How to make (social) friends and keep them.

Created by Laurey Kiehne
November 25, 2015

No, this isn’t for you personally (although maybe you need help with that, too). This is for your company – for your brand. And your brand is a lot like a person – to be popular, you’re going to have to make friends with some people (aka your customers). You’re probably thinking, “Well, duh, we know we need customers!” But you might be surprised how many brands and companies are not using their social interactions to their full potential.

We like to think of social media as if you are having a conversation with your best friends. You joke, you laugh, you talk about serious topics, too. You share your life together. Why would your social media be any different? So let’s bring to light some of those common mistakes and make lots of friends.

But, first things first.

Who are you?

Seems like a simple question, but unless your company has a strong brand, it may not be that easy to answer. (We define brand as: the “why” you exist as a company that is woven throughout the entire organization). Imagine your company is a real live person. What do they look like? What do they wear? How do they talk? Are they funny, snarky, intelligent? As an exercise, draw what your company would look like as a human being. Use your brand attributes as a place to start and go from there.

Don’t have brand attributes or feeling stuck? Go here.

Who is your audience?

Now imagine your company has a BFF (aka your target audience). Where do they spend most of their time? What are they like? What could your company say to get a great conversation started with them? What’s going to make them think? What’s going to make them laugh? What do they care about?

Create a profile for your ideal client/customer/target. Who are they and what are they all about? Use this empathy map to get started.

Where do they hang out?

Or really, what social media platforms do they use? (Check out this great article to figure out where your audience really is Social Media Demographics to Inform a Better Segmentation Strategy). Just because it is considered popular doesn’t mean it’s the right platform to reach your audience.

Lastly, here’s how you can be great friends.

  1. Don’t always talk about yourself. Provide something that benefits your friends (audience). Share content that is interesting and engaging, and something they resonate with or strikes up a discussion. And don’t forget to listen and respond; it really is like having a conversation.
  2. Be you. How are you different from your other friends? What makes you stand out? Are you saying the same things as everyone else? Or, do you have something different to offer and bring to the table? Are you being authentic? No one is going to believe that it’s all rainbows and butterflies all the time either, so try to be as true to your attributes as possible.
  3. Share fun memories. Everyone likes to remember the good times – hello TBT – so create experiences that you can share with your friends later. By sharing similar or not-so-similar experiences, we empathise with and understand one another better.
  4. Give them gifts. Give your most loyal and engaged followers some love and provide them with special discounts, free content, sneak peeks, or a contest. Help them feel loved and they’ll keep coming back.
  5. Tell a good story. Everyone loves a good story, and we don’t really have to tell you why storytelling is so important (but we will say that it transcends time and culture). So, what is yours? It should reveal something personal about your brand. It should give your audience a glimpse into what life is really like from your lense. It should connect with your audience on an emotional level. It should make them feel something – sadness, warmth, joy, inspiration. And it should take them on a narrative journey, guiding them through the transformation.

Also, don’t be afraid to run experiments. You never know what might hit your audience at the right time. We don’t really believe there is a silver bullet or a top ten list of things “you should do on social media.” But we do believe that the more true you stay to your brand, and the more clearly you communicate, the more successful you’ll be and the more friends you will make.

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