"Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they'd like to go." - Seth Godin
We've all done it. We look at our social media marketing profiles and see that we have # likes and # followers. We record these vanity metrics as if they mean more than they actually do. Unfortunately, that gives us a false sense of either success or failure, depending on our own ideal numbers.
How do we truly know if our social media marketing is helping us achieve our goals? Do we focus on quantitative data or qualitative? If we focus more on numbers, what are we doing to understand customer attitude and loyalty?
We focus on interaction.
While I agree that quantitative metrics are important, we can't focus exclusively on those. We have to pay attention to the comments, replies, and other opinions from our fans, subscribers and followers. We have to record and analyze these actions just as much as we do for click-through-rates, conversions, and other numbered metrics.
Not only do we record these behaviors, we need to respond.
It's becoming more widely known and accepted that social media is about building relationships. We should all know by now that pitching sales and pushing out self-promotional updates are not the ways to achieve a social media ROI. The same goes with measuring vanity metrics. You can't tell if your social media marketing is working if you don't listen to your audience. Listen to what they're saying to you and about you. Respond to people with thanks and answers. This is how you develop relationships and loyalty.
Have you tried to keep up with mentions online? Has your company name and content been used on social media and blogs? Don't let these mentions go unanswered. Say something in a tweet, reply or comment. Respond to social and blog behaviors.
A quick disclaimer:
We all have priorities and long to-do lists. We can't expect to respond to everyone about everything. It's not an all-or-nothing process. The important thing is to do what you can when you can. Focus on the mentions that could lead to your business goals.
Would that user be a great sales lead? Build a relationship.
Does that user have a strong following and influence online? Build a relationship.
As long as you have already established the buyer personas that fit your marketing and business goals, you'll know how to filter your interactions.
An important additional detail to note:
When you see that you've been mentioned, that someone has commented on your work, or that someone has written a review about you, what do you do when the writer has said something negative? Do you respond? Are you defensive? Or do you make sure you give appropriate answers to the writer's complaints?
While I, personally, think it's a good idea to respond to criticism when it's from a legitimately concerned user or visitor, you should be careful. Don't feed the trolls, but do give your potential or existing customers peace of mind when you can.
This is the heart of maintaining a positive relationship with your audience, and doing this will help you achieve your goals. It helps your bottom line to ease any tensions because negative word of mouth can be really damaging to your business.
So, are you interacting with your audience yet? If yes, how's it going? Have you started to feel overwhelmed to the point where you're losing focus?
What can you do to manage your interactions without this happening?
Here is a short list of 5 tools to get you through this process quickly and efficiently.
Top 8 Social Listening Tools That Do Way More Than Listen (Social Media Today)
Social Listening Tools to Strengthen Your Content Marketing (Content Marketing Institute)
6 Steps to Build a Social Listening Dashboard (Social Media Examiner)
A final disclaimer:
While the article I've provided here insists upon heavy interaction, you shouldn't neglect the qualitative data in the process. Numbers are still important, too, so make sure you have a system in place to measure those as well. It's a balancing act that you have to work hard to implement effectively.