Refocusing your social strategy: Who are you talking to?

Hint: It’s not a “persona” – it’s Phil, your neighbor down the street, who is looking for a new IT solution for his growing home-based business. It’s Shawna, the Lyft driver who gave you a ride to the airport, in need of a family law attorney to help with a custody dispute.

Social media has changed. Technology has evolved. Some of us who started posting to Facebook years ago because “we had to” and “everyone was on it” need to hit pause for a moment and regroup.

You might be asking WHAT? But the truth is, there are an over-abundance of ‘social media managers’ making incredibly bad social media with no strategy in place. It goes without saying that, if you’re investing the time and effort into posting to social media, you should have a social media strategy with measurable goals; not just post random content to maintain a “post per week” schedule.

Perhaps your social media pages exist to introduce new products and receive feedback; a 21st Century form of market research. Maybe you use social to educate clients and prospects about how your services can benefit them, and why you are the best choice in town. Perhaps you are in a very visual industry and beautiful photos of your creations are all it takes to draw customers into your shop.

According to Google, the average user seeks twice as much content as they did just 2 years ago. The way people are using social media has changed and evolved toward seeking out an emotional connection or an experience. Perhaps the pandemic has further emphasized the need for a human connection. It’s been proven that prospects connect with companies who show humanity. Customers want to know your story; they want faces, not a logo.

How do you do this?

Maybe it’s just you – and your personality is your voice on social. Maybe you highlight one team member each week. Perhaps video works in your content strategy by sharing lighthearted – or educational – moments from behind the office door with some company leaders.

The way in which you tell your company’s story matters. The headshot and “Jane Joins Company X” is fine for the business pages of local newspapers, but it’s not appropriate for Facebook and LinkedIn. Of course, Jane’s mom and dad care that you hired her last week. Her friends will hit the like button because you tagged her in your post. But in reality, what do those interactions really mean by way of dollars invested into your social media strategy? In truth, very little, unless Jane’s friends and parents are also your clients or prospects.

Instead of the same old template pulled from the paragraphs of a press release, try fostering a conversation instead. Consider introducing Jane like a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune.” What would someone be interested to know about her? How can you create an instant (though virtual) connection between her and your prospects? What does Jane add to your company? How is she going to help your clients? What new perspective will she offer that you couldn’t already provide? Are there “three fun facts about Jane” that could be shared in an image or video clip?

Answering these questions make your plain old “new hire” Facebook post relevant to a stronger, more targeted audience and help build a connection beyond this single post. It’s not about the 5 likes you get from Jane’s friends – it’s about the broader audience who can now relate to Jane and might reach out to her, and the perception you are building of your brand as a whole.

We’ve heard it time and again, but especially in the past year when everyone has been dependent on connections via the computer screen. People want connection with other people. No one logs on to social media to read, “Today Company X announced Initiative Y as part of its 2021 Strategic Plan for World Peace.” Very few people will even click through to read “more” of a Facebook post if it’s not interesting within the first 10 words.

Regardless of the business or service you provide, if you can break down your information into meaningful posts that connect with your followers, you’ll have better success. How can you help? How does your company solve an important problem? What does “Initiative Y” really mean, how does it work, and how will it impact Phil?

Now that customers are listening to you — who is listening to your clients and customers?

Do you answer your Facebook messages and comments? If so, who answers them? Do you keep a list of those most frequently asked for consistency and reference? (Hint: frequently asked questions provide excellent content opportunities!) Have you shifted the way in which you approach certain situations based on feedback you’ve received via social media? Timely, friendly responses provide an opportunity to build a relationship with a customer, and with technology comes the ability to provide a higher level of customer service than you may have previously considered.

It might seem obvious, but it’s important to note that whomever answers your social media inquiries should reflect the mission, vision and values of your company – and/or there be a process in place to ensure each remark is not only answered in a timely fashion, but answered with the best interest of both the customer and your company in mind. Are you able to personalize responses in a timely manner? How do you capitalize on leads generated through social media? Are you able to continue the conversation off-line? Do you have an autoresponder in place with alternative contact information clearly provided? In the 24/7 “always on” culture we live in, you should take some steps – even if it’s only with an autoresponder – to make sure you follow up with each incoming message.

Now more than ever, putting the “social” into your social media by showing personalities, not personas – actions, not words – builds true connections and brand loyalty in a way that used to take years of face-to-face interactions.

It’s your story; share it.