Sometimes it’s easy to forget the ‘social’ side to social media. Many businesses and organisations just use social media to broadcast information and nothing else. To really get the benefits of social media, creating conversation and joining the conversation is a really big part of a successful strategy. If you’re not sure where to start, I’ve selected five different ways you can join the conversation online, particularly focusing on Twitter:
Use the search tools
For every tweet mentioning your Twitter handle, there will be others talking about you without using the handle. It’s important to go looking for those tweets so you can respond.
There might also be people looking for a business like yours and not know who you are. By searching for the right keywords, you can introduce yourself to potential new customers. Don’t wait for them to come to you!
What’s great about Twitter’s search is you can also filter the search by location. This will allow you to tweet to people just down the road from you who are more likely to pay your business a visit.
Look for power hours
Ever seen #HerefordHour, #WeddingHour, #BizHour or others trending on Twitter? These ‘power hours’ are organised so that businesses, organisations, charities and other accounts can all tweet about themselves and what they’re up to during a specific hour in the week. They use the hashtag to make it easy for people to find all the tweets in one place. The location-based power hours are particularly useful for having local people find out more about you as well as help you to get to know other local businesses in your area. Hundreds of these power hours take place each week so make sure you know about ones relevant to your business as well as when the power hour is happening.
Use the trending hashtags
First of all, update the settings on your trending topics to show UK based topics. (It’s also possible to narrow that down even further to city-wide but I think UK-wide works best) Now you can see what the majority of people in the UK are talking about at the same time. Look for opportunities in the trending topics to join the conversation. Do you have related products or events that people might be interested in?
When joining in the conversation this way, there are two things to be aware of: 1) Make sure you fully understand what the hashtag is about, it’s not always clear straight away. 2) Make sure there’s a genuine connection between your business and the hashtag, people see right through lame attempts to use the trending topics.
Plan for national holidays, key events and awareness days
For major events such as Christmas and Easter, or even Back to School, Wimbledon and Halloween there will be guaranteed hashtags and trending conversations. Don’t wait until they are trending to figure out what you’re going to say. By planning ahead, you can come up with some creative ideas to join in the wider conversation and will save you time in the long run. Did you know that Twitter has an events tab inside the Analytics page? You can find out the potential reach for hundreds of events happening nationally and internationally. Don’t forget about awareness days, weeks and months such as National Picnic month and World Chocolate Day which are also great chances to share what you have to offer to more people.
Begin with your followers and influencers
When I say influencers, I’m not always talking about people with millions of followers. Your influencers might be people with a few thousand followers but have a particular interest in businesses such as yours. Their reputation as almost an expert in that field will be enough to give them influence. By responding to their tweets and those of your top followers, you can build a really solid rapport and develop genuine relationships with these people. Not only does this lead to them promoting your business without being asked to, but the friendly atmosphere you’ve created through your account will also be seen by new followers and potential customers.