In every social situation we humans produce, be it with friends or colleagues, strangers or family; and regardless where in the world they may take place, there are always overlying rules which dictate our behaviour and the things we might say to the people around us.
The presence of often implicit rules of engagement in social circumstances are observed across the boundaries of countries, languages and even species! And while they will inevitably differ to some degree from one another in each new situation, their presence is almost a universal requirement.
Even in the virtual realm of Social Media, guidelines of conduct are important for several reasons. Without the presence of a physical body or as is often the case with platforms based, for the most part on text, actually being able to hear someone’s voice, their intonations and lilts, it can be easy to misconstrue what they are actually saying. And with most platforms the flow of conversation may not be as immediate as a conversation vis-à-vis, once again creating difficulty communicating.
Therefore, the evolution of rules of social engagement within the online community has been necessary in order to organise and create meaningful exchanges of information. It is important that businesses know the right way to reach out to their prospective customers in a way that won’t offend or deter them and increase a brands online traction leading to sales.
They say all things come in threes, so to put it summarily here are the three major rules to engaging with your target audience online:
Take it Seriously
Just because the person isn’t actually standing in front of you doesn’t make them any less real, therefore each engagement should be treated with the same respect, candour and clarity you would afford to a person who’s just strolled into your shop. There is strong evidence that reveals businesses who don’t fully immerse themselves in their online campaigns seriously suffer for it.
Social media access is so commonplace these days it’s virtually impossible to avoid! And should be taken as seriously as any other medium or conversation with a potential customer.
Content is Key
To engage people, you want to be… Engaging! Knowing what will pique the interest of your target audience should go without saying; you want them to “consume” content that will increase their recognition and attitude towards your brand.
Social Media can be a place people come to relax, you don’t want to pressure them by posting too much company focused content, post things that will genuinely interest them and will make them look forward to more content that you might release. But that’s only the half of it. Releasing new content by a schedule is just as important as what it is you’re releasing, people are creatures of habit, and when they expect a new post or article at a specific point in time, disappointing them can be detrimental to your brand’s image.
Listen then speak
In might be easy to forget that social media is a kind of conversation, and any good conversationalist knows that one should always listen at least as much as they’re speaking. Social media makes it so easy for people to connect with their favourite brands, and as a business you definitely want to serve the needs of your audience by responding as promptly as possible when an issue is raised.
Listening also means observing the reactions of your audience to the content you’ve already posted, likes, views, shares, comments are things you should be “listening” to if you want keep directing your efforts in a profitable direction.