When I was a child, my parents told me, “it’s rude to talk about yourself.” I of course responded by staring mutely at anyone who asked me how I was doing for the next month…and left confused and disappointed when they inevitably walked away muttering to themselves about what a rude kid I was.
The issue was clarified, and I was eventually granted permission to answer questions about myself and even to elaborate briefly if I felt my answer was interesting (which of course I always did), but encouraged to also ask my conversation-mate a question about him/herself in response. My world was forever changed.
Many companies today could use a good talking-to from my parents when it comes to social media. Instead of engaging with followers and fans, their pages are strewn with post after post and tweet after tweet about one subject…themselves. What inevitably follows is a whole mess of “likes,” but a head-scratching lack of ROI. They’re the person at the party who bounces from group to group because nobody can stand him for too long. You may have a bunch of fans, congratulations…but research shows they are ignoring you.
Let’s Talk About You
Should you talk about your products, home office activities, and promotions on social media? Absolutely! Just remember to ask yourself… “do my customers care about this?” If there is no engagement (“likes” “comments” “retweets” or replies) then nobody cares. Shift your focus to your fans. Why not ask your customers how your products make their lives better? Why not ask what products they’d like to see from you in the future? Why not publicly recognize some of your most loyal customers and thank them? They're just as eager to talk about themselves as you are, so let's put them to work. You’ll find that when the conversation shifts back to your audience, engagement inevitably improves.
It’s Weird to Talk to Yourself
So your Facebook post on Wednesday had 20 “likes” and 3 “comments.” That’s awesome! Way to go, bro! But, let’s take a quick look at who's doing the liking and commenting. If more than 75% of them are from home office employees, you’re not engaging the right people…and we need to reevaluate what we’re posting. If your goal is to engage your staff, save some time and money and just send an “all company” email because it’s quicker and will actually reach 100% of your employees vs. the 33% that will see the post on Facebook. It’s great when staff members are active on social media, now have them amplify your company’s posts…and reach your actual customers.
My parents were trying to teach me a subtle lesson about conversational balance…to help me not turn into a 30-year-old, ego-centric, blowhard. What would your parents tell you about your social media? Are you only talking to yourselves or about yourselves? What do your customers actually want to hear? The only way to know is to listen to YOURSELF and to listen to THEM…a topic which will be discussed in our next installment.