I’m a bit of an introvert.
That means I’d rather text than call, stay in than go out, and order wine delivered to my house without going to the liquor store. Sometimes, that behavior can transcend into my social media habits.
Posting content is the easy part; dealing with what comes next can be a bit more of a challenge. Comments, shares, even likes sometimes merit engagement back with those who see your content.
But when you’re a small business, there’s power to engaging with your customers. It’s what puts the “social” into social media and humanizes the experience, for everyone. You don’t exactly have the option to not engage, but you’ll quickly find it’s what makes your business stronger.
Building Customer Relationships
A solid customer relationship goes past a transaction and can last a long time. Have you ever been brand loyal? That’s exactly what you want out of a customer relationship, and with the advent of social media, it’s easier than ever to build that kind of connection.
When a customer comments on a post, especially if it’s positive, you always want to respond in gratitude. You don’t have to do a whole song and dance—a simple “Thank you so much!” or similar can suffice—but at the end of the day, you always want to acknowledge them. Just like you would in real life!
While it’s true engagement can lead to exposure for your business’s social channels, you should prioritize your customer’s experience before yours. Engagement may make you look good and opens up all those opportunities for your audience to grow, but you should approach it with a sensibility that puts the customer first.
Grow Your Brand, Grow Your Reach
…Okay, yeah: engagement does do wonders for your social accounts, and leaping on every opportunity to engage makes you seem like a master at customer experience, but of course, it all does wonders for your social media standing too.
Algorithms on social media are designed to respond to all kinds of engagement, pushing your content to the top of whatever feed it appears on. That’s why it’s so imperative to not let your customers’ comments go unacknowledged. You may miss your chance to make it to the (literal) top!
Engagement helps boost your reach in such a way that you almost want to beat yourself up for not doing it sooner. In fact, for Instagram, “[t]he order of photos and videos in your feed [is] based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post,” which is unfair if you’re small fry (or bad at social media)… but great if you know what you’re doing!
What Goes Around, Comes Around
I’d like to think I have great manners. I always remember my pleases and thank yous, and have been told I’m obnoxious because I say “Pardon?” instead of “Excuse me?” when I mishear something. At least I’m obnoxiously polite!
Now I’m not saying the point of engagement is that you always want to be polite to customers, or that it’s even about manners at all, but getting into the practice of engaging with people on social media comes as easily as remembering your pleases and thank yous.
Similarly, always expressing your gratitude in comments and always being ready to listen to customers’ concerns requires a certain kind of composure and attitude being polite brings. What’s more, if a customer is asking a question or is commenting something that necessitates a response, it may come off as rude if you were to ignore them.
Social media engagement isn’t rocket science, and unless you’re particularly adverse to using social media, it won’t be much of a challenge either. Just remember that engagement is a win-win: your customers are loved and recognized, your business is loved and recognized, and that building of customer relationships will set your business’s success in stone.