Interacting with folks on social media is tricky enough when you’re doing so for personal reasons – since 80% of human communication comes through non-verbal cues, tone, and inflection, specific intent can often be lost over online social channels. Add in the complexity of developing and maintaining key business relationships over social media and that interaction requires a whole new level of skill and craft.
The folks you decide to bring into the fold of your business and have advocate on your behalf are going to expect a certain kind of treatment from you. Remember, we, the general public, are always wondering what you, a business, will do for us, and that’s an even more prevalent wonder if businesses are asking us to openly support them.
If you’re wondering how to react to and manage these expectations, we’ve got a few tips for you.
- Act with grace but hold firm to your plans. The folks you appeal to, to advocate your brand and products are going to have expectations of the kind of treatment you’ll be showing them. After all, you’ve deemed them important to the success of your company and made them aware of their position. While lots of people are honored by that role, others take advantage of it and will make unreasonable demands of you. It’s important to stand your ground with these people, but behave with grace and humility. Show your appreciation for their involvement and apologize for any mistakes or glitches that come up, but don’t give overly preferential treatment because one wheel is squeaking a bit too much. Work with these folks to identify simple things you can integrate into your efforts to keep them happy, but do not go overboard; the level of your response to them should be directly proportional to the validity of their needs and concerns.
- Don’t automate your influencer interactions. There are some pieces of social media interaction and response that you can automate, like link sharing and general responses to frequently asked questions. But we recommend that you personalize all your online influencer interactions and avoid any sort of canned responses or other automated response tacks. The culture social media has fostered is one of openness and human response between businesses and their customers, and you will invariably make a bad impression if you’re reaching out to your most important advocates in automated ways.
- Rotate folks in and out of your influencer program as needed. This one might seem harsh, but the truth is the lifespan of a person’s role within your brand’s circle of influencers is finite. Some people will be long-term players and invest significant amounts of time and effort into supporting the reputation of your brand. Others will enjoy their moment in the spotlight but eventually move on. Within your influencer program strategy, make sure to include a clear process for rotating folks out of the program in a way that makes them feel good about their contributions to their brand and the time they spent with you. Never leave these influencers hanging or feeling unclear about their role.
These are a few simple yet foundational aspects of interacting with your brand influencers. What would you add to the mix? If you have an influencer program, what not-so-obvious tactics do you use to make sure your influencers remain happy and continue promoting your company?