As a business using social media to market yourself, it’s very easy to focus on “looking professional” and instead you come across as cold and impersonal.
Nobody likes that and you don’t want that to happen, yet it’s a risk you take when you start to automate your social media activities. If you update all your social channels simultaneously, it won’t take a detective to work out that you are automating you social media activities.
So what can a business do to save time yet still come across as interested and professional? Social media integration is the answer, and it probably features in your social media strategy already. But how do you integrate your social media without causing a disconnect with your audience?
In this post I’m going to explore 10 ways that you can integrate social media without looking like a spam merchant or a robot.
1: Respond to personal messages.
If you use Hootsuite you can check all your messages across multiple social sites from the application. Hootsuite also enables you to see who you’ve responded to, making the it easier to keep track of your relationship building. Yes, relationship building, when you respond to the messages you are building and growing your personal networks. Your personal connections will be stronger and social media integration made it faster and more effective.
Hootsuite can help you save time when you’re responding to messages across multiple social networks.
If you ignore people they feel they are not worthy of your attention, and they feel you are not being authentic. However if you are regularly communicating with your audience and responding to them, then you come across as warm and wonderful business.
2: Cross posting?
Whenever you do a cross-post expand upon it a little so that it fits the social site your are updating, By adding personal comments you are showing that you are “there”. Your automated social media tools cannot do all of the work. If you post from your blog to Twitter, add a comment as to why people should read the post. Ask your followers to share with their audience, ask them what they thought of the post. The tweet that shares the post now looks like a highly personal tweet rather than an automated tweet. Small things like this change the perception of your audience from “idiot who can’t be bothered” to “personable” and “approachable” and that’s what we’d like our audiences to think of us.
3: Reach out to your real fans.
Do you remember the Old Spice Man and how he reached out to fans regardless of how many followers they had? He’s an awesome example of reaching out to your real fans.
If you find certain people are regularly sharing your content, liking your updates and RT’ing your Tweets, then reach out and chat to them. They may not be your ideal customer but they may influence them. Use your social media integration tools to see whose interacting with you. Commun.it is great for Twitter, although it focuses heavily on alerting you to the influencers in your community.
See who is regularly watching what you are doing and promoting you. When you find them, reach out to the directly and thank them. Be different – send them a thank you note. Pick up the phone and thank them in person – not only will they be surprised but you’ll be memorable.
Social Media is truly an easy way to manage all your relationships with customers and potential customers. It’s a gathering of your one to one relationships, in a place that’s easy to access for the both of you. Be personal and deepen your connections. There’s zero chance of looking automated if you are actively making an effort with your connections.
4: Check your updates.
Do you sound like a robot? Are all your updates “like my fan page” “find me on LinkedIn” “please RT my blog”. If they are you are in trouble.
You sound monotonous, boring and if we met in real life we wouldn’t like each other.
Do your Tweets sing? Does your page have soul? Or are you hyping the life out of every update? Looking at each post or update as a single entity makes it hard to measure your overall attitude.
Step back from the single updates and look at them as a cluster. Look at your last 20 updates across each channel.
Would you be proud to publish that list?
- What do you think your audience really think when they see what you are sharing?
- When you look at the list of updates do you cringe inwardly?
- Did you come across as so slick and polished that no one has approached you?
- Are you so impersonal that your content isn’t being read?
- Are you so busy being big and important that you’ve lost sight of what social media is all about?
Using social media integration tools will help you step back, assess and review your social media strategies effectiveness. See your business as your audience sees it. Make changes to your updates until you step back and think, hmm, I’d be proud to publish that list.
5: Less self and more sharing!
If you are only posting about yourself you are coming across as a crushing bore.
Being real means sharing, it means monitoring your followers, it means interacting with them.
Yes, it can be hard to keep it personal across multiple accounts, but the social media integration tools will release some of your burden.
Load up the feeds from all the people you admire into your Google Reader. Check it twice a day and scan it for update that catch your eye – and then share them. Google Reader will enable you to identify the value in your network and then share it. If you are sharing content that you truly like, you’ll come across as genuine and likeable.
Your followers and fans will respond, they are getting a feel for you as a person and if they can see you are interested in saving polar bears, they’ll start sending you useful information. They’ll help you monitor your competition and keep your finger on your industry pulse.
You are a real person to them now rather than someone who constantly bores them with their self-promotional witterings.
6: Scheduling in advance
Scheduling has to be one of the most useful things about social media integration tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Postling. That means you get to see which updates are the post effective.
That means you can write and rewrite them so they are the best they can be. As the updates are all scheduled, they can still be adapted before they go live. So if one particular update does well you can tweak some of your future update to take advantage of this. Rewriting is the key here. Stephen King was once said to have spent a whole day writing and rewriting just one sentence.
I have a friend who spends hours rewriting the first sentences of his blog posts, I recall him saying he didn’t like ugly sentences. Your audience may be the same – and the chances of you getting it right first time, when it takes Stephen King hours, is very slim.
Writing and rewriting your status updates allows you to perfect the words that get action. It allows you to get meaningful updates in the right place at the right time.
Scheduling tools make the whole rewriting experience so much easier. Using social media tools this way allows you to be more expressive, and you become more attunded to your audience’s needs. Scheduling not only allows you time to perfect your voice and tone but it prevents your updates from becoming stale.
Rewriting is going to be your best friend here.
7: Be Spontaneous.
Easier said than done, but your updates also need a fraction of spontaneity in them.
Spontaneity is a great way to let your personality shine through. And people love that, they can tell the difference and they get to know you better. Your social media tools allow you to track trends and you can go with the flow and see where your conversations take you. But be careful. If you are managing multiple accounts through one application, you can update many accounts with flimsy and irreverent updates and each account has a different set of fans, you can really cause some upset, inadvertently.
8: Eliminate the same updates
One thing that screams automation at the top of it voice is posting the same update over and over again. Guy Kawasaki has the theory that he will send the same tweet 4 times a day to reach people in a different time zone at tea-time, no matter where they are in the world. If you are sending the same, identical tweets on a daily basis stop it tight now.
9: Respond to Questions Publicly
When someone asks you a question in public, try to answer it in public. Don’t send them a message. To the observers it looks like you are ignoring them! Use your social media integration tools to scan your networks and see what is being asked, and how it’s being answered.
If people see lots of questions with no answer they think that you are rude and ignorant although that may not be the case. Give people the sense that you’re really looking out for them or trying to connect with them. When people see that you take the time to answer questions in public, they’ll feel valued.
They’ll feel more involved in your community and want to participate. Keep an eye out for the @replies and mentions and reply back to the people who talk to you. There’s nothing worse than finding a fan page filled with unanswered questions. It looks unloved and sure you may be sending cute little messages but no one else is seeing them!
10: Make what you do for a living personal
Make your branding personal. Start with your Facebook cover and your Twitter profile picture. Choose colours and images that match your brand, and the updates and content you create need to match that brand. For example, if you have a vibrant brand, post fun and lively messages.
Your core brand is tied to your voice.
If you are positioning yourself as an authority your answers to your fan page’s questions are not going to be one liners. They are going to be as deep and detailed as you can get. You can still be a professional brand with your voice added to it. You can still be personal with your brand. You can still add your voice to it. Google often uses phrases like “Don’t be evil” and “We made it suck less.” Figure out your brand internally, then use the social tools available to you to proliferate that brand and add liberal sprinklings of your brand to your updates.
Does all this social media automation make you feel more human already?
Social media integration can be a huge blessing when used properly. Social media integration tools are not set and forget tools. They equip you to analyse your content and woo business relationships with ease.
Or subscribe to my newsletter for awesome blogging goodies