It’s no secret the Internet plays an enormous role in today’s communications. Without sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and countless others, it’s hard to imagine where we’d be as a society. Many argue we’d be in a better place due to the addictive nature and questionable content that gets shared through these platforms. But while each site has its pros and cons, there’s no denying they’ve altered the shape of society and how we interact forever.
Social media is a powerful tool. People spend hours on social networks daily. Personally, I start my day getting caught up on news and events via my Twitter feed. It’s replaced watching the news on television as I decided to “cut the cord” and eliminate a major bill that was bringing little value to my life. Overall, social media has helped me stay in touch with people from my past I probably would’ve lost track of, as well as connect with thought leaders, role models, brands, and like-minded individuals on a daily basis.
For brands, as well as individuals looking to enhance their personal brand, social media provides the ultimate platform for building authority within your niche. However, there is a right way to do that. And wherever there’s a right, there’s a wrong you want to avoid. Below are some rights and wrongs that will help you leverage social media platforms for growing your brand and establishing authority within your niche.
WRONG: Talk About Yourself Constantly – If you were at a party and you interjected yourself into a conversation by doing nothing but talking about yourself, how would that make you look? Pretty vain, right? Social media operates the same way. Yes, it can be a tremendous platform to promote what you have going on. From product launches, brand updates, and new information, you can communicate these points with your audience. But you have to get them captivated first. They have to trust you. How do you do that, you ask? Keep on reading.
RIGHT: Be a Resource For Your Industry – No matter what industry you’re in, you’re in it because you believe in it and you’re passionate about it. And your audience is there for the same reasons…they just don’t have your level of expertise. But they’re clamoring to learn more. This is where you come in. Be the resource they’re looking for. Use social media to join conversations about your niche, answer questions, provide valuable information that solves your audience’s problem. When you do this with consistency, they’ll see you as someone who they can trust and, by extension, someone they feel comfortable investing money and loyalty in.
WRONG: All Take, No Give – If you are using social media solely to express why people should be spending money on whatever it is you’re offering, chances are you’ll be tuned out unless you literally have a proven, earth-shattering solution to one of life’s problems. People are inundated literally hundreds of times a day through social media, email, radio, and television about things that will help them lose weight, save money, be a better person, fly, etc, etc. If you’re adding to that endless sea of offerings and “life-changing” solutions, chances are you’re going to get lost in the shuffle.” Unless you actually do have a way to help people fly. Then you may be onto something.
RIGHT: Share Content Relevant to Your Industry – Human beings are avid learners. With information so readily available in today’s on-demand world, gathering knowledge is easier than it’s ever been. When people gravitate towards something they care about, they’re going to consume as much information as they can to understand the subject at hand. And if they’ve made it clear they want to know more about your industry, be that source of info for them. Share content through your social platforms, whether you created the content yourself via blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc. or you came across something created by someone else that will help your audience. The more people turn to you because you’re providing them information they seek, the more loyalty they’ll have in your brand as a whole.
WRONG: Not Responding to Comments, Whether Negative or Positive – I’ve seen it done countless times and I shake my head every time: A consumer takes time to share their thoughts on their experience with a business on social media, whether it be positive or negative, and the business provides no response. These are golden opportunities to enhance relationships! If the experience/feedback was positive and someone takes time to tell you about it, THANK THEM FOR DOING SO. Let them know you can’t wait to exceed their expectations upon their next visit. If the experience/feedback was negative, find out what you can do to make things right and have this conversation on the thread in plain sight. This has two effects: 1) It shows others you care and are doing your best to rectify the situation, and 2) it gives you a golden opportunity to learn so you can improve business practices and not make the same mistake again.
ALSO WRONG: Deleting Negative Comments – Don’t. Just…don’t. See above for what to do with negative comments.
RIGHT: Converse – Let’s say you own a store and a customer walks in and says “Hello!” Instead of responding “Hello!” or “Welcome to our store,” you say absolutely nothing. The customer is going to think you’re rude as hell. This is the same as not responding to comments and questions through your social media channels. People are asking you questions because they care about your answer. Take the time to reach out and give them what they seek. It’s a great opportunity to showcase how much you know about your niche, as well as spark a conversation that could lead to many great developments for you and your brand.