Succeeding with Social Media Dialogue

By now, most businesses have accepted social media is not going anywhere. In fact, social media is becoming more prevalent and ingrained in the daily lives of clients and consumers.

Statistics regarding usage and population are easily found, including how many people make purchases online. One significant statistic is the highest percentage of social media users, ages 18 – 34, also have the most buying power. And where do they go for reviews and company information? That’s right, social media.

Businesses have known this for awhile, which is why there are innumerable B2C and B2B companies with Facebook pages, LinkedIn presences and Twitter/Instagram feeds. As the marketing adage states, go where the people are. Yet, despite being where the people are, only 39 percent say they are receiving medium ROI from organic posts and only 20 percent state they receive highest ROI from this form of marketing.

Advertising on social media

If social media is where 4.2 million people are spending their free time and getting their purchasing recommendations, why are those ROIs not higher?

Simple. Companies are using social media like an advertising channel and not as it is designed. Unlike television, radio and print, social media is built on a platform of socialization. Bet you couldn’t see that one coming from the name. And this is where most companies fail in their conversions.

Businesses spend money for social media managers, writing attention grabbing copy and set a publishing schedule like they would purchase a television ad. Except social media is not advertising to a passive audience that is sitting on a couch or in a car.

Watching the right metric

Some companies watch the analytics produced by each platform, focusing on impressions while still thinking about the numbers game of marketing: More exposure equates to the power of three and having your brand come to mind when it’s time to buy. In fact, promoting posts is based on spending money with the idea of increasing impressions.

But impressions is not the metric where conversions reside.

The more important metric to follow on social media is engagement. Social media is based on how much liking and conversation follows from a post. Most people use social media to learn something new, and creating dialogue builds interpersonal interest in a topic.

Avoid automation

Does that mean send out automated DMs thanking for follows, or publishing the follow/unfollow stats to prove popularity? No. Let me rephrase that: NO. Social media is not a numbers game. It’s a networking game. It’s a chance to strengthen brand awareness, initiate thought leadership, create value statements and build a curiosity about your company.

I am in favor of using third party apps to manage and publish posts on a schedule. But that should be the foundation on which dialogue, engagement and interaction with your clients should rest.

Just like local SEO and replying, if you are not engaging with the people who follow you on social media, you are shutting your door on customers. So next time you publish a post, try asking a question instead of stating a fact. Create a poll rather than a statement. Engage with your customer base rather than picking a play from the tv marketing playbook. Seek out what they have to say.

Why? You might learn something about your customer you didn’t know. And I bet the 20 percent of companies who are receiving their highest ROAS are engaged with their customers. They’re probably engaged with your customers, too.