Feeling Cut Off From Your Audience?

How Brands Lose on Social Media by Failing to Really Be Social

Don’t you hate it when you start following a brand that you like on Facebook or Twitter and they just seem to be doing everything, well, wrong? When they post, it’s like they’re talking to themselves: constantly laying down a sales-heavy message that doesn’t do a whole lot to generate conversation with actual human beings. Which is what their audience is made up of.

It’s a bummer, and worse—it comes off as more than a little desperate. We all tacitly know that a brand’s social media page exists to boost awareness and sales, so a little subtlety is always appreciated. When the posts are always about the latest deal, why you shouldn’t wait to click over to the webstore or how awesome everything is going to be once you just buy something please, customers can see right through it.

Remember: your audience has been marketed to virtually every waking minute of their entire lives—they are smart consumers. They can instinctively spot the difference between meaningful content and a blind pitch in a nanosecond.

Ultimately—unless you’re just handing out crazy coupons or freebies all day long—these kinds of ham-fisted, sales-first tactics will only serve to cut you off from the very audience that you’ve worked so hard to establish a personal connection with. With algorithm-based social media channels like Facebook, the less a follower interacts with your content, the less likely they become to see future communications at all—your voice simply won’t be heard on their feed. And with other sites like Twitter, well there’s the always their itchy fingers on the “Unfollow” button to worry about.

So what’s the solution? A more conscientious return to what these social media platforms were originally designed for: to be social! Be light, be funny, be inquisitive. Post ideas or photos that communicate the feeling of your brand, not just your brand itself (don’t worry, no one is going to be confused). Offer tips or talk about something your co-worker did last night. Just be the first half of a conversation that could go anywhere—not the first and final word in a naked plea for business that will most likely only fall on deaf ears anyway.

And once your audience is tuned in to what you are saying, when you do slip the occasional sales pitch into your feed, they are more likely to be, you know, actually listening.