Back to basics. Putting the social back into social media.

It’s surprising to see how many corporate social media accounts have hit a plateau. These online communities are no longer growing and very little engagement is happening, even as the company posts content to their platforms on a regular basis.

I have been guilty of this myself. While managing PR for clients, I neglected the Thexton PR Twitter and Instagram communities, only posting content when I found a few minutes and leaving it at that. A couple weeks ago, after providing advice to a client, I went back to my own business social media communities computer-1185626_640and spent days truly invested in in the social element. I decided to practice what I was preaching. The results spoke for themselves as numbers grew and engagement increased quickly.

Through authentic conversations, responding to other people’s content, that resonated with our work, following and re-posting content from various community members, I stopped being the one talking about ME ME ME and returned to a balanced dialogue where I was hearing others and relating to what they were saying. I put the “social” back into my social media communities.

Here are some reminders we all need sometimes:

  • Don’t be the person in the room talking endlessly about yourself. You likely wouldn’t do it in person so why do it within your online communities?
  • Listen—It is amazing what you can learn and conversations that come from truly listening to your online community. Have meetings devoted to improving your online listening just like you meet and prepare editorial calendars based on content you want to share about yourself and your industry.
  • Follow new people with great ideas. Often we focus on who is following us and how many followers we have. When we start to focus more on who we are following and listening to online, it’s amazing how conversations flourish and community grows.
  • Show some transparency and some of the unexpected, even if it’s not always positive news. We have a way of sharing the best of who we are and what we do, giving the impression that we live and work in a utopia without mistakes or regrets. When we are honest and share some of the challenges we face and mistakes we have made, people can relate. This is also a great way to share what we learned during a rough patch and how a mistake turned into an inspirational recovery. This is real and people will respond to real.
  • Not just a number. Sometimes we get so involved in latest stats, strategies and creative ideas that we forget simple human nature and that the numbers we speak of are individuals with opinions, ideas, needs and feelings. Remember when you speak of number of followers, you are in fact referring to individuals. Often its simple communication, based on respect, a listening ear and sprinkled with your creativity and what you do best, that will result in awesome online connections.
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