We live in a time where the world is literally at our finger tips and technology is working its way into nearly every facet of our existence. Google is developing a self-driving car, Amazon is working on a drone delivery service and you are more likely to see Bigfoot than speak with an actual living human customer service representative. The thought of computer software becoming self-aware like Skynet from the Terminator movie franchise will soon be a reality.
Technology evolves to make life easier, but it can also come at a cost and this is seen in the realm of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the other social networks have been infiltrated in one way or another by data-collecting robots, automated responses and self-serving, one-way communications practices. Even Facebook realized this was an issue and it hired a team to remind users that it is run by humans. As you can see in the statistics below, social media usage is growing every day and the competitive landscape for businesses is rising at the same rate.
- 74 percent of adults who go online use a social networking site (stat via Pew Research Center)
- 52 percent of Internet users regularly log on to at least two social media sites (stat via The New York Times)
- 74.5 percent of small and medium-sized businesses are using social media (stat via BiaKelsey.com)
We developed three tips that utilize a humanistic approach to social media outreach in an effort to help grow your company’s online presence and stay ahead of the competition (and fight against the machines).
1) Limit Use of Auto-Generated Content
Auto-generating content is a noble concept and the tools to do this were developed to increase efficiency because everyone is busy. However, this shouldn’t be the standalone strategy for your social media outreach because the human element is missing. Writing and scheduling bulk content using auto-publishing tools like HootSuite, IFFTT and Buffer save time, but if that is the only process and there is no engagement then it is similar to robocalls from politicians during election season. The same goes for auto-generated “thank you” messages that are delivered after someone follows you.
Lack of time is the most common defense for using these services, but you will find that even the smallest amount of TLC can go a long way. Engagement with your audience is important and most people do not expect a response at all, so sending a direct message or writing a post thanking someone can earn some good brownie points. It can also cultivate ambassadors for your brand. If you need help then call for reinforcements from a PR company.
2) Show Your Humanity With Behind-the-Scenes Content
The best way to remind people that you work at a company run by human beings is by occasionally welcoming them behind the curtain. Showing the quirks and personalities of employees at your company will help your audience realize that a person just like them is producing the wonderful content they consume.
Post content from company events, staff meetings, birthday celebrations, etc. and consider weighing in on internet memes or pop culture stories. Speaking of which, when is Cheryl’s birthday?!? The Ice Bucket Challenge videos are fantastic examples of how this can work in your company’s favor, but be selective about how often these types of posts are shared. A common guideline is 80 percent on-topic and 20 percent off-topic.
3) Complete All Social Media Profiles
Lastly, let people know about your company by filling out the whole profile. This is the easiest part of the entire social media experience and the benefit is that you can control the messaging. Provide a quick snapshot of your company in the about section of your social media profile, include links back to the website and provide contact information.
Many social media accounts with incomplete profiles are actually “bots” or data-collecting algorithms. Bots are known for unsavory online behavior like spamming and Twitter is actually fighting a number of them through legal action.
These three tips will help your company grow its online presence and avoid being confused with a bot. Social media is not an exact science so have fun with it and keep your social media outreach human.
To avoid the pitfalls of an incomplete social media profile we’ve put together a useful PowerPoint template equipped with the precise measurements for your company’s social media cover photos. Click the link below to download it!