Hi, my name is Lizzie and I’m from Myspace. I lived there happily for a few years and then moved to Facebook. New opportunities drove me to Instagram. I go to LinkedIn during the day and reside on Twitter at night, Snapchatting along the way.
I am what is known as a “digital native”.
And I’m fully aware that introduction makes me seem like an anti-social young person who always has a screen in front of their face. I don’t. I can recall the days of physical maps (shoutout to Rand McNally), enjoy the great outdoors as much as the next person, and heavily prefer face-to-face interactions to texts or chats. All the while, I can’t deny the fact that social media has been prevalent throughout my life, and I’ve been a firsthand participant and witness to its evolution.
Every brand who’s any brand has hopped on the social media bandwagon and is feening for shares, followers, and viral-level metrics. Sure, there are calculated strategies and price points to achieve these things, but attaining a meaningful customer relationship that starts on social and permeates throughout the customer journey is harder to accomplish.
Truly connecting to an audience on social channels that creates rapport demands an understanding of why the audience is even using social media in the first place (I can assure you, users don’t hop on the ‘gram to see #ad plastered all over their feed). As a digital native, let me teach you how to speak my native tongue.
Yes, it’s personal.
Social media is about relationships. It’s about feeling seen and heard. Content that pushes too hard to sell something can become an annoyance while scrolling. As a brand, identify the audience you’re trying to reach and speak their language. Integrate raw, organic, everyday content alongside your paid content to build trust with the users; help them see a side of your business that they may not experience in a quick transaction. Sneak peeks, behind the scenes, explanations of process or rationale are all content categories that users eat up. Social is an easy way to provide an exclusive-feeling experience. Your voice shouldn’t be overly formal, imagery should be real, the message should feel personal in scope. Save the polish for your website.
Sharing is caring.
Relevant content is essential to connecting with users on social. The more people are able to relate to the content you post, the more willing they will be to share it (#relatable). Posts go viral when something about them deeply resonates with the audience. That could be something that is hilarious, devastating, or groundbreaking. You can’t control what will go viral, but you CAN stay true to your brand and keep your audience in mind when planning content. What can you give them with your content that they could “take” and/or share with others?
Communication is a two-way street.
If you don’t know by now, relationships are a two-way street. It is just as much your obligation to interact with other users and brands as it is theirs to do the same with you. Overgeneralized responses either indicate you used the copy and paste method or that the user’s post is being disregarded; either are big user turn-offs. In some ways, that can hurt your brand image more than not responding at all. If you are going to dedicate energy to respond to people on social, do it right. Soothe angry people, thank happy ones, and give thoughtful answers to questions. Individualization is key! People want to feel seen and heard, remember? When this type of communication becomes consistent, it builds trust with followers.
Stepping into the world of social and leveraging it as a meaningful touchpoint in the customer journey can be a confusing venture filled with memes, influencers, and ever-evolving platforms. While boasting an impressive follower count can enhance brand image, building a loyal following of engaged users will reap a higher return for your brand in the long run.