Companies use social media to establish an online reputation, generate branding awareness, and share pertinent information regarding their business ventures. Yet this process is too often a one-sided ordeal. Use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and any other social networking platform should entail active engagement with followers. This not only increases the visibility of a company, but also fosters a better relationship with current and prospective customers.
Conversation is the most underutilized tool over social networking platforms. Companies generate daily posts and may even invite viewers into conversation, but rarely do they show genuine interest in what their followers have to say. If a question or comment is shared in response to posted content, it’s crucial that a company representative be on hand to acknowledge and respond to that post. This type of interaction makes a company’s content more relevant and meaningful- instead of viewing company posts as newsfeed clogging updates, followers will judge them with more investment if they are asked to share an opinion that will be sincerely heard. As an added bonus, posts with which followers interact will be boosted in relevance and thus achieve a higher level of visibility.
Companies should also show interest in the content offered by the active users and companies in their social networking community. Expecting to only put out content and receive attention without offering attention to other community members is a grave mistake. This type of one-sided platform use does not generate relationships or community reputation. Many platforms offer low commitment interaction options, such as shares and likes. The energy invested in this type of action is minimal, but the payoff can be great. Showing that your company takes time to learn about and keep up with other community members is an ideal way to foster networking relationships and a good reputation.
In essence, successful use of social media platforms should be a two-sided endeavor that aims to optimize the interaction and conversation with any networking community. Take full advantage of the tools of these websites to maximize the benefits of an online presence.