To post or not to post? How to woo your audience on social media
On the heels of Valentine's Day, our social inboxes and feeds were full of red hearts, roses and bold declarations of love, not necessarily from lovers and admirers but from insurance companies, car dealerships and real estate agencies, to name a few. Awkward.
Whether it is Valentine's Day, Easter, or just an ordinary working day, many businesses ritually skate the thin line between cute and cringe. We often see posts that lack thought and feel last-minute at best.
Much like the dating scene, social media has drastically evolved over the years. However, the best ways to connect with your ideal date or ideal customer haven't changed. For those who would like to get better at wooing those on their company's cupid list, here's some advice to help your efforts:
1. Be intentional
Before even opening your social calendar or scheduler, start by thinking about the purpose of your post and the strategy it fits into (spoiler alert: you should ask yourself this before you post anything ever). Who is your ideal customer? What do they like, dislike, and why would they be interested in you and what you have to offer? Have a clear reason why each piece of content is worth sharing with your beloved current and potential customers. Posting for posting’s sake is never going to deliver the best results. It might get attention, but not necessarily from the customers that your company would like to match up with. Avoid missing the mark by posting with purpose.
2. Be curious and ask questions
Date your audience by being curious and getting to know them. Ask questions. This might look like some research behind the scenes to learn more about your target customer's interests, problems they have, and questions they ask. It also might look like directly asking followers what they think via polls on Facebook, customer reviews or taking current clients out for a coffee to find out why they value your product/service. This will help you be more prepared and plan relevant content topics to talk about with your followers on social media. In your customer research, it may turn out that there are a few special days that are well worth putting into your content plan, but they may be very different to the ones you initially thought. Now you can avoid being like that last-minute valentine that gives their date red wine and a Westlife mixtape when, in fact, their true love prefers beer and Black Sabbath.
3. Get noticed by being yourself
Social media is a powerful tool for businesses to connect with audiences, boost brand awareness and increase conversions, but with many similar companies swimming in the same waters, how do you get your ideal customer to notice you? Not by being the same as everyone else and jumping on every bandwagon or trend. Be personal by being yourself. Post relevant content that communicates who you are and what value you provide. Is your post consistent with your brand values, voice and messaging? What do you want your audience to take away from viewing the post? How do you want your audience to feel? What new information would you like them to gain?
A local tyre shop asking its followers, "Will you be my Valentine?" in a social post might be an attempt for the business to connect with its customers, but if there isn't clever copy or imagery accompanying that question that links back to the company's ideal customer and the product, service or values you offer, the post may come across as being random and impersonal. Yikes.
4. Listen, honey, it's not always about you
We've all had dates or initial client meetings where the other person talks about themselves the whole time. If you want your ideal customer to feel like you exist only for them, a match made in heaven, how will you communicate with them? By not talking about yourself. All. The. Time.
Showing that you are interested in your date by listening can go a long way. The same goes with your audience on social media. Reading and replying to comments from followers that engage with your content is essential to showing affection to your beloved customers.
5. What’s your customer’s love language?
Sometimes you will want to shower your audience with affection through social content on special days, even sometimes offering a discount or giveaway. Among the dozens of other business pages posting similar messages on commemorative days and special occasions, it's essential that your content not only stands out from the crowd but is meaningful and engaging. Is the holiday or event related to your products or services in any way? Do you plan on marking the holiday or occasion with a sale or promotional event? What action do you hope to elicit from your audience?
Remember also to consider what is happening in the lives of your customers. With much of the country dealing with the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle, how appropriate was your company's Valentine’s day post? The message and the location of your customers matters here. Read the room and proceed accordingly. How can your business best present value to your target audience while being sensitive to their very real needs and concerns? Are there any current events or political situations that may impact how this post is perceived? Is this holiday inclusive? Does the holiday have a contentious history or represent values that conflict with societal or company values?
Your customers are worth pursuing and are waiting to be engaged with on social media in a way that resonates with them. Your business does not need to post content on every Hallmark holiday. However, special days that connect to your brand’s purpose can be a great way to get social. With a bit of extra care and attention, you can avoid posting for the sake of posting content and instead show your audience you truly are their perfect match.