We’re talking about valuable online skills that every brand needs today, but first let’s cover some important social marketing news! If you’ve never heard about TikTok, it’s a popular video sharing app that has connections with platforms like YouTube – and it’s very, very popular among kids and tweens. And it’s growing! TikTok has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times on mobile devices thus far, and it a big international hit. So far TikTok has had a fairly toxic relationship with marketing and the government, so it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.
On the Google front, Google Maps is preparing for a new update that would allow users to find and follow experts on Maps, essentially turning it into a social app as well as a navigation aid. This isn’t exactly surprising: Google Maps already connects with things like Google My Business. But being able to follow other users who specialize in reviews, photos and recommendations will have huge implications for local SEO and social marketing!
Main Topic: Moving From Absent to Engaged with Your Online Presence
As we’ve been covering each step of our 9-step process for online marketing solutions, we’ve taken a look at building your website a hub for your brand, maintaining social accounts, finding a consistent voice, and other important parts of developing a powerful online presence that gets results. Today we’re starting on the last three steps of the process, the “Front Door” section that focuses on ongoing, important things you can do to reach out directly to your audience.
So, what do we mean by “absent” vs. “engaged”? An absent business often has online profiles and a website, but it doesn’t really do anything about them. It doesn’t pay attention to the audience, start conversations, ask for feedback, or really do anything except make generic advertising posts that are only one-way communication.
An engaged business, on the other hand, pays attention and initiates two-way communication. These businesses use the right tools to monitor social platforms and watch for any communication from their audiences so that they can respond appropriately. They ask questions, start conversations, and reach out to people to learn more. These days, the difference between getting leads and having a poor online presence often comes down to how absent or engaged a brand really is – which is why it’s so important to get into a habit of being engaged. So let’s take a look at the key steps of online engagement!
Paying Attention to Reviews and Comments
From Google My Business and Yelp to Facebook and LinkedIn, your business has many different platforms to gather reviews on – and reviews will come! We’ve talked in the past about how to encourage new reviews, but paying attention to new reviews and comments is also important, something that is often called “social listening“. As the social media experts say, your business is on platforms that are made for comments and reviews: Your audience expects these features to be available, and in some ways brands owe it to their audiences to be a participant, not just a silent observer.
Today’s marketing automation tools are excellent for gathering responses from multiple platforms at once, so you can immediately see if anyone is leaving a comment or review (as long as you have a dedicated social media person watching for this). But an engaged business doesn’t practice social listening, it responds! So let’s look at how important responses are.
Responding in an Effective Way
Ongoing engagement means ongoing communication – businesses must set up a system to respond to their audience. While there’s a lot of detail in this (and we’d be happy to help if you have any questions about it), we’re fans of these quick tips from Browser Media, summarized below:
- Following Netiquette: Netiquette is essentially accepted behaviors online. This is actually fairly easy for businesses to master – but it’s important to learn before responding. Basics include being polite, acknowledging privacy, respecting time, including basic greetings, and generally avoiding any lazy or rude habits just because you are online.
- Using Clear Language: Social responses in particularly benefit from clear and concise language. Avoid or explain any odd jargon, and get right to the point right away. If you need to go into more in-depth explanations, try to use platforms where this is more acceptable, and break up your text into short paragraphs.
- Conveying the Right Tone: One of our digital marketing steps is all about developing a consistent brand voice across social media. That helps enormously when using the right tone online, and understanding how to convey emotion (and when emotions maybe shouldn’t be conveyed).
- Providing Thorough Responses: If someone has a question or doesn’t seem to understand something, always explain it. If you aren’t sure what they mean, ask! Details are important. This step is often in tension with keeping things concise, but practice lends the necessary skills when responding.
- Building an Online Persona: Over time, following these important steps will help a business build an online persona that audiences recognize and appreciate (think of major brands on social media like Wendy’s or Lego). Creating this persona is great, but keeping it consistent over the long term is also key to success.
If you’ve been enjoying these discussions on our steps (and we do encourage you to listen to them all), there’s something else you may be interested in – a free signup for our webinar that goes over the full 21 Handshake 9-step process for our digital marketing program! This is a great way to see if these solutions may be right for you!
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