This is part six of Boom’s guide to social media for business, where we’re going to look at what you should be saying if you want to successfully engage your audience.  Read parts one, two, three, four and five to learn about getting set up on the right channels, with a great strategy in place.

So your social media profiles are up and running, you’ve got a strategy in place, and you’ve accumulated a small pool of likes and followers – but how can you promote yourself? What should you say if you want people to care?

Let’s talk about me…

Talking about your company is probably the first thing that comes to mind when most people think: what should I post on my business social profiles?

And to an extent, this is right. This is your company’s profile and you need to ensure it reflects that. When something good happens, let your following know. Is it your work Christmas party? Enjoying a cake for someone’s birthday? Something weird and wonderful going on outside the window? Get the camera out, take a picture, and share it.

Genuine fans will want to get a glimpse inside your company, and sharing photos of company-shindigs is the perfect way to do this.

Just take a look at this photo of the Boom team on their last birthday:

 boombday

On the average day, our Facebook page isn’t overly active, but this photo of us seemed to hit some sort of positive nerve because it got 29 likes (about half of our total ‘likes’ at the time) and a few comments too.

The same goes for if you’ve won an award or something else super-exciting’s happened. Have you been featured in a newspaper? Moved offices? Taken on a new member of staff? Introduced a super-cool new product or service? Please tell us about that too!

idontalwaysclickunlike

However……

While I say all that – try not to dominate your social media channels with me, me, me. Fans want to get a glimpse behind-the-scenes of your company; there’s no doubt about that. But there’s a limit.

As the name suggests, ‘social media’ is all about being social. And it’s never very social to talk about yourself all the time.

How are you talking about yourself?

There are two key ways most people talk about themselves on social, and there’s a big difference between them.

The first is the one we’ve just discussed: sharing pictures and news about the goings-on in your firm. The second involves promoting your company and your products or services.

While one shows fans your human side, the other is a thinly veiled attempt at using social space to advertise.

 

I see this often across all social networks. Every new post is either about what they do, or one of their products. In fact, I’ve unfollowed a couple of businesses in the past because every single tweet was about what they do and why they’re so great, with a link to their website. Who cares?! Nobody. It’s really, really boring.

The odd update about a new product or service? Fine. Just launched a sale or decided to offer a discount code? Great – tell us about that. But please, please, don’t do this every single time you post an update.

onedoesnotsimplybuy

Let’s talk about your customers…

The secret to being successful on social media is engaging your audience. If you can get people responding to what you post you will naturally increase your social reach, and an engaged fan is one that’s most likely to choose you when they need what you offer.

Rather than going through lots and lots of ideas for engaging your audience, I’d recommend you have a read of these posts:

14 Awesome Ideas for Super Awesome Business Facebook Posts

13 Ideas for Interesting, Engaging, and Just Plain Awesome Tweets for Business

However, most of the ideas can be adapted and used on other social networks.

To summarise the above posts, in most cases, asking questions:

 nakedwines

Being funny:

innocent

Or hosting a mini-quiz:

wowcher

Work very, very well!

The most important thing to remember is just to never, ever, forget that social media is all about being social! If, when you’re posting an update, you remind yourself that the goal of this update is to be social and to get people interacting with you, you should do okay.

Let’s talk industry…

The above rules apply to both B2B and B2C social media campaigns; however, in B2B you can usually get away with talking about yourself a little more, and you’ll probably want to make industry-talk a prominent feature on your pages too.

In B2B social campaigns you’ll probably want to try and gain some traction as a bit of an ‘authority’ figure; a ‘go-to’ in your industry.

Some of the best ways to do this are:

  • Share industry news and articles of interest
  • Write your own blog posts about industry related issues
  • Interact with people in a way that demonstrates your knowledge – e.g. seek out questions to answer

However, B2B campaigns don’t have to be all ‘business’ – you can still have a little fun with them and show that you’ve got a personality.

Just remember that behind every customer is a real person, with interests than span beyond your industry and your company. If you really want to get (and keep) these people engaged, you need to find out what things make them tick, and try to incorporate these things into your posts.

If you’re in need of a little more inspiration, I’d recommend taking a look at these excellent B2B Facebook pages:

Salesforce

American Express OPEN

Either way……

My key point is that whether you’re B2B or B2C, you shouldn’t be using your social profiles as a sales pitch.

Sales are a natural knock-on effect of an effective social media campaign. Constantly shoving your products or services in your fan’s faces is not the best route to get people to buy.

One BIG Rule:

Don’t ignore your audience!

Take a look at the Facebook page for Yo Sushi. The stuff they post is overall, really, really good. However, if you look a bit more deeply, you’ll see that they rarely actually engage with their fans.

Take a look at this:

yosushi

They ask a question, lots of people answer, and Yo Sushi respond to them with……. nothing. Not very social is it?

Because Yo are such a big brand, people will flock to their page and interact with them anyway. They can get away with it (not that I’m advocating what they do). But for small brands, you simply cannot afford to post updates, and not follow up when people respond.

Engage your audience. Talk to them. Make them smile. They’ll begin to think of you and your brand differently. They will feel they have an actual relationship with you, and what will happen? They will come to you, without hesitation, when they need what you offer.

However, even with the most engaging and original ideas in the world, social media for business isn’t always smooth sailing. In part seven we’ll be looking at what to do when customers use social media to air their grievances with you publicly.