As we rapidly approach Christmas, can we please all remember social media is about people, not brands. And yes, while brands do (and many more should) use social media, remember also it’s called social media, not sales media, spam media or let-me-incessantly-flog-my-product-to-you media.
First and foremost, social media is about relationships. Not technology, not sales, not advertising. It is designed to improve the relationships you have with your customers, your clients, your members, your patients, your donors, your stakeholders.
Social media used well will allow you to develop meaningful relationships. It makes interaction with your customers quicker and easier and it is an excellent tool to use to help determine their likes and dislikes, their needs and wants, their hopes and dreams, their strengths and weaknesses.
As we head into the festive season, think about how you can better use social media over the coming weeks to enhance your interactions with the people who do business with you.
Tips for a social media Christmas
- Turn off most of your scheduled posts – no one wants to be sold to at this time of year, and most of us don’t want to think about work. If you’re in retail and you’re promoting a post-Christmas sale, then OK, you can keep some of your scheduled posts. But please don’t make it all about the sale.
- If you insist on keeping your scheduled posts turned on, please, for the love of chocolate and pecan shortbread (my favourite, obviously…), make sure a real person is checking your social media feed and responding when people try to talk to you.
- Take some time to talk to people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Say hello, ask questions, answer questions, find out what they want to achieve in 2018. People do business with people they know, like and trust, so use some of this down time to have conversations. I’m not suggesting you spend hours a day on social media over the Christmas break, but consider spending 15 minutes a day engaging with your customers.
- Use hashtags, especially on Twitter and Instagram. On Christmas Day use the fabulous #joinin hashtag. Started in 2015 by British comedian Sarah Millican, it acknowledges this time of year can be dreadfully lonely for many people, and a heartfelt comment to them on social media can be very uplifting.
For anyone starting to worry about being alone/lonely on Christmas Day, I will be doing #joinin again on here. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a hashtag we use to connect all of those who could do with some company. Join us for #joinin.
— Sarah Millican (@SarahMillican75) November 12, 2017
- Spend some time on social media following your customers – they will notice, and it will help them think more highly of you. If you’re a member-based organisation, following your members – and talking to them – helps add to the value of their membership. It also means they may think more favourably of you when it’s renewal time. A quick audit of some of the member-based organisations I’m a member of shows some interesting results in terms of Twitter:
- Professional Speakers Australia – doesn’t follow me, or many other members
- Bupa Australia – does follow me, but only follows 1,669 accounts, and I expect they have many, many more members than that in Australia
- IABC Queensland – follows me, but that’s because I set up their twitter account ages ago and made sure I followed myself! And as many other members as were on twitter at the time
- IABC head office – follows me
- Credit Union Australia (CUA) – doesn’t follow me, and despite being “Australia’s largest member-owned financial provider”, only follows 393 people.
- NRMA – doesn’t follow me.
- Ensure you have updated your holiday hours on your website, so your customers know when you are closed.
- Ask some holiday-themed questions to encourage interaction – such as what’s the most unusual Christmas tradition in your family? What’s the quirkiest gift you have given/received?
- Share photos of your team at Christmas (with their permission of course).
- Above all, make sure the content you share over the next few weeks is meaningful and relevant.
Whether you are alone or with loved ones this Christmas, I hope you find peace and joy over this time.
Don’t forget to be sun smart, drive safely and don’t leave the leftovers out of the fridge for too long, especially if you want to eat them on Boxing Day!
Love Mel x