Over the past couple of posts we've been sharing some of the things that we've learned over the last few years of using specific social medias, such as Twitter & Facebook. Not all of social media sites require such specified or tailored interactions however, and there are some general practices which we've found ought to be carried out consistently no matter what social media you're utilising.
Each big social media has its own niche as it were; for instance Twitter is all about sharing news, musings, opinions, etc. in short, concise bursts, where as Pinterest revolves solely around the taking and sharing of images. When it comes to businesses engaging with their customers however, we found that it is helpful, if not necessary, for there to be guidelines; which is why we've decided to share Pens Unlimited's social media rules of engagement.
Be What Your Demographic Wants
As a business one of the first things you do is identify the demographic that your products or services are designed to cater to, which means that this ought to be a very easy point to follow.
If your target demographic, for example, is young adults in higher education then it'll be perfectly acceptable to use informal language; however you would likely require a more formal tone if your customer-base are made up of those whom you conduct business with directly.
Adapt To The Tone Of Others
Whilst it's important to have your own voice and personality, you should always remain adaptable and base how you interact on your reading of a situation.
It may be appropriate, for the most part, to adopt an informal tone, but if you have just received a complaint over social media and the individual who has sent it is obviously upset, you may want to avoid asking them to 'chill out' or telling them that it's 'no worries'. Never forget that whether you're engaging through social media or not, you're still part of a business and paying customers will always expect a degree of after-sales care and commitment.
Don't Regiment Your Interactions
Using social media requires a degree of spontaneity and variation. If all your interactions are simply you sharing images of your products or trying to goad people into making a purchase, you'll find that your social media will not grow very quickly and you'll likely lose more 'Likes' and followers than you'll gain.
Knowing your demographic ought to give you a pretty decent idea of what their general interests are and what kind of things they'll like to read and know about. Share external articles, videos and images that may interest others and encourage them to share whatever it is you've posted, as this will help extend your post's reach and may attract more people to your page.
Social media is one of the most accessible avenues with which people can interact with a business and ask questions. Whether you know it or not, simply by being present on social media, you're actively encouraging customers – both existing and potential – to address you, and it is your responsibility to answer these questions and allay their concerns.
Simply responding is not enough however, your responses need to be considered and informative. If you're asked a question and the answer is clear on your website's home page, there is no need to respond with “please visit our website (or FAQ page) for answers to your question” as this is not only robotic, it's also unhelpful. To earn the most points in fact, you ought to provide them with the answer directly, and re-word it so that it does not look like a simple copy & paste job, and also so that there is a little personality behind it.
Anticipate Customer Needs
If you are regularly getting asked the same question then there is a chance that others are wondering the same thing but have not got in contact with you.
If you post the answers to FAQs to help your followers and 'Like'ers, and address issues readily and with helpful suggestions and feedback, then you will earn a reputation for being helpful and considerate, which will attract others to follow & 'Like' your page, further increasing your reach.
You may find that on almost every post there is the same person, or people, who like, retweet, share or comment on it, and these are people you should look after and build a relationship with.
If you ever have a flash-sale or are giving away online discount codes, these should be the people you give them to first; or drop them a message around Christmas time thanking them for engaging with you and wishing them a Merry Christmas. It does not take much, and it's the little things that will separate your business from others, and not only on social media.
Show What You Know
As a business in a certain sector or industry you're expected to know your stuff, or at the very least to be more knowledgeable than the average person, and showing that you are will help to grow consumer confidence.
This does not mean that you need to constantly use industry jargon in your posts, but rather that when answering a question or query, or when commenting on a post, that your replies show that you have a good industry-knowledge, and a comprehensive understanding of your products, how they work and, if there are any, their 'quirks'.
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