Most companies operating during the digital age are aware of how powerful social media can be. It can be a place to advertise your services, build a loyal following, and engage with your target audience. But how do you decide what kind of digital content will drive people to your pages, and keep them coming back? My advice: become an expert listener.
I recently finished my first year as a graduate student in a counseling program and my first year working for a digital marketing agency. It may seem like there is not a lot of crossover between these vastly different fields, but both are driven by building lasting relationships and meeting the needs of clients. As a counselor in training, I am learning how important it is to develop expert listening skills. These skills include active listening, frequent engagement, practicing patience, and being flexible. As a content creator in training, I have learned that these same listening skills can be used to produce quality social media content that is tailored to your audience.
Here are a few tips on how to integrate listening skills into your company’s social media content creation:
As a future counselor, it will be part of my job to listen with intention to everything my clients say. This is how I’ll decide how I can best provide support that is tailored to their needs. Since most service-driven businesses don’t get weekly one-on-ones with clients, it’s important to get creative with how you can listen to what your customers are looking for on social media. A couple ways to do this are:
- Avoid assumptions – You may have an idea of what kind of content you think would engage your clients or future clients. While you are the one who is going to know your clients best, try not to get caught up on what you assume they will like. Pay attention to what kind of posts your followers engage with most and go from there.
- Do your research – It can be helpful to know the demographics of your usual customers and target audience. Knowing information such as their usual age group can help you decide which social media platforms deserve more of your attention. For example, Snapchat and Instagram are most popular among 18 to 24 year olds while Facebook is most popular with people over 50.
Quality counseling relationships are built through frequent and consistent communication. This can also be true when building rapport with your social media followers. It’s important your followers “hear” from you frequently by seeing posts several days a week. This can let them know that you are still invested in building a relationship. A couple ways you can stay engaged are:
- Plan ahead – Create posts before the week you plan to send them out. This way you will not lose quality due to the need to quickly create posts, and you will already know you will be able to engage with your followers several times that week. You can use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule posts so that you don’t have to set a timer every time you need to put something up.
- Write a blog – Weekly or monthly blogs can let your customers know you are active online, and provide content that is shareable and reusable on social media. They’re also a great way to share your point of view in a longer format than many social media platforms provide for.
No lasting relationship is built overnight. It can take months and even years to build a counseling relationship that the client finds beneficial and is based on trust. Once you actively listen to what your followers want to see, and you start engaging with them regularly, the next step is to be patient. A couple ways to do this are:
- Simply give it time – Your target audience will need time to find your social media pages, and time to start engaging.
- Stay consistent – Try not to become discouraged if the content you’re putting out doesn’t quickly lead to an increased follower count. Staying consistent by writing that blog and posting frequently will show anyone who visits your social media that you may be worth following.
A counseling intervention is unsuccessful if the counselor thinks it is helping while the client believes otherwise. If over time you observe that the content you’re creating just isn’t connecting with your followers, don’t be afraid to be flexible and try something new. A couple ways you can do this are:
- Tweak your strategy – Sometimes changing simple things such as the tone of voice you use in posts or the types of photos you choose can make an impact. Try adding video or other media to attract more attention.
- Bring in an expert – It can be overwhelming to tackle your company’s social media if it is something new. Professional digital marketers have seen what works for other companies, and know how to implement new strategies. Your time may be better spent elsewhere in your company while you let professionals take on the content creation.
LuckyTamm Digital Marketing has created social media strategies for a wide variety of clients and can custom tailor a plan to fit your brand. We use these listening strategies in our client interactions every day, from social media and beyond. If you’re ready for some help with your social media strategy, get in touch with us today!