Social media is an ever-evolving beast. When you think you may have nailed it, an algorithm change or staffing change can completely derail your progress. The trick to finding long-term success online is not about your tools or your posting cadence, or the amount of engagement. Those can be important pieces of the puzzle, but it should boil down to this: How are you building relationships through social media?
What does it mean to build relationships through social media?
Engagement numbers or follower count can’t easily quantify a relationship. What matters is that you’re reaching the right people and adding value on a consistent basis. The goal with any social media platform should be to build a relationship that extends beyond your platform. Are they clicking on your content? Watching your videos? Following you to other platforms and signing up for your email list?
These are all important to long-term success. A smaller audience that cares about your content is so much more valuable than a large audience that is indifferent.
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How do you do it, though?
I know, I made it sound easy to find an audience that cares about your content. The truth is, it’s probably the most challenging thing you have to do in publishing. If everyone could do it, we’d all be inundated with content that was relevant to us. We know that is not the case.
So how do you do it?
Show up consistently
You have to be there in order to build connection. This means that huge gaps in posting, a lack of engagement, and otherwise ghosting your social channels is going to make it hard to talk to people.
There aren’t a lot of hard and fast rules on social media. In fact, almost everything is merely a suggestion. The one thing that matters a LOT is that you stay present.
At the risk of being too specific here, staying present means that you post fresh content regularly. It means that you engage with your audience, like comments, and listen to their responses. Going weeks or even days without posting can crush your engagement and reach rates.
This word has been co-opted by Instagrammers, but ultimately, it means that you need to be yourself. Give up on the social media aethetics and lies. Tell the truth, show people behind the scenes footage, and make mistakes.
There is a reason platforms like Be Real are skyrocketing. The days of a perfectly curated feed are gone. People distrust the media, they don’t trust social media, and the only way to combat this is by sharing as much of your process as possible and being transparent.
A little bit of authenticity goes a long way. Let them get to know you, your brand, your staff, and your mission. It’ll go a long way in building a connection.
This is probably the most important. You need to listen more than you speak. Listen to trends, your audience, the news, social media platforms shifts, and your internal data.
Listening doesn’t always mean jumping on every trend or responding to every pushback and praise. However, relationships are a two-way street. As in any other interaction, building relationships through social media requires listening and speaking. Here are some ways to listen:
- Are you paying attention to what your audience has to say? Read your comments and emails. Know how they are responding to what you are putting out.
- Check the data. If your engagement numbers are consistently declining, there’s probably a disconnect between you and your audience. It’s your job to figure out where it is.
- Know what is happening in the world. Holidays. Major news events. Wars. There are many reasons you should understand the context in which your content may be received.
- Understand the technology. What are the platform’s priorities? If they’re video-focused and you are consistently dropping links into your feed, they are eventually going to stop paying attention to you. You need to know enough to keep up.
Once you get the information and understand how people feel about your content and the context in which they are receiving it, you will have to make some decisions.
Learn from them
You should use this information to inform your content selection and posting. Some questions you should ask yourself:
- Is this in line with our mission as a business?
- How is this serving my audience?
- What does the data tell me about my posting cadence?
- How heavily am I weighing engagement/post sentiment?
- How am I serving my audience on each platform?
The end goal: Long term relationships that transcend platform
Suppose you consistently serve high-value content, engage with your audience, and use a multi-platform approach. In that case, you are well on your way to building a relationship that will last.
If you need help, True Anthem is here for you. We can lighten the posting load, help you analyze your data, and set you up for success. Let us help you focus on what matters. Sign up for a demo today.