The way that companies and individuals use social media is extremely different, with the main crux of the issue being that both have different goals when logging into Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform. To put it simply, when individuals use social media they are looking to interact with their friends and relevant content, however when companies use social media it’s to improve their brand awareness and ultimately gain more business.
Due to this conflict in interests, some companies have attempted to be more “human” in their approach to social media so that they can appeal to potential and current customers. However, there are numerous issues that arise when companies attempt to be human on social media, which is why some would argue that it’s better to find a balance between “human” and “company”.
Time, Resource and Content
Firstly, to be truly human on social media you need to be random both in the type of content you post and the times of day you go online. Human beings don’t give themselves set times to go on social media nor know weeks in advance what information they are going to share.
As a company, it’s counterproductive for your social media campaign to be this disjointed as you will likely have a set budget, limited amount of resources and, most importantly, goals to achieve. The best way to solve this issue is to blend the two practices together: implement both a social media calendar but still leave space for ad-hoc posts and updates.
One of the best ways to gain attention on social media is to be involved in the conversations that are happening online, especially if they are on a subject that your company is involved in or has insight into. To achieve this, you can implement “social media listening” practices which means you are always ready to jump on an opportunity.
Social Media Listening
Social media isn’t just about talking, it’s about listening too. With millions of stories being created on social media networks every day, taking the time to find which stories you can participate in is almost an impossible task. Luckily, there are numerous social media listening / social media monitoring tools on the market which can quickly identify topics and keywords, enabling you to jump in at the right time.
Some popular tools for social media listening include free applications such as Google Alerts, TweetDeck and SocialMention. However, even though these tools are great at alerting you when your brand or a certain topic has been mentioned online, you still need to analyse each story to make sure that its relevant to your campaign.
If you do notice a story that is quickly gaining attention you need to make sure you jump on it as quickly as possible, which is where your ad-hoc posts and updates come into their own. Not only can you spend this time interacting with users on social media, but you could even add to the story by releasing further information. If you are quick enough and have enough exclusive information to add to the story, you should also contact news outlets and journalists to see if they want to add your content to their coverage.
Human Brands vs. Human Users
To succeed on social media, you need to take the time and effort to get to know your target audience. Even though this includes qualitative research such as investigating the language and topics that your demographic uses or talks about, don’t forget that quantitative data is just as important.
These days, most social media networks provide some sort of analytics platform; on Facebook you can check your page’s “Insights” and on Twitter you can access detailed information on their dedicated analytics site. By analysing this data, you will be able to determine which posts were the most popular amongst your audience, what days and times there is the most activity on your page and how users interact with your content.
With all this information you will be able to place yourself as a “human brand” amongst your “human users”. You will be able to join their conversations at the right time, in the right place and with the right information, yet at the same time not leave your campaign and its success up to chance.
Acting like a human being in your social media campaigns can help remind users that there is a face behind the company and that your brand wants to interact with its customers and relevant audiences. However, by being a “human brand” you are also able to achieve your goals for your social media accounts and produce the best posts and articles at the most suitable times.
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