YOUR BEST FRIEND always answers the phone when you call. He supports your ventures, celebrates your accomplishments, and gives you positive feedback on almost anything you share. And then one day, out of the blue, he doesn’t answer. And the next day, he doesn’t respond to your text. And you later find out it’s because you were so busy sharing your accomplishments, that you weren’t making any time to seek out ways to celebrate his.photo-1469218692818-d972c42c4864

And that’s a lot of what individuals and businesses are experiencing right now with social media – unmet expectations. Your fans become fans quickly and easily, but they’ll leave even more quickly and easily. Your supporters want to know they’re not liking and commenting for nothing. And even more than that, they want to know you’re paying attention to the things that they believe makes them a valuable connection to you.

In our last article, Selling Experiences, we wrote about how to connect with your audience at a deeper, more authentic level using marketing and advertising campaigns that connect with their most sacred values. Businesses spend so much time and energy trying to accomplish this goal and reach their target market, that there’s often not much time left to deepen and maintain those hard-fought connections, and this only results in missed opportunities – both in immediate sales and future networking and collaboration opportunities.

It’s not difficult to convert fans into life-long friends and supporters, but you have to act quickly.photo-1429962714451-bb934ecdc4ecSet just one hour aside every week for each of your business’ social platforms to engage with your followers, and the boost in communication won’t go unnoticed.

Engagement can look like a lot of things, but these are a few that we’ve found work well:

  1. Like a recent post or two. This is a simple way to make your followers feel like the social investment between you is reciprocal.
  2. Re-post something you liked from their Instagram feed or share an upcoming event they’ve been promoting through Facebook. Take it a step further and invite other friends and followers who might be interested in the event as well.
  3. Create a post that asks a question to begin a lively, interactive conversation in the comments. If you sell umbrellas and it’s raining outside, the question could be as simple as, “It’s really coming down out there! How do you entertain yourself on such a rainy Saturday? We’re staying dry and keeping cozy with an old favorite – Mary Poppins!” Or, it could be more strategic and offer an incentive. Something like, “It’s really coming down out there! Take a picture of your favorite umbrella and tag us to be entered into a drawing for one of OUR favorites!”
  4. Tweet an article or tip @ one of your most steady ‘likers’ on Twitter that would be relevant to their life or business. It communicates that you not only know who they are, but spend time thinking thoughtfully about their values. For example, somebody you’re following posts this picture:

photo-1474221550179-c492fb337327Imagine how easy it would be to tweet your favorite recipe @ them with a comment like, “Looks like a party! This famous dip recipe gets my guests every time. Enjoy!”

  1. Create original content to highlight what your followers do that you appreciate. If one of your followers is an Interior Designer and posts about an upcoming design talk that relates to your industry somehow, why not create an original post just to highlight and support them? This kind of thoughtful, unsolicited, promotion really goes a long way, and you don’t have to do it often.
  2. Send direct messages. If you REALLY want somebody to know you’re paying attention, instead of just posting a comment, send your thoughts in a quick, direct email or message. It hardly takes any time, but it really makes you stand out.

Engaging more deeply transforms the connections you’re building from anonymous and easy to forsake, into a reciprocal relationship that bolsters the business, morale, and goodwill of all involved.

Dream Grow wrote in their article, How to Build Loyalty Through Social Media Relationships

“If there were a synonym that describes social media, the word is relationships. Relationships are the base of social media. People who endorse your page are saying that they want a relationship with you, and not only that but they are telling their world of friends that you should be a consideration of theirs too. Any connection made within a loyalty marketing campaign is priceless, as the endeavor is to keep the user in long-term love with your brand.”

It’s easy to forget that the primary function of social media is to be, well, social! It’s not just another marketing platform, but can be an incredibly valuable marketing resource if used while keeping basic social codes in mind.

So take some time and start investing in those who have decided to invest in you! Don’t have the time because you’re too busy following up with connections IRL? That’s why we’re here!