Life on the Interwebs: Creating Digital Relationships

Here at 834, we are firm believers in social media and content creation. In the world we live in, social media and online personalities are crucial to connect with audiences. But here’s the thing: everyone else thinks so, too. It is almost unheard of for a company not to have a website, Facebook page, Twitter account and beyond. Social media is no longer a trend; it’s a necessity. However, trends in the way consumers interact with companies on social media are changing.
It’s no longer enough to simply create pages and post on platforms. Consumers are bombarded with messaging from companies and organizations every day and, to be frank, they’re more prone than ever to tune it all out. Consumers are selective about who they listen to and what information they want to see when they’re surfing the web. But consumers are also increasingly using social media as a commercial resource. So how do you set your company apart in the online world?
Be a resource. Make sure the content you are sharing is relevant to your company’s identity, but also take a moment for considerations:

  • Is this information relevant to my audience?
  • How will my followers benefit from this content?

Too many companies use social media as a way to talk about themselves. Reflect on what you can offer as a benefit to a consumer – should they choose to follow you – and build your online personality from there. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if it doesn’t entertain or enlighten, you should probably reconsider it.
Be genuine. While sharing content is wildly important, it’s too easy to “set it and forget it.” If you only use your platforms to push out content, cross your fingers and hope for the best, your followers will notice… and not in a good way. Followers like to see authenticity. One way to do this is to create your own content. By posting original writing pieces on your social platforms you are able to share your company’s voice. Blogging is a fun way to communicate with audiences. It provides the opportunity to position your company as an opinion leader on relevant topics. Need some motivation or a place to start? See what Kim Bode has to say about blogging life.
Utilize two-way communication. Make sure you listen to your audience. This is one of the wonderful things about social media: the ability for actual conversation with consumers. Go beyond simply sharing and actually engage with your followers. Encourage your followers to use direct messaging on social media platforms. Then, be sure to follow up with a sincere response. Consumers are increasingly leaning toward companies that have a human side. Show your company’s personality by contributing to online discussions about hot topics. If you initiate discussion, you have the advantage of influencing the conversation’s tone. It’s time to utilize the ability to have two-way communication with your audience.
Build consumer advocacy. Social media provides ample opportunity for third-party endorsement. We all know that advertisements from a company are never as valuable to consumers as word-of-mouth recommendations from a trusted source. The more your loyal followers are talking about you in their own social circles, the more your name is spread and therefore, the more impressions are made. But we all know the definition of “word-of-mouth,” so how do we actually make it happen? This builds from the previous suggestion: creating two-way communication. Provide ways for your followers to talk about you (in a positive light). Another method to create buzz is to offer actual incentive to followers for mentioning/talking about you. Make use of the magic of hashtags.
Takeaways: be proactive, not reactive. If we haven’t made it clear enough, being genuinely engaged with your audiences on social media platforms is crucial to a successful online presence. Your first focus should be on giving followers a reason to follow. Have authentic, valuable and relevant insights to share. Your next focus should be on developing conversation with your followers. With the continuous upkeep of these efforts, you can build a mutually beneficial online relationship with a loyal (and growing) consumer base.

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