Are you leaving low hanging fruit on the table? Are you missing opportunities to encourage your current customers, fans or audience to start conversations with you online, thus promoting your brand to their own networks in the process?
In this episode, we cover two inter-related topics: the importance of displaying your handles *everywhere* your audience is and the vital role that engagement plays in creating and managing a beneficial social media program.
Never forget — social media is not a tool to speak TO the people. It’s a tool to speak WITH the people. The goal is to have conversations and to build relationships.
Full Episode Transcript
Today we’re going to cover 2 inter-related topics: 1) the importance of displaying your handles everywhere you audience is. And 2) the vital role that engagement plays in creating and managing a beneficial social media program.
So let’s jump right in.
There’s a restaurant in Madison where, after you order, they hand you a number to place on your table so they can bring you your food. Pretty standard operating procedure for a lot of restaurants. BUT on the back of the number they hand you, they’ve printed their social handles. It’s amazing too me how few restaurants take advantage of such precious real estate.
Do you think that diners are going to be more or less likely to post about a restaurant when the restaurant’s handles are right there in their face, as they are captive audiences, waiting for their food.
You don’t need to be a restaurant to learn from this simple social hack. Are there opportunities your brand is missing to turn your offline customers or audience into online fans?
If you’re in a band, invite your fans to connect you on social. No one is going to care more about what you post on Monday morning than the person who came out to see you on Saturday night.
If you run a brick and mortar store, display your handles near the door, near the cash register and on any other spaces you think will speak to your customers.
I’m blown away when I see packaging from big companies that doesn’t mention the company’s social handles.
There’s no one you more want to connect with online than the folks you are already connecting with you offline. They are your base. Your foundation. Your community. Putting your handles everywhere you are already connecting with them helps to move that community to connect with you online as well as off. And when they do so, you have helped facilitate your big fans -- your current customers -- to easily tell their own networks about you, and how much they love you, in the process.
If you hand out paperwork, send out physical products or distribute anything, put your handles on it! If you print t-shirts or bumper stickers or hats, put your handles on them.
If you have a brand hashtag, include that as well.
If people visit your location, whether it’s a brick and mortar store, a restaurant, a non-profit or anything else, display your handles loudly and proudly.
I also recommend putting up a sign encouraging people to “check in” on Facebook. You can offer incentives — a free drink or a bumper sticker for anyone who does so — but to be honest, for a lot of folks, just being asked will be enough encourage to get them to pull out their phones and tell their friends where they are right now. And when they check in, their networks will see those notifications. And the Facebook algorithm will get excited and start pinging away on your behalf.
Never forget — social media is not a tool to speak TO the people. It’s a tool to speak WITH the people. The goal is to have conversations and to build relationships. It’s fine if you are starting the conversations you are having with your community. But it will be waaaay better for you when members of your community are starting the conversations with you instead. Displaying your handles is one of the surest ways available to encourage them to do so. And it costs you nothing.
Caveat: this is true whether or not you display your handles, but ESPECIALLY if you do — you need to be monitoring your social channels and making sure that when folks do tag you, thus starting a conversation, they aren’t then going on to be ignored by you.
You HAVE to speak back. Sometimes a like is all their comment requires. Responses are better though, even if just to say thanks. We’ll do another episode soon on dealing with trolls and difficult questions, but at the least, take advantage of the low hanging fruit right in front of you — the positive comments and the simple questions your audience is asking (do you have a gluten free option? What are your hours?)
If you could monitor your social channels constantly, that would be great! But let’s be realistic, you probably can’t. And that’s okay. Set reminders on your phone or put a post-it note above your desk as a way to remind yourself to check your notifications. At minimum: check them once a day. More is better, but I’d rather you do it once a day consistently than fail trying to do it 3 times a day.
People will be fine with a lag in conversation of a few hours. They’ll likely even forgive a full day passing before getting a response. But any more than that and the window will have closed. You will be trying to converse with someone who has already moved on to the next thing.
Don’t let the low hanging fruit elude you. Post your handles anywhere your community is. And when they talk to you, talk back! A like or a quick thank you costs you nothing and they go a long way towards letting the people that matter to your brand know that you aren’t trying to talk at them, rather you see them as an integral part of your community.
And really, what could be more social than that?!
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