the opportunity to post a question to your customers and a call to action. This is the greatest part about social media, the direct interaction you have with your potential customers, they way you handle that says a lot about your business and will determine how successful you are online.
Picture Your Profiles Like a Virtual Store Front
Today buyers want to feel appreciated and want almost a relationship with a brand. Customer loyalty, response times, everything is judged out in the open on social media. So if you don't reply to a comment, not only are you brushing aside that person but you don't even know how many people have seen that and decided not to engage with you either. There is this disconnect sometimes that exists because it is online, maybe you think they are not real but try to picture your page as a store and these are customers who have walked in and are milling about looking at your product, how would you react to them them. Would you smile to acknowledge them? Well you can do that with an emoji. Would you answer their question? Maybe you would initiate a discussion about your products and let them know they were handpicked by you and are the best quality. If you approach your followers this way then it helps to see how important they really are. If you find businesses online that have great followers and lots of comments, look to see if that business is interacting with them. See how they are doing it and take notes.
How Much Time Should Your Spend Engaging
Typically I spend about at least hour a day for each client. Each comment, like, follow has to be acknowledged and then some initiation too where I will seek out potential customers that have not engaged but I think they would like that business so I start a discussion or comment on a photo. I can easily get sucked into a rabbit hole, especially on Instagram where there is so much material so I need to physically set a timer otherwise I will get nothing else done. Consistency is key here, spend and hour a day, every day and you will see an increase in your engagement and followers. Also using apps like Iconosquare, Hootsuite or Tailwind makes engaging and following much easier, I can't recommend them enough, more on that later!
If your business needs help engaging, consider hiring a social media manager (like me!), visiting for services page for more information and a free consultation.
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