Social Media: a Two-Way Street

Thinking of outsourcing your social media? Sounds like a great idea, right? But how effective can an external agency be at representing your brand and generating a return on your investment?

A lot of small businesses get social media very wrong. This goes for those managing their own social media as well as those who outsource to an external company.

I follow lots of businesses on Twitter who I see tweeting the same content over and over again. Tweets seem to generate little, if any, engagement. But why would they? Who would want to strike up conversation with someone who's tweeting ten to fifteen times a day about themselves or promoting their own content.

Remember that person you got stuck with at that networking event who wouldn't stop talking about themselves and barely let you get a word in edge-ways? That person who talked at you, repeating their sales pitch over and over? How likely are you to approach them at the next event and strike up a conversation? Exactly. You're more likely to give them a wide berth and if you could mute them in real life, not just on Twitter, you probably would.

Twitter isn't the only platform where I see this happening. There are companies on Facebook and LinkedIn too who only post about themselves.

Trouble is, any social interaction, whether it's online or in-person, requires a two way stream of communication for a relationship to form and grow. Relationships require give and take. Sure, you can let your network know about things you're involved in, your good news and what you've been up to, but you also need to give something back.

Recommend someone who you know, like and trust on LinkedIn. Reply to that request for help in that Facebook group you normally just broadcast to. Thank that person for their mention or retweet on Twitter (as a real person, not using some faceless automated service - it's so obvious and so impersonal).

If you're using an external agency to post updates and tweets for you, you need to make sure you're still there to take care of the engagement side of things if your agency doesn't do this for you.

Set time aside each day to check in on social media platforms, join in discussions, like people's updates, say congrats, offer advice, be social. It's not rocket science, but if does take time and a commitment that I think small businesses can struggle with.

Like with any relationship (and any marketing activity for that matter), you get out of it what you put into it. If you do the minimum you can't expect a lot in return. And no one makes friends with robots, so be genuine and be yourself.

If you'd like to discuss your current social media strategy, I'd love to help, so feel free to get in touch.