Social media for business has finally hit Malta. It’s been a long time coming, and there’s still a long way to go, but it’s here! Suddenly, everyone wants a Facebook page. Everyone’s talking about Instagram. Everyone wants likes, followers and connections. Hold your horses folks… we’ve got a problem here.
Everyone wants to “do social”, when in reality, the secret is to be social
Let’s backtrack a bit and think about this for a second. Social media is called social for a reason. Nowadays, everyone is always online, always accessible and always sharing things that strike them as valuable – including their favourite brands. Now, more than ever, people turn to social media as a way to stay connected and up-to-date with the brands they love. This makes authenticity, transparency and real-time engagement for brands a must.
Think about the time you spend on networks: you scroll through posts from friends and colleagues telling you about their last meal, trip or shopping spree. Chances are, you click through to the people or organisations tagged in the post to find out more. Within seconds of landing on that page, you make a decision to stay and engage with the page or to jump ship altogether. That split-second decision is based on your immediate perception of the page. Does that sound about right to you?
First impressions are everything. Being open, genuine and authentic on the digital landscape means a great deal to the audience that wants to genuinely engage with your brand on social. Many brands struggle with this, probably because they find words like ‘genuine’ and ‘authentic’ rather… vague. But it’s important to find your own, personal voice to have an even bigger impact on the social sphere. This is not a new concept: Forbes mentioned in 2011 that the battle for social media authenticity is about showcasing the human side of your business to make your audience truly feel a part of your brand. Authenticity builds credibility – be real, be genuine and above all, make sure that your motivations aren’t manipulative (fans will sniff that out in a second).
It’s not that alien a concept, if you think about it. Just look at your personal relationships: they’re built on trust and communication, and it’s safe to say that transparency and engagement are two key priorities. The question is, how do you make it work with your brand?
That’s easy – start with the humans
It really is that simple. People like people, and the easiest way to connect with an audience is to show that your brand is made up of people just like them. After all, if it wasn’t for the people on your team, there wouldn’t be much of a brand, would there? Embrace their individual values and leverage them – everyone, from the top of the ladder all the way to the bottom rung. Write about them, give your audience a peek at the behind-the-scenes and be the leader of the conversations taking place about you and your brand by giving your audience something to talk about!
Now, before you roll your eyes, let’s quickly bring this back to you: the business owner. That’s right, there is business-sense in all of this. We are living in the age of the consumer: the key driver of your product or service and the person behind the all-important purchase decisions you’re looking to influence. Those consumers are the reason behind being social.
In short, treat your customers like insiders. Remember that sharing is caring and give your brand advocates something positive to share with the world. Talk with them, not at them, and build a dialogue that encourages your customers to interact and support your brand. We’re positive that with enough effort, this will lead to social media success.
Want to know more about improving your social media marketing strategy? This might be what you’re looking for.