In my previous article, I wrote about the importance for your brand to tell your story through social media. For your brand to do this effectively, it will not only take a social media presence from your corporate brand, but it also will take a presence in social media from your employees and leadership. People not only want to connect with you as a brand, they want to connect with a person. And more importantly, with a face.
Sure, everyone loves being tweeted at by the big brand like Coca-Cola or Target, but the loyalty and retention with customers comes when they interact with a person. Why do you think big brands like these have set up teams of customer service reps to personally respond to tweets and Facebook comments? Because a profile behind a logo can only do so much.
You may be saying, "Well that only applies to those large businesses and corporations, right?" I don't think so. In fact, I believe this principle can be even more effective for small businesses. In a large business, this personal online interaction is probably going to end there, online. When a small local business embraces this practice the potential for this interaction to extend into a real-life, face-to-face interaction is actually heightened.
So what does this look like in a practical sense? If someone tweets your business profile, consider replying from your business and then following that person from your personal account. It may seem like a small gesture, and you may not even hear anything from this person, but if you have a mention of your business name in your Twitter bio they'll remember you. Or you could take it one step further and simply thank them for tweeting you. You'd be amazed at how far these small gestures will take you and your customer.
In a recent Forbes article, Jeanne Meister wrote on the importance of social media training in a company. She says:
"Taking the right steps in this arena can produce dramatic benefits on the business side. As Gloria Burke, director of knowledge and collaboration at Unisys told me, offering social media training creates a team of advocates who are equipped to represent their employer online. 'When you give them that training, you’re empowering them to be more confident and effective in what they’re sharing,' Burke said. That means they will not only share news about your company but also feel confident they know how to do this in a safe and responsible manner while building their personal brand."
Learn more about social media training for your company here.
So try it out, and see what happens. Don't be afraid to be personal in your use of social media, not only from the point of view of your business or brand, but from yourself personally.
People want to connect with another person, not just with some faceless brand.
Josh Burns is the director of web and social media at Park Community Church in Chicago, IL. He loves helping businesses and organizations learn more about how they can use social media to grow and share their story. He is also an avid blogger at joshburns.net.