Social media has been around for a few years now. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are second nature to most marketers. Lately, I’ve been researching what it is about certain status updates, tweets and pins that grab my attention and which updates evoke a negative response. Many businesses use these online channels to directly promote their business. Often times direct promotion can lead to negative responses or can make the reader immune to your updates.
Negative Social Media Interactions
Constantly promoting your business on Facebook, Twitter and the like can leave a bad taste in your customer’s mouth. People use social media to engage with friends, find entertainment and stay current with social happenings & the latest news. They often use social media to find good deals on their favorite products. Maybe businesses offer promo codes and special online discounts for customers who follow them on Twitter or who like their Facebook page. Unless you’re looking for a one-time, short-term relationship, over promotion isn’t the way to go.
I see businesses constantly promoting their products and services on Facebook and Twitter. There’s nothing wrong with a little self-promotion, I myself use social media as a promotion tool.
The problem is if that is all you are doing.
Social media works a lot like a networking event. You stumble across someone that has said something interesting. You start talking and learn more about them. A few more moments pass, you swap business cards and go your separate ways.
When sitting behind a computer, self-promotion can feel easy. You update your status: “New product available this month that will solve all your problems.” Excellent. A job well done. Not quite.
Let’s put that same status update into the context of a networking event:
- You go up to a random individual and start talking about your business.
- Then, you tell them about your new product.
- Without listening to anything they have to say, you toss your business card at them and walk away.
Don’t forget to listen and ask questions when you’re interacting online. Simply throwing out a tweet or two isn’t going to build any solid relationships for your business. Over promotion is annoying and doesn’t hold any long-term value to a customer. Unless your business strategy is based only on deals and promotions.
Evoking an Emotional Response
A business is made up of people. Just like you and I. We have our favorite foods, TV shows and probably have completely different hobbies. Social media gives us the chance to ask people about themselves. Learn about what they like, dislike and build a friendship. Whether that friendship is online is irrelevant. They should both be treated the same way.
Constantly promoting your business without a care to person at the receiving end will likely evoke a negative response after time goes by. Either the customer will unlike your page or stop following you. There is no value in a one-sided relationship.
What types of updates can evoke an emotional response?
Tweets and status updates that evoke the most response are those that are real, timely and have value.
How can your product or service connect with your customers on a personal level? Will it solve a problem they are facing on a daily basis? Maybe you could share a customer story or a real-life situation you encountered recently. How could that problem be solved by what you are offering?
Sometimes, it’s best to leave your business completely out of the picture. Just be yourself. People don’t feel comfortable chit chatting with an account that feels like a computer or seems to be auto-generated. Talk about a current event or something that interests you that you found online. Reach out to someone you feel may be a potential customer and comment on something they may have said that interests you.
If your interactions are positive and engaging, the person will likely be curious who you are and check out your profile. (eh hem… exchange business cards).
Examples of Real Updates
Brad Frost invites others in coversation on Twitter.
Current events are great conversation starters. Being the first to mention a breaking news story on Twitter can cause some attention. Great tweets can spread like wildfire.
Another way to be current is to share media. People can connect emotionally more easily when they have a visual to go along with a message. Photos, videos and graphics can increase the likelihood that someone will share or respond to your tweet. Especially if it can make them laugh or is controversial. Try and keep things positive with any media you are sharing. Positive PR is always the goal when it comes to social media.
Examples of Timely Tweets
Bring on the Value
Sharing additional knowledge on related subjects to your field of work can improve the quality of your updates. Articles or blog posts that can educate, inspire and intrigue should be at the top of your list.
Examples of Valuable Updates
Fossil on Facebook often features new artists, artsy accessories and music above and beyond their own products.
Alaska.org on Facebook shares brilliant photographs from around Alaska to help educate those interested in visiting Alaska.
Don’t Over Promote, Engage & Listen
Think about the ways you can improve you interactions on social media channels without over promoting your business. Let loose and be yourself. People connect with people, not businesses. Keep you updates real, timely and add value to what you’re saying.