If there is one lesson I’ve learned in Professor Christie Susko’s Social Media Marketing class at The George Washington University this semester, it’s the importance of engaging (vs. interrupting) your followers. Social media is, after all, an interactive conversation between two people. If you're not engaging your followers with follow backs and interactions, then your brand is probably not very social.
Consider the two examples below, both established brands with long track records of success in traditional marketing. Like a surprisingly large number of brands who maintain an online social presence, my own experience with them has been disappointing. I once followed both, mentioned one favorably on two separate occasions, and retweeted a community-service post by the other and yet...no follow back nor interaction from either.
Brand #1: A Regional Food Market Chain
Bio: “The official twitter account for [brand name]. Can’t wait to talk to you!”
Brand #2: Consumer Products Manufacturer
Bio: “Touching lives, improving life.”
Using these examples, let me share 4 takeaways for ensuring your brand is social:
• Be authentic – if you say you want to interact with your followers (e.g., “Can’t wait to talk to you”), then follow back and thank your followers for their retweets and mentions.
• Know that social media is incredibly transparent – brands with a disproportionately large number of followers relative to follow backs appear as if they are disinterested in what their followers have to say.
• View social media as a touch point in your customer’s journey – just as you would thank your customers for their purchases, thank and make them feel special for following you.
• Treat all of your followers equally – here at The Chief Storyteller®, we live by the mantra of treating everyone you meet like they’re the next CEO, or your most profitable customer.
Next week, I’ll write about a brand who is doing all of these things amazingly well. In the meantime, please check and see how social some of your favorite brands are. I’m curious to know what you find.