Interaction sparks action. There is a world of good that can come from starting or joining in a conversation online, much of which cannot be achieved without getting involved. You are not posting online for yourself, so it is important to incorporate your current and potential followers into the equation in order to reap the return that comes from it. But what exactly are the benefits that you can gain through consistent and meaningful interactions?
1. Establish rapport and trust among current and potential followers
It takes a long time to establish yourself online, for better or for worse. Those who are successful at creating a strong following are, in large part, those who incorporate their audience every step of the way. When you think about what your audience wants to hear, provide them the content they are seeking, and keep the lines of communication consistently open, you can become a go-to resource that much quicker. You’ll not only have the support of your customers, but a well-established rapport and higher level of trust from those who matter most.
2. Take a giant step forward in your customer service efforts
Many people think that customer service only happens in person or over the phone, but those people are wrong. Customers are going online to learn what they need to know and if your business is not available or responsive to these online questions, comments, or concerns, then you are setting yourself up for failure. So whether you are responding in a timely manner to an email; keeping your website up-to-date with all of the latest must-have information; or responding to a direct message or comment on your social media platforms, you need to be online to keep your customers happy.
3. Show followers that your online platforms have a human component
With so many businesses choosing to automate their online presence, it’s nice to know that you’re interacting with a human. Your audience doesn’t want to see automated post after automated post about who followed or unfollowed your accounts; poorly constructed, generic welcomes to new followers; or the exact same promotion for your content time and time again. So if you tailor your posts and responses to your followers to show that, not only do you care what they’re saying, but are taking the time to thoughtfully reply to their specific contributions, then your humanness will be a real difference-maker.
4. Open yourself up to new followers through your social nature
Being online already opens your business up to new people, but you can expand your reach to new realms by becoming more social. It just takes one piece of content to speak to someone new and open yourself up to a new follower, so the more active you are, the more people you can reach, and the more potential you have to increase your following. This ability to extend your existing following then allows you to build your network, add brand advocates, and even increase your influence, all because you are active and engaged across your platforms!
It’s no longer just a helpful suggestion to get involved in the online conversation, but rather a non-debatable expectation. The benefits of jumping in on the conversation, getting to know your audience, and providing a clearly communicative online presence are certainly present, so it is less about the desire to do so and more about the need if your company wants to thrive online.