Treat Social Media as an Asset and Treat Your Followers as Friends

You’d be hard-pressed to find an organization that argues against the use of social media. Social media, in all its forms, is a powerful tool where brands get to present themselves, and those online can choose to follow brands they’re interested in.

Sprout Social’s 2023 State of Social Media survey revealed that 96% of business leaders agree that companies need to continue investing in social media marketing. With 80% of those surveyed anticipating an increase in social media budgets in the next three years, its importance is only going to grow.

Social media teams are on the front lines of customer relations, and in a 2023 survey conducted by Sprout Social, 76% of social teams said their efforts are informing other departments. But the Hootsuite 2024 Social Trends Survey revealed 34% of audiences think brands are too focused on self-promotion, and 32% indicated that brands posting low-quality content has a negative impact on how they view the brand. So, where should all of this new investment go instead?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer — all industries have different audiences, of course. But a good philosophy for your social media presence is to treat your audience as if they are your friends. That is, after all, what social media thrives on; your brand posts appear side by side with your audience’s close personal friends and family.

People on social media agree. More than half of consumers indicate they believe brands should be more relatable when posting on social media, according to the Hootsuite 2024 Marketing Trends Report. So, simply having content for the sake of content is a wasted opportunity. You’ve got a platform. What do you really want to say, and why? Hint: Russell Herder is here to help with that. In the meantime, here are a few tips to get started.

Become a member of an online community

Your social media account should become an active member of the online community in your industry. Follow other brands similar to you, customers, potential customers, and influencers related to your business. Interact with their posts, talk about big news in your industry, and offer insight as a thought leader.

Be personable

Take notes from influencers. Establishing a personality online is engaging and is the reason why good influencers succeed. Within the context of your brand, this means people can more closely identify with your company. After all, it’s often easier to relate to a real person than it is to an organization. If you’re unsure about what personality best fits your brand, find an influencer who does it well and adapt it to your brand voice. Social media is instant, and you can quickly adapt to what works and what doesn’t, which is why so many marketing departments turn to social teams for guidance.

Be available for complaints and concerns

Think of your social media as an extension of your customer service. Not only does it sour a customer when they get a boilerplate response to a concern on social media or, worse, no response at all, but it can also damage your brand for others who may see negative comments. Even if that means simply directing someone to your actual customer service — much like when a friend reaches out with an issue — sometimes people don’t want a solution; they just want to feel heard.

Be enthusiastic about your brand

If you’re going to sell, sell with enthusiasm. In the same way you encourage your friends to go see a movie that you like, encourage followers to engage with your products and services. Don’t tell them why they should like your brand — show them.

Examine your metrics for success

Don’t rely on likes and comments for measuring success. Your brand is enhanced by people seeing your presence; sometimes, they just don’t double-tap the like button. The comfort of knowing you’re there and that you respond to other people’s comments enhances a customer’s trust in you.

If you’re ever unsure of what you’re about to post, think of how your friends would react. Are you being true to your brand? In the same way that your friends can tell if you’re being authentic, your followers can too. So just have some fun, and feel free to send us a friend request — our expert teams are here to lead the way.

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