Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Tea & Tips: Advice from a PR Expert on keeping your friends and fans happy when social networking


It’s Wednesday again, which means the third post in my mini-series about sharing business and marketing tips from my PR expert friend, Rachel Burks, Managing Director of Porcupine PR -  a local PR agency that I frequently work with and where I glean lots of business and marketing tips when I visit them for a tea and a chat.  If you missed the first two posts in the series you can catch up by clicking the link here:

This week, Rachel shares some sound advice about how to keep your friends and fans happy when social networking:

Rachel: Most businesses are keen to interact with and sell their products to their followers but many don’t realise that constant promotional messages can cause a negative reaction. Social media must be viewed as a ‘social’ activity like going to a party. You don’t just talk about yourself, you listen to others, you don’t try and sell your products and services, you form a relationship, and what’s the best way to form a relationship? Be interested in your friends, fans and followers, make them laugh and be knowledgeable and informative.

Consumers will stop purchasing items from companies and unfollow them if they have an irritating online presence. Have you ever thought hard about what you’re posting on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook? Could it be seen as annoying by your existing and potential customers?  The last thing any business wants is to lose lots of followers, so back at our agency, we’ve put together some tips on how to keep your friends and fans happy and your reputation intact.

Show your personality

No one wants to follow a faceless organisation, so showing some personality behind the profile picture is a must.  We’re not saying you should become best friends with every one of your followers but it is a good idea to write in a more chatty way. Ask questions and gather opinions. Getting into conversation with your followers is important, as interaction is key.

Think quality not quantity

Too many tweets can be exhausting for the recipient. Also there is nothing worse than repeating the same message constantly. Try to focus on the important content of your status update or tweet, keep it short and sweet and if you really do have to repeat yourself, give it a few hours between posts.

Equally, over-sharing for the sake of frequency can be equally off putting.  Some things aren’t really appropriate in the context of social media, and in some cases can lead to trouble.  We’ve all heard horror stories, or seen with our own eyes, online disputes get out of hand.  A few vital moments of thought before making any post will avoid any regrettable situations.

Listen to your followers

Social media is about interaction and your customers/followers will no doubt make contact with you at some point.  Never ignore people. Thank them for their comments. If they are asking for help or complaining then you do need to get back to them in a timely manner. Respond to their queries as best you can, that way your followers will know that you care and you’re there to help. Transparency and exemplary customer service are key.

Being ignored is infuriating, we have all experienced this at some point, and your followers are more likely to hit unfollow if they feel let down by you. They are also more likely to ensure their friends and family know all about it and it is amazing how quickly a social media comment can travel around the world unchecked. Much quicker and easier than a word-of-mouth complaint - and therefore much more deadly.

Give something back

If you were asked to do something you’d want something in return. Your followers want something in return too.  If they value your brand or company they’ll happily re-tweet your tweets or share your statuses with their friends, so it’s nice to give something back every now and then.  Why not hold a giveaway or offer your Twitter or Facebook friends a special deal?  It will work in your favour as they’ll continue to share and tell everyone all about your competition or offer, bringing in new followers and customers!”

Thank you again Rachel – next week she will be sharing some Tea and Tips with me about how to do product photography, I hope you can join us.

Best wishes