Back to Basics: Your Social Media Followers are People

November 28, 2012
Your social media followers are people

You already know there’s power in social media. You’ve heard it sung from the rafters at luncheons and Chamber breakfasts. Long-ago you claimed accounts on the most popular platforms. You get it. That doesn’t mean it’s easy or simple to get right.

We’ve talked before about how social media is more than simply “joining the conversation.”

Many companies are still perfecting this piece of the puzzle because for many businesses this way of thinking is new.

Back to Basics

Despite the growing understanding that there’s more to social media than first meets the eye, we still observe businesses struggle with one of the cardinal rules of even early social media: Your followers are people. Obvious, yes, but a truth often easily forgotten.

Never forget that the rules for communicating on social media are the same as for any normal interaction. Treat your social media followers the same way you would treat a customer or sales prospect in “real life.”

  • Would you ever wait days to answer an email or phone call? Respond to social media inquiries, at minimum, as promptly as traditional channels.
  • At a dinner party, would you only talk about yourself during a conversation? Of course not. What you post on social media should engage your followers the same way you would engage someone when conversing face-to-face. Avoid overly-promotional, self-centered posts.
  • If a customer approached you personally with negative feedback, would you stare at them without responding? Negative feedback on social media can be just as, if not more, powerful than traditional word-of-mouth. Shake off any frustrations about the anonymity of the Internet and respond to complaints seriously and with care.

Social media is a fairly new way to communicate but the rules for communication haven’t changed.

Your People, Your Tribe

Remember that your followers have chosen to join your tribe, your extended family. They likely want you to succeed and are rooting for you to provide them with value, just as any customer or prospect does. Respect the person behind every profile and every interaction as though your interaction takes place face-to-face. Every piece of the puzzle (strategy, execution, ROI) is easier once you have that down.

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