Authenticity is the keystone to long-term customer loyalty in the business world.
The ability to relate with your market and meet their needs in a personal and attentive way is the difference between a cheerleader who brings in more business by word of mouth and a dissatisfied or complacent customer who probably doesn’t come back themselves, much less encourage others to do so.
So…when it comes to social media engagement, is social media scheduling unauthentic?
Are you “pretending” to be something you’re not by scheduling social media instead of being “present” on each platform by yourself?
Maintaining an active presence online can be overwhelming and exhausting. In fact, most of our clients come to us because they’re burnt out by the time consumed trying to grow their audience.
The pressure to perform and be a social media rock star can feel like a chain that has you locked away at your desk for hours on end.
The drive to build and succeed can be intoxicating, but it begs a simple question.
How do you “do” your business if you’re always distracted by social media?
While social media plays a pivotal role in today’s marketplace, it is not the end-all, be-all.
We’ll be the first to say, your ability to serve your clients well and develop quality relationships takes the top spot in small business priorities.
And social media is just ONE of the tools that help you accomplish this goal.
The pressure to be real-time, always available to your client base on social media 24/7 is, in a word, crippling. Long-term success is all about delegation.
Scheduling social media is a necessary and fabulous way to allow you to engage online while giving the business right in front of you the attention that it deserves.
Authenticity is all about balance
Whether you’re on social media or not, developing an authentic relationship involves balancing the many facets of owning a business.
Your available time must be divided between the finances, marketing, staff, strategy, service, and all else that keeps a well-oiled machine running smoothly every day in the professional world.
Social media is just another facet to that dynamic.
Most clients who come to us burnt out are frustrated not because they feel like developing a strong social media presence cannot be done, but because they feel and know they are doing it inefficiently.
Scheduling social media allows you to delegate some (not all!) of the interactions you have with your followers, and can free up time and creative energy that needs to be put to better use in your business.
If you only scheduled social media for the rest of forever and never actively took a seat to chat and interact, yes, you’d have a big problem.
But balancing your active engagement with scheduling some well-timed shares of relevant content that your audience will enjoy is a perfect professional marriage.
How do you make this happen? What does that actually look like?
Scheduling social media while still developing an authentic relationship with your audience looks like this:
1. Schedule out content sharing once weekly.
Use a powerhouse tool like Hootsuite to bulk schedule content shares. Blog posts, articles and other information you think your audience might find interesting should be shared during prime hours and multiple times when you may or may not be at your computer.
2. Connect certain platforms with each other to cross-post automatically.
Hopping platforms can be annoying, especially if it’s typically just a matter of copy/paste. Utilize tools like Friends + Me to cross-post simple content across multiple platforms simultaneously. Typically, your least active platforms get the extension love of a cross-post. For example, our least active platform right now is LinkedIn. Every time we post to Twitter, it copies to LinkedIn. We’re phoning it in for a while on the platform that serves us the least (right now).
3. Allot a small amount of time each day to actively respond to customer inquiries, service requests or other social media shout outs.
Never miss the opportunity to reply to someone or say thank you for a generous share. When a customer or interested party proactively mention you on social media, responding in a timely manner can be the last piece of the puzzle to solidifying that relationship. Make sure everyone gets a response from you.
4. Assign one social media platform to each day.
Monday – Pinterest. Tuesday – Twitter. Wednesday – Facebook. Thursday – Instagram. Spend a small amount of time on these platforms on their appropriate days simple engaging with like-minded folks.
Leave comments on other business blogs, say hello, make new connections.
This is the time to be personable, relatable and generous with your time.
Showing interest in others is a great way to earn social media loyalty. Set a timer. Don’t get lost scrolling aimlessly.
This is a purposeful engagement time.
Are you starting to realize the difference?
Scheduling social media does not mean you aren’t present and that you are lying to your audience by “pretending” to be there. It just means you are prioritizing your time on social media to the quality, one-on-one personal interactions.
Schedule out the shares and blasts about coupons, blog posts, news and all else.
That information is a draw in the news feed of your followers.
They can click through the link, read more about you or what you thought they might be interested in, and start believing that you are an authority in your professional arena.
Then, when you personally engage with them, that trust is solidified by your attentiveness and availability, and the customer/vendor relationship blossoms.