Turning tricks for fun and profit
Don’t let anyone fool you. Putting a business on social media is serious business. It costs money to train staff, allocate time to do it and measure what you’re doing. Just like buying a TV or radio ad, if you’re going to invest that much energy into it, you need it to work.
And in all seriousness, social media has to be fun for it to be effective. Your community manager has to be creative, a great communicator and understand the business side of the venture as well. A unique DNA for sure.
Community manager, know thyself
If you’re the front person on social media, your goal is to get the hearts and minds of your consumer and share their world – while doing business. Your social media conversations are the top line – this is where the world sees your best stuff. Underneath that top line is the bottom line – and that line keeps your ensures everyone has a paycheck at the end of the week. It’s not an easy balance and there are a lot of examples of brands doing it poorly on social media.
Ready to be awesome on social AND ensure you’re doing what needs to be done to make it effective? Try out my 10 ways to be awesome on social media.
1. Wear your happy face
Just like the pimply-faced kid serving burgers at your favorite fast food joint or the bank manager signing your loan, you’re the go-to guy for all that’s right (and wrong) with the company. Your interaction with people on social media can mean the difference between sales and no sales, paycheck and no paycheck. Smile and be nice.
2. Lighten up
A mattress sales guy I once worked with asked me what I thought of a newly released mattress. I sat down on it and tried to think of something smart to say but he turned to me and said, “Julia, it’s $#%^ mattress – does it feel good or not?” This was our top-earning, smartest sales rep and in one sentence, he leveled the playing feeling between us. Sometimes just being real is all you need to make a connection.
3. Dress up
Remember you’re here to entice potential customers to talk to you, visit your website and maybe buy something from your company. Put something pretty on and by that I mean, check your spelling and put some thought into your updates. And unless you’re Erika Napoletano, keep your language clean. If you are Erika, have at it.
Social media isn’t about the hard sell but then again, most selling isn’t. I worked my way through university at a high end shoe store and most weeks was the top selling sales person. I made friends (and sales) by chatting about the weather, complimenting fashion choices of my potential customers and just being myself. I never, never, never asked them if I could help them. I already knew I could help them – it was my job to figure out how by what they looked at or picked up. Social media’s no different – a simple chat can begin a beautiful relationship.
5. Be nice to underdogs
When I worked in the prison, I learned how much strength comes from acknowledging weakness. The strongest women were also the kindest and were valiant guardians of those who needed elevating. So what if your competition stalks your Facebook page and comments on your tweets. Invite them in to see how awesome you are. After all, it’s not their fault they’re not as awesome as you.
6. Be creative
Another prison lesson. I was never privy to the recipe but I do know you can make alcohol with bread and ketchup in a plastic bag hung down a heating vent. Pretty creative, right? Many of your challenges on social media are new and you’re operating without a roadmap. Learn how to get inside a problem and explore different ways around it. If you try the ketchup and bread thing, keep the results to yourself though…
7. Don’t play dirty
Trash talking your competitors gets you nowhere. If you want to win, practice your craft. Be the best you can possibly be. Stay forward facing and focused. Yes, it’s that simple.
8. Offer solutions
Complaints are normal. It’s impossible to please every single customer who comes through your door. What sets you apart though is how you handle those complaints. Follow my holy trinity of social media complaints and you’ll win every time – guaranteed.
- Apologize – Acknowledging someone’s frustration is the first step to narrowing the communication gap.
- Say thank you – You’ve just been given the opportunity to save a relationship. Be gracious about that gift.
- Take it off line – Arrange to call the customer and have a heart to heart. Listen, apologize and say thank you and then work together to find a solution.
9. Take it off line
Social media isn’t sustainable if that’s all you do as a company. Like Deb Lowther says, take it offline, get out there in the world and actually meet people. Attend events or create your own and start meeting your community face to face. And while you’re at it, invite other staff members to join you – even your CEO. You’ll be amazed how much further your social media goes when people get to see the real you.
10. Just do it!
This is the simplest advice but it can be the hardest – especially if you’re nervous. The only way you’re going to get good at this is by doing it. You’ll make mistakes and they’ll be painful but as long as you learn from them and constantly hone your skills, you’ll be awesome. How can I be so sure? I’ve worked in a prison, taught at a college, been an editor of a national magazine and am a mother to 4 kids – my training for all of those jobs has been the same as my training for social media. I survived and so will you. Promise.