Why Do I Need To Spend Time Online Chatting And Building Relationships?
This topic is one that usually elicits huge groans from the audience when I am giving a workshop on using social media to drive business.
People do not seem to have a problem with creating a business presence on social media, or posting their offers or informative blog article links, but when I mention getting on social media to chat with people or to respond to comments or items their customers find interesting, people’s eyes usually glaze over.
And believe me, I get it. Social media can be a huge time suck. Get on Facebook™ for 10 minutes with one task in mind, and before you know it, 2 hours have gone by.
So, Why Is Interacting On Social Media So Important?
Because, PEOPLE BUY FROM PEOPLE. This has been true since people first started trading and selling things, and it is still true today. Even though today people search out items, products and services, online, and look for reviews online to judge quality, honesty, and customer service, people still want to feel there is a caring person behind the business.
And if you are using social media to increase your online visibility, increase the number of people that are aware of your business, and drive new people to your website and business, then you are striving to keep you and your business top of mind. And a great way to do this is to personally engage with people so they get to “know” you, “like” you and “trust” you.
Let’s face it, whether online, on TV, via telephone, or via email and even regular mail, people are being bombarded constantly with messages intended to get them to pay attention and buy stuff. Most of us are conditioned to tune a lot of this noise out. So the question is, how do you rise above the noise and stand out?
Rise Above The Noise And Stand Out
If you are using social media for business, you are most likely posting links to great content that is of interest and value to your clients. The next step then, is to respond to all comments, likes, and shares (retweets, etc).
Just as if you are standing in front of a potential client, who says I like what you are saying, or I agree, when they do the same thing online, you need to respond. Ignoring them is the same as if you just walked away and snubbed them if they were standing in front of you. Consequently, you need to monitor your posts and thank people for liking and sharing, at the very least. And you need to do this in a timely manner.
And even more so, if they comment on one of your posts, you definitely need to respond. Beyond this, you need to engage in a conversation.
Timeliness Is Key
People will judge your interactions online as a demonstration of how doing business with you will be. And they will draw conclusions about the integrity of your company and your customer service. If you are not genuine and responsive online, even if the comment made is inconsequential in your eyes, then you will be driving business away, not only from the person actually commenting, but also those who watch and read interactions. So, it is always wise to remember the Customer Is Still King.
So what does timeliness mean? Do you have to be online every day? And for how long? I know you are thinking you are already short of time, and now I am asking you to do one more thing you don’t have time for.
Well, the answer to how often do you need to be online on the social media platform responding, depends upon the platform and the habits and expectations of the users of that platform. Facebook™ is pretty much a 24X7 platform. People are on Facebook™ all the time, many are on several times a day. So this means that if you are using Facebook™ for business, then you need to be on Facebook™ responding pretty much every day, at least during the week.
On the other hand, LinkedIn™ is a business-oriented platform where most typical users get on one to two times per week.
So people have lower expectations as to responsiveness; they are not on LinkedIn™ every day, and they do not expect you to be either. Therefore, if you get on LinkedIn™ every 3-4 days to respond, you are good to go.
So, one of the considerations on which platforms to use, besides looking at where your potential customers hang out, is to look at the time and resource requirements of the specific platform.
Establish A Regular Schedule
One final note; my suggestion is to establish a regular schedule. Be online on the specific platform at least one time each week on the same day at the same time. Announce you are going to be there. This lets people know they can count on you being there to chat “live” if they desire. The length of time does not have to be long - 15 minutes is fine. This consistency will establish trust and integrity as well.
This is the 7th article in this Questions Series of articles where I answer the most commonly asked questions I get from customers and workshop attendees.
The previous articles in this series, in case you’d like to take a look at them are:
Please let me know your thoughts and if you have questions you’d like to see addressed in this series of articles, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, engagement, consistency
Filed Under: Questions Series