Everyone knows social media is important. That fact has been drilled into us for so long it’s become a de facto universal law of business. People are social creatures, and they have a taste for this stuff now, so ignore their new playground at your own risk. Or conversely, a social media presence can give you advantages that were previously impossible.
So we do our duty, creating content and sharing it, reaching out into new networks and new audiences. And then we pat ourselves on the back — job well done! We have checked the social media box and may now return to normal business land.
But our jobs are not finished, not by a long shot. Social media is a never-ending two-way street, and once you start the conversation, you have to participate in it. If that thought scares you, don’t be afraid!
First, if people are commenting on your content, it’s a good sign. It means people are responding to what you are doing. Provided those comments aren’t acidic, you deserve that pat on the back you gave yourself earlier.
Second, you are not alone in being wary of engaging publicly on social media. We spend a lot of time carefully crafting our messaging, making sure we present our best face forward. Commenting on social media is a fast moving, often off-the-cuff type of communication, and it can be daunting if your used to micro-managing every detail of your message.
Additionally, it can mean a lot of extra time spent on your part if the volume of comments on your content is of any significant size. You have to monitor the stream regularly, craft responses and keep up with any replies. There is a reason why Social Media Manager has become a regular position many larger businesses!
The good news is, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure you are engaging on social media in a way that induces a positive response, without having to spend too much extra time worrying about the whole thing. Stay tuned, and we’ll go through a few.
Get Some GIFs!
People love GIFs, and there’s a reason. In a medium where characters are at a premium and a picture says a thousand words, a GIF delivers a short-story, pop-culture reference and often (nudge-nudge) an in-joke for those in the know, all wrapped up in one short burst. We recently wrote a post about making your own GIFs using online tools, so check that out, but there are plenty of already existing GIFs out there in the wild for you to use.
Both Twitter and Facebook have built in ways for you to find GIFs to use in your posts and comments, so things are even easier for you there. When you are replying to social media comments, try to stop for a second and think, “Would a GIF go good with this?”
Even if you’re not sure, it can be helpful (and fun!) to go into the GIF search anyway and type in some phrases related to your reply, and see what pops up. Just make sure you watch the GIF all the way through before you post it, and don’t choose any that might be offensive (unless being offensive is your thing, I guess).
Don’t Forget Images
Oh. Images? But we just did GIFs! GIFs are exciting, images are boring, right? Well…yes, when you put it that way. But images are also a really useful tool in the social media engagement tool. You can often use an image where crafting a succinct text reply would be difficult. For instance, if you are replying on Twitter to a custom support issue for your new web app, then a screenshot illustrating the solution is often better than trying to fit the explanation into a tiny response.
Ask More Questions
You know that friend you have that goes on and on about their day, without ever asking how yours went? Don’t be that guy. Instead of just issuing a pat response, inquire a little bit more about the commenter or what they’ve commented about. If they’ve complimented you, ask them about why they liked it, or what their favorite part or takeaway was.
Engage With Emojis
Emojis are fun, and they are here to stay, for very much the same reasons that GIFs are, but on a smaller scale. Don’t overdo it here, but the inclusion of a few well-chosen emojis in a social media response will immediately make it friendlier and more personable.
Use A Social Media Manager
You’re likely managing multiple social media networks at the same time, and if you’re trying to do that by using each platform separately, it can really slow you down, and people expect a quick response time on social media. We recommend checking out the free plan that Hootsuite offers as a good starting point (it offers 1 user and three networks). Using Hootsuite, you can manage all of your networks in one place, as well as schedule posts to go out in the future, which can be an incredible time saver, and will probably increase your response time across all networks as well.
And there you have it! Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be engaging on social media with the best of them, without seeming like a robot, and without sacrificing precious extra time. Want to stay in the know about the world of social media? Sign up for our newsletter!