I’ve been doing social media for a few years, but I still get the jokes that I play on Facebook all day. That’s okay; I AM on Facebook all day. And Twitter. And G+. And YouTube. And LinkedIn. And…you get the picture.
But while it’s fun, it’s not exactly playing. One false move and all the good things you’ve done are mysteriously forgotten. The internet has an astonishingly good memory for bad news, and a suspiciously selective one for good deeds.
If you’re doing social media for a living, you already know that it takes time, tactics, strategy, and a whole heap of awareness—and that’s just one set of cornerstones. You may still be able to get some sleep, but social media never does. And there’s always someone watching.
Now that I’ve creeped you out (and myself), here are a few things I’ve learned over the past few years, free of charge (we’re all in this together):
Put a face on it.
Talk to people like they’re people, not faceless customers; talk to people like you’re a person, not a faceless brand. You’re having a conversation, not a sales pitch—at least, don’t make it seem like a sales pitch—so leave the corporate speak on the company website.
How you do all this will depend on your audience, which means you’ll have to do a lot of listening. Be respectful and be aware of the company brand at all times, but don’t be afraid to inject some personality into it. And make it clear who you are: If you’re responding to people under a corporate logo, include your name.
Automated tools make it easy to set it and forget it, but you still have to be there to respond to questions and concerns or you lose credibility fast. I love using Hootsuite to set up tweets throughout the day because doing some automation frees me up to respond in real time where I can, as well as do all the other social media things I need to do. As a bonus, someone in a different time zone will wake up to your tweet as you’re off to your hard-earned rest.
Embrace negative feedback.
We all love positive feedback, but it’s how you work with negative feedback that will help you learn and help make your company look good to everyone watching. My view is if someone cares enough to take the time to complain about a specific issue, that means you can work with that person. You can’t work with whispers, but you sure can with shouts.
That said, learn to tell the difference between someone with a legitimate grievance and someone just wanting to stir up anonymous trouble. In extreme situations, follow your social media policy, call on your team, don’t feed the trolls, and take it offline as quickly as you can.
Don’t be afraid to ask.
Sometimes the best way to figure out what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and what people want from you is simply to ask. People love giving advice, especially if you show that you respect what they have to say. I asked the community on one of my Facebook Pages what they’d like to see in a guide we wanted to create for them. The answers poured in! So ask generally or ask a few key supporters, but ASK.
If there’s one thing social media has taught us, it’s that we never stop finding out something new. Build in time for research. Block off your calendar if you have to, but do it. Take advantage of free webinars on LinkedIn, BrightTalk and HubSpot; attend Twitter chats and look at other sites in your niche to see how they’re managing their communities.
If you’re going to panic, do it on the inside.
That adage about never letting them see you sweat holds just as true online as off. Build yourself that team of supporters, seek out advice, and do what it takes to calm down—and then respond to the situation.
Yep, even after all that. Social media is something to enjoy even as you’re creating those campaigns and putting in extra hours. You’re reaching people. You’re helping people. You’re giving them what they need. It’s an awesome feeling.
What’s your advice for being a social media rockstar?