Social media presents brands with an opportunity to reach out and engage with consumers like they have never been able to do before, but it also presents a set of challenges. Like KLM said, the “downside of facilitating an open dialogue on social media, is that you also invite public criticism.” One way a brand can ease the challenges of social media transparency, is creating relationships with followers and customers on social media.
If you’re going to form relationships with customers on social media, you have to utilize a human voice. People don’t want to talk to a logo or robot on social media, they want to engage with an actual human being. We’ve learned this over and over again but I think it’s important to reiterate because too many brands are doing this wrong, social media is not about selling your products or services, it’s about listening and being a part of conversations surrounding your brand and your industry.
When I post content to my company’s social media pages, I imagine as though I’m talking to one of my friends or my mom. My company sells beautiful jewelry, but the designer and the brand is fun and creative, so I try to maintain a tone that reflects those aspects of the brand. This perspective helps me keep my messages conversational, as opposed to sounding strictly like I’m marketing. I hope that this tone attracts the type of consumers that we want to target!
As I’ve said a million times before (and I’ll probably say a million more times!), social media is not a one-way street. Having a tone that reflects your brand is not enough, you have to actually engage with your customers. If a customer posts on our Facebook page, I try to respond immediately. Of course, as work gets hectic or if I’m not on the clock, they may not get an immediate response, but I try to get them an answer within 24 hours. It is more challenging because I’m the sole representative for the brand on social media, but I do the best I can to help our customers and let them know that they’ve been heard.
When I’ve taken to social media to praise or criticize a company, a response from that company goes a long way in ensuring that I’ll continue to use that brand. If I’m mentioning a brand online, a response shows that not only are they listening, but that they care about my opinion, and it’s always nice to feel important!