Social media is all about people, connection, and relationships and as a business owner; one of the things you must do online is to have meaningful conversations. I’m not talking about speaking to someone once, saying thank you for the retweet or thank you for liking a Facebook post, it goes much deeper than that. As small business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s important to start, contribute to and engage in social media conversations so you can build trust and long-term relationships.
Open, honest and transparent two-way communication is essential if you want to be remembered for the right reasons.
20 tips for starting social media conversations the right way
- Always be respectful.
- Show you care about other people.
- Stay positive.
- Listen more than you talk. Your social media is about your community, not you.
- Don’t start selling to someone as soon as you meet them. Focus on getting to know them as a person first.
- Be personable and conversational, show your human side!
- Reach out and say hello to someone new.
- A simple thank you can create a very big impact. Take the time to thank people for sharing your content on social media or for following you on Twitter or for connecting with you on your Facebook page.
Understand your community
- Get to know and really understand your online community so you understand what they value, know the right language to use and how best to communicate with them.
- Be proactive and start conversations don’t wait until someone connects with you. Take the initiative and be the one to reach out first.
- Connect with your clients and use social media to deliver an extraordinary customer experience.
- Be where your ideal clients are online. Visit their blog or their Facebook business page, connect with them on Instagram but don’t stop there. Take the time to comment on their blog, reply or respond to a comment or post, share ideas, share opinions and always focus on adding value where you can. Take the time to get to know and to really understand who you’re connecting with.
- Reconnect with someone in your community by asking how they are or simply checking in with them.
- Talk to individual members of your community. Focus on personalising the experience rather than talking to lots of people all at once.
- Ask open-ended questions to encourage dialogue, however, make sure your questions aren’t too complex because your audience will most likely be skim reading their social media feeds. If you’re going to ask a question make it easy for them to respond in a few words. The more complex you make it, the lower your level of community engagement will be.
- Create a poll, quiz or survey. These are great conversation starters and at the same time, you’re gathering valuable insights and data from your community that can help with your social media activity and your business.
- Use Facebook Live to host interviews and Q&As or Instagram stories to connect with your audience. Facebook Live, Facebook Stories, and Instagram Stories allow you to talk directly to your community, share your story and allow others into your life. In fact, there are many different live video formats you can use. Take a look at this article by Joel Comm in Social Media Examiner, which discusses how to choose the best live video platform. There are so many different options available and there’ll be more becoming available so I suggest you try and test different platforms to see what’s right for you, your community and your business. You’ll be able to start many meaningful conversations and really increase your level of engagement online by using live video.
- Social media is about community and shared experiences so have a look to see how you can incorporate user-generated content into your social media activity. For example, you can encourage your community to share a photo of themselves using your product or service.
- Be consistent and schedule time daily to start conversations and to engage with your audience. Don’t be random with this. Be consistent and commit to spending the time building relationships online.
- Don’t copy what everyone else is doing. Your business is different and so is your online community.
Be unique and stand out from the crowd. Have social media conversations that matter.
I’d love to hear your thoughts?
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