I’m sure it started as something no one else really wanted to do. Social media became one of the day-to-day responsibilities of the assistant editor I eventually replaced. I took over half-heartedly, following her instructions by the book.
Using Facebook and Twitter for a corporate brand is nothing like using them personally, I quickly discovered. Sure, the mechanics are the same, but the voice, the tone, the personality, and the matter of authenticity are entirely different.
As I became accustomed to posting in my Health.com voice, responding to curious users, and monitoring the requests and complaints of devoted customers, I began to take ownership for Health.com in the social space. Social media is no longer something I have to do, it’s something I like to do, and in an office where using social media beyond the bare minimum is still relatively new, I’ve become somewhat of a makeshift guru.
Which is why I had the opportunity to attend #LikeableU Class of 2011 – The Social Media Movement, a day-and-a-half-long conference hosted by Likeable Media. Go-to social media gal in the office or not, in a room full of business and industry leaders who consider social media a movement, I’m a wallflower. I soaked in as much as possible, but found the following points to be the most influential, the most accessible, and the most easily implemented.
- Listen. Users don’t want marketing messages and sales pitches in their Facebook newsfeeds. Listen to what they are talking about and genuinely join in the conversation.
- Respond to everyone. Acknowledging positive comments can further the process of establishing brand loyalty, and addressing the problems in negative comments can turn a nonbeliever into a fan.
- Affirm users’ worth. Trey Pennington delivered a moving anecdote about a social user, who, upon receiving a response from a company replied, “I didn’t think anybody noticed.” Users want to be acknowledged, they want to realize you are listening.
- Write headlines with the four U’s. Attention-grabbing (and SEO-friendly) headlines are useful, urgent, unique, and ultra-specific.
- Take good care of your fans and followers. Geno Church’s presentation on brand ambassadors was one of my favorites of the conference. I don’t know if he was being modest when he said the following quote is a southern thing or if it’s one of his own thoughts, but this really resonates with me: “Be famous for the people who love you for the way you love them.”
- Be human. Social is often centered on technology, but remember the person behind the technology. Focus on the people and the relationships. Jeff Stier put it best: There is a lack of human touch in the digital world and therefore a hunger for realness.
- Listening takes teamwork. To be able to listen and respond to everything everyone is saying about your brand on social networks, more than one person should be involved. Integrating listening into more people’s day-to-day makes the task more manageable.
- Think like the user. What are their various intentions on the different social media platforms? Would you like to receive the message you are about to post?
As Dave Kerpen so succinctly summed up his new book, Likeable Social Media, the four most important things to remember are to listen, to be transparent, to respond, and to be likeable. We could all stand to follow those rules, both online and off.