Do you still have sweaty palms about social media? You aren't alone. In fact, if more people felt comfortable and confident writing about their business online and on social media, it's fair to say I'd be out of a job.
That said, while writing for your audience isn't easy, it doesn't have to be overly complicated. Like every relationship worth nurturing, it starts with a simple, yet subtle, call to action. Here are five.
Let's start with the basics. Introducing yourself on social isn't a one-time thing. People are continually joining and leaving conversations, and it's easy to forget the basics when it comes to making sure your fans feel Seen and Heard. If you want your followers to learn more about your business, you have to show that you are equally curious about them.
Action Step: Respond directly to individual fans in comment threads with a question or occasionally address followers as a whole with how grateful you are for their involvement in your brand.
Compare these two sentences: "Here's what you should do." and "Have you thought about this?"
One is a directive. One is an invitation. And one definitely sounds better. As you dive into blogs, social media, and web content, embrace the art of inviting. To invite is to share an experience, but it also implies an active choice on the part of your readers. The strength of your campaign isn't the number of people who "like" you; it's the number of people who engage with you. The goal of your content is to make the decision to join and engage an easy one.
Action Step: If you want to know what your fans and followers think, all you have to do is ask them.
"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart," said Nelson Mandela. Whether you are struggling with employee retention or consumer interest, engaging a social media audience is a lesson in patience, empathy, and awareness. And also hardcore data. How well are you talking to your audience? How well are you listening? What makes them respond? Your analytics will tell you a few things if you engage an open mind when you read them; chances are you'll find a few things that surprise (and maybe frustrate) you.
Action Step: The challenge of engagement usually stems from the discordance between what you want to say and what your audience wants to hear. This isn't a lost battle; it's a drawing board. Engage in an open-minded process of trial-and-error, and you'll eventually find a "language" that works.
As a lover of words, I keep "delight" in my back pocket at all times. Try to say it out loud with a straight face. I dare your eyes not to twinkle and the corner of your lips not to creep upward. Delight is a good word and a wonderful feeling. Wouldn't it be great if people associated your brand with all things good and wonderful?
I get it. This sounds awfully warm and fuzzy to a professional sector that must always appear calm collected, and polished. To delight doesn't always mean to entertain or to charm; sometimes it means giving someone what they want in a way that is better than expected.
Action Step: In the social and digital realm, you can delight your clients with thorough content that addresses their needs clearly while building confidence in your brand. In other words, if you don't let them down, the only way to go is up.
Cats and curiosity aside, make a promise to yourself to never stop discovering. With social you have so many ways to both inform your audience and also understand how your product or service affects the people who use it. When fostered correctly, you both discover information and a community around your business, one that is just as excited to teach as to learn. After all, to discover is to learn, and to learn is to grow. And isn't growth the reason your business is on social in the first place?
Action Step: Pull back the curtain once in a while with behind-the-scenes images. Remember, the face of your brand isn't your logo; it's your people.
This list includes some of my favorite social media action verbs. You'll notice that words like "Sell" and "Promote" didn't make the cut, and there's a reason for that. While selling on social can be a part of your overall strategy, I believe it is most effective when the other pieces are