Social Media Means Engagement

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I was interested to read recently that my local Council officers had recommended the Council make use of Facebook and Twitter. Great idea, until I read that councillors wanted to ensure no one could comment on the posts and the communications officer assured them they’d be used only to direct users to the Council’s website. This highlighted to me the continued – and obviously high-level – misunderstanding that persists around the use of social media for business.

When you’re using social media for business it is 100% about engagement. It’s an online conversation with your existing and potential customers, clients and stakeholders. If you’re not using it to engage with them then frankly you have no business being there. Preventing users from commenting on posts will do more damage to your business’s brand than good. If you’re not allowing your users to engage with you then you’re there to hear the sound of your own voice and that’s not what social media for business is about. You’re wasting your money embarking on a social media campaign if all you’re doing is replicating your site information. Imagine the damage you’d do to your High Street bricks and mortar business if you had a sign on the window saying “Yes we have just what you need! But you need to head over to our Low Street store to get it.”

It’s not an expensive exercise. I manage 5 Facebook pages. It takes about 20 minutes morning and afternoon to check them, make posts and acknowledge users. Facebook integrates with Twitter so you post there and it auto-tweets your updates. Third party apps like TweetLater and TweetDeck allow you to set up tweets in advance and keep track of what’s happening across multiple platforms and accounts. Browser add-ons like Yoono let you make updates across multiple accounts quickly and easily. And TweetBeep lets you keep track of any mentions made of your business with alerts coming to your email. Facebook alerts can be set up so you don’t even have to go to the site to know if someone has posted on your page or ‘liked’ it.

You WANT to know what people are saying about your business. You WANT to engage with users.

Whilst security of business pages is important – and you can prevent people posting pictures and videos – it is vitally important that if you intend to use social media for your business that you use it to engage – not to replicate your site info, redirect people, and definitely not to ignore them.

©Lyn Prowse-Bishop, http://www.execstress.com/

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