If you search the term “Social Media Tips” on Google, you’ll get nearly 3 billion results, most of which will promise to share the secret to growing your social media following, enticing you with that ‘one thing’ that no other website can tell you (but most will tell you the same few things just with slight variations).

We get it, it’s overwhelming, there’s too much information out there and it’s impossible to know exactly what advice to follow. So today we wanted to take social media back to basics. The clue is in the name, friends. It’s social media.

Put the social back into social media

As obvious as it might sound, social media needs to be a social interaction. Forbes featured an interesting article about how social media has taught us how to talk rather than listen, and unfortunately that’s where a lot of accounts are missing out on crucial engagement. If an account is constantly shouting their agenda at their audience, they risk alienating the people they want and need to speak to most to ensure their business’s success.

Returning to the social aspect of social media means creating opportunities for conversation, which will in turn create relationships with your audience, no matter what size it is. Inviting your audience to speak to you will set your account apart from the crowd of other businesses who are spending their time simply shouting to their audience, without listening to what they have to say back.

The responses you receive from your followers can act as priceless market research and feedback on your current products and/or services. You’ll learn what their sticking points are and how your business can help; you’ll learn what they like and dislike about your current product offerings so you can refine and improve all the time; and you’ll create friends of your brand because they’ll feel like they are in a two-way conversation, and not just being told what to buy/think/do. It shows respect for your audience.

So how can you create a social community within your social media platforms?

Ask your audience questions

Whether you decide to post instagram stories with question boxes, polls, or simply asking a question in a photo caption, status update, or tweet, you’ll be inviting people to respond and tell you what they think.

Try to respond to as many of these as possible, to create a back and forth conversation with your audience. Asking a question is by far the easiest way to create social interaction, as people love to share their opinions and feel heard. All you have to do is listen and respond like you would in any conversation in person or over the phone. It’s as simple as that.

Tell relatable stories and nurture relationships

If you met someone at a party (remember parties? Good times!) you wouldn’t start the conversation by talking at this new acquaintance, telling them everything that’s great about you… hopefully. That would be awkward.

Instead, you’d ask the person about themselves, find common ground and then have an exchange of stories and experiences. A normal, human, conversation.

Keep this in mind when you’re talking to your audience. Remember they are real people, with real lives, who are reading your content, and there will be some common ground with every single one of them. So, open up the conversation by sharing stories that people can relate to, share the stories your audience and customers tell you (with permission of course) and remember the people reading your posts are all human.

It seems simple but it’s easy to forget when it’s all obscured by a screen.

Followers are more than just a number

Opening conversations on all of your social media platforms will help you increase the quality of your organic engagement more than you might think. You’ll create real relationships with the real people who follow you; they’ll be more than just a metric on a screen.

Each follower has a name, a story, a need or want for your product or service, values, and opinions; all of which are important things to know about your audience so you can provide exactly what these people are looking for, and you can feel good knowing you’ve made their lives easier or more enjoyable.

Take a look at your social media strategy today and consider how you can include more opportunities to hear from your audience, let’s make social media more than just a competition on who can shout the loudest and nurture a sense of authenticity that we all need.

 

Thank you to our guest Blogger Chantelle Davison – Choice Words By Chantelle