Out of the 7.2 billion people who inhabit the Earth, over 2 billion own a social media account. That’s crazy! What percentage of your potential customers, you guess, would have a social media account?

If building an enterprise is keeping you busy, you can no longer delay conversing with your customers online; or should we say, while you are thinking about strategies, your competitors are busy building lasting relationships with your customers. It’s time you make a move!

I had interesting conversations with someone who visits Dialogues regularly, and often seen consulting start-ups and freelancers. These conversations had many nuances, and presenting some of those ideas here as a blog.

Q. Of many of these social media sites, which platform should one leverage?

There was time when we used to say, social media has taken over the world and that it is important to note how different platforms work. Each platform had attracted a certain set of personas. Moreover, if you map the platform and personas, it was easier for you to decide which one.

However now, these platforms have a persona of their own and that’s a natural progression. Everybody is highly skilled on Linkedin, everybody is a photographer on Instagram, everybody has many friends on Facebook, everybody is an activist on Twitter, and everybody is a reviewer of something on Youtube! And so have attracted those kinds of users. It has now also become important to choose the persona of the platform, one; persona of the user, second; and stand one organization takes, third.

Facebook is out of the race, obviously now. I feel, Facebook will continue to function till the time advertisers are willing to put in money to show their content to bots, fake accounts and IT Cells of influeners. So it’s easy to that call atleast now.

On the other extreme, Youtube has just started to grow as a social media platform that not only allows for rich content, collaboration over people, ideas and products and also decent place to advertise (can’t say for how long).

I won’t hesitate in saying that brands need to be bolder and build communities of their own and on their own platforms. Build local advocates and small-ish circles. Or explore partnering with new niche ones like moms blogs, travel blogs, start-up story blogs, social blogs. The returns could be higher than traditional american social networking sites.

Q. In terms of posting on these social media sites, how does one decide Quality or Quantity

Well, the magic is in the balance. If you post quality, indeed you are leaving people wanting for more. And the algorithms of the nature (Internet World!) are such that someone else who is posting quantity with average quality wins. Reference Netflix.

If you post quantity, you are feeding the hungry but you are also annoying the other lot.

Quality is a relative thing on the other hand. Example, some memes that might impact a brand’s reputation might actually be loved by the masses. And some intellectually stimulating videos, designed for a target audience, might get tagged as boring.

Keep doing your work! Keep doing your work to engage the audience and not think too much about tricking the algorithms with quality or quantity. Look inwards also, how much of bandwidth and money can you invest in outreach vs building the core engine of your business.

To mention the thumb-rule. Posting every day will not help your cause if the posts themselves are not curated carefully. Similarly, having millions of followers will do your business no good, unless those followers convert into customers. Over 96% of the people that talk about brands while online, do not follow the brand’s page. Therefore, rather than focusing on vague strategies that try to impress everyone, focus on … you know what!

Q. What content works these days?

What had worked, works now.

What does it do to you when I say, “Once upon a time there was a princess who loved the old farmer’s son, …. ” blah blah “….. And then the king hanged both the boy and the daughter.”

Do what attracts the kids, tell stories. People enjoy tragedy, victories, love, care, music, art, villians, heros. We all love the hero’s journey.

And don’t tell them all in one go. Start it, build it, share the context, change the context, let the audience contribute to the story, and end the story. Start again.

What content doesn’t work is promoting a product, promoting your business, interview of the CEO, and customer testimonials included. You know, they are all mostly made up.

Most companies feel they have great content online, but only 8% of their customers agree. That says it all.

The smart marketers and storytellers have moved to visuals and videos (not the corporatish ones) when it comes to engaging customers, so make sure your posts have thoses. Infographics work if they are biased! 😉

What always works, is invite customers over for a evening coffee and tell them you are listening. People like expressing their opinions, leverage that. Use this to your advantage by asking questions and asking people to leave their responses.

Q. Why can’t I be on all platforms and share all content I create.

You absolutely can! Don’t expect equal engagement though. 🙂

Consider this, not all age-groups use all social media platforms, and usually, there tends to be a cluster in specific spaces. For instance, 80% of the people on Instagram are less than 35 years old. Similarly, Facebook is now used by grand-dads and grand-moms (remember the product lifecycle where laggerds onboard themselves towards the end of the curve). LinkedIn environment may not be appropriate to sell Rupa Underwear and Baniyan; on the other hand it might be appropriate to sell CV making services or a B2B Consulting services there.

They teach segmentation based on demographics in the 1st lecture in BBA/MBA these days. Easy to locate the users then!

Q. Most social media pages I’ve observed of start-ups in Bangalore have become a catalogue of updates. There is something missing.

Communication. Whether it is face-to-face or on social media, is always both ways. One or the other side is missing all the time, and hence less and less of conversations you see.

Appreciate, that your customers are starting a conversation. Appreciate, that you can have a conversation remotely. Appreciate, that the person on the other side is a living somebody and not a twitter handle. Most marketing campaigns become successful because they focus on responding and not pushing.

Even if the response is negative, embrace it. Or tackle it. Instead of pretending it did not happen. Be courteous, enquire about the issue and do your best to resolve the problem. Not only will this help people feel they can reach out to you, but it also helps in building a stronger bond and hence more conversation.

Q. My organization’s social media page is crawling, and soon it will be dead. What do I do?

In fact, letting it die might be a good thing! You anways have lost the personality of a charming, happy business you once had. And that is why you say its crawling!

Sorry, if that was offensive. Yes, you should revive 🙂

While social media is a fast-paced world, lot of chatter and clutter, it still misses lively people. Don’t make another business page on facebook. If Facebook is your space, then start with yourself and have your core partners run it through their personal handle. Honestly, I like following Sundar Pichai and then Google Blog. I loved following Steve Jobs, and never bought an apple product or followed their updates.

Tell what you are trying to solve. Tell them how you are doing it. They will enquire about your products.

Be patient and keep improving your conversations, and over time you will start seeing the results. There is so much competition out there that it isn’t always easy to be heard. But because there are only a few people genuinely reaching out, there might be a good chance.

In conversation with someone, who is not from a social media agency and not a digital marketer!

Written by, Shruti from Dialogues Team