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How To Bring Social Skills Back To Social Media Marketing

How To Bring Social Skills Back To Social Media Marketing

Social media has become a very important marketing channel for brands, and if well executed, has the ability to deliver impressive outcomes. The problem is that so many brands fail to understand that their social media is a two-way dialogue rather than a one-way broadcast, and ignore many of the social norms and rules we apply in face-to-face conversation.

Here are a few common things we instinctively know not to do in social situations that many companies are guilty of doing in their social media marketing.

Only talking about yourself

Have you ever been to a party, gathering or meeting where the person you are talking to clearly has no interest in anyone or anything other than himself or herself? Painful, right?

If your social media posts are primarily about your brand, products, services, achievements, events, staff, clients, case studies and so on, then you are that annoying person at the party that no one wants to talk to.

When choosing topics to comment on or build content around, make sure it is relevant to your brand and industry, but rarely about your brand itself. For example, a real estate company could create a post about the most interesting or unusual houses in Australia and get much better results than just posting about what they are selling right now.

Talking too much

Within any group dynamic, there will be those people who talk more, and those that talk less. However, occasionally you get those extreme cases where one person seems more than capable of holding an entire conversation purely on their own. In my experience, the others in the conversation then race to see who can excuse themselves first.

Similarly, many brands constantly post on social media, regularly broadcasting content without ever actually engaging in discussion with their audience. If the content is interesting and relevant enough, you can get likes, shares and new followers this way, but that does not get them engaged with your brand.

To engage with your customers on social media, you need to get them talking to your brand, and talking to each other about how great your brand is. While your social media content and activity can initiate that conversation, it should not be the only voice.

Going off-topic

While great conversations are fluid in nature, if the topic changes too fast, or someone keeps jumping from one discussion to another, it can often leave people confused and feeling left out of the conversation.

Your social media audience has followed your brand because they liked your topics, ideas, and content and believed your knowledge would be beneficial to them. So when a message, comment or piece of content contradicts the broad theme that your brand covers, the response can vary from disengagement through to hostility.

This doesn’t mean you should always talk about the same thing. Just like a normal conversation, you should talk about a range of topics that interest the entire group. However, you should ensure that your content fits into the general themes that the group is interested in and is relevant to what they are talking about.

Sales Pitch

When you are talking to someone and suddenly out of nowhere, they start trying to sell something to you, it kills the conversation almost instantly. What makes it worse, is that it destroyed any rapport, trust and respect you had for the person you were just conversing with.

Brands who do this on social media tend to get the same response. Consumers who follow brands and companies on social media do so because they already like and support the brand; they don’t need to be persuaded again. Pitching over and over again will turn off new customers and zap the trust of existing clientele.

It’s fine for companies to use social media to promote their latest creations and upcoming releases. If my favourite brand was having a huge discount on an item I’d been eyeballing, guaranteed, I’d want to know about it. It’s the approach that distinguishes between a hard-core pitch and a soft promotion. Product promotion posts need to be done sparingly and dispensed between interesting and useful posts.

Ben and Jerry’s do a great job of this. Most of their posts are aligned with their company values of Peace, Love and producing tasty ice cream that doesn’t harm humans, animals or the environment. Their posts usually call for action from their loyal followers in their altruistic quest to save and improve the world. From marriage equality to their moovement on climate change, these caring dairies remain relevant, encourage engagement and attract new fans every day whilst nurturing current fans.

 

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Image from the Ben and Jerry’s Australia Facebook page.

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Image from the Ben and Jerry’s Australia Facebook page.

They do still do product promotions, but they creatively display their products in various situations. Their wonderful posts whet their customer’s appetites, making them want the product without explicitly saying “Our ice cream is delicious. It’s the best one to buy over the others!” Here’s a recent post from their Facebook feed:

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Image from the Ben and Jerry’s Australia Facebook page.

Simply captioned “Shopping for essentials”. Naturally, it’s a pitch to buy their new flavour That’s My Jam, but they creatively show what the pint contains, whilst showing customers the benefit: they don’t have to choose which unhealthy sweet item to indulge (chocolate, jam or ice cream) as this flavour conveniently ticks all three in the one tub.

If your brand is committing any of these faux pas, or the way you communicate with your audience on social media wouldn’t go down well in a normal conversation, it’s not too late!

Change your approach by choose interesting and relevant topics that encourage active participation from your audience.

Trust me, your audience will love you for it.

Did we miss a few? Let us know in the comments below or tweet them to me @nathan5ri. Try our Free AdWords Audit.