Social media has been a great tool over the years to spread the word.
We’ve all become very savvy at typing a post, creating an image or video, generating a hashtag or two, and scheduling or publishing posts that share content out to whatever audience is relevant to us.
For a while, that process seemed difficult. Now many people are very skilled at creating outbound content, and businesses are either executing a social media strategy themselves or hiring someone to do it for them.
The problem arises when individuals, brands, or businesses assume that social media is a one-way hose used to distribute their content to other people. Their communication goes in one direction: outward. In fact, social media was never intended to be used only for outbound, and times are reminding us of that reality.
Enter the private messages.
We’ve seen social platforms begin to invest mightily in the ability for users to interact with each other privately.
Facebook recently made mighty steps and investments to develop Facebook Messenger, even going so far as to push Facebook users to a dedicated messenger app instead of using the feature within the standard mobile application. There’s even a dedicated website just for people to use Facebook Messenger to connect with each other.
Snapchat is now second place only to Facebook and is used primarily as a messaging app. Users are encouraged to connect one-on-one with each other through private snaps or messages.
WhatsApp is another messaging service that allows people to connect not just through text but also voice, video, and emojis.
These are just a few of the top competitors for the messaging space, and more features are constantly being rolled out to enhance user experience: encryption, creative tools for self-expression, and third-party discovery apps to help users find each other based on interests.
Why are private messages important to you?
Because they eradicate that notion of the one-way content:
- Private messages are the intake conduit for your customers, your friends, and your fans to interact with you authentically.
- They are opportunities for you to create relationships and generate rapport with the people who are vital to your livelihood.
- Private messages are what connects us as human beings, one to another, and often removes or exposes higher agendas so that genuine relationships can be formed.
If the message (ha!) still isn’t getting through, let’s paint another picture:
Let’s pretend or assume you run your business or mission from a brick-and-mortar location. You’ve got great signage: a fabulous looking sign over your entry which can be seen from the highway; an attractive storefront; clear messaging to show visitors where to find what they need; even an overhead announcement system to alert customers of special deals!
If a customer walks up to you and asks you where to find the sunflower seeds, you do one of two things:
- Let them finish their question, and then respond by telling them about your July 4th sale on garden shears… or
- Ignore them completely as you continue snapping pictures to share on your brand’s Instagram account.
If you cringe at that visual, we’re on the same page. This is why private messages are vital: they’re equivalent to a customer approaching you to interact. You have an open door to win their loyalty, provide a resource, and create a relationship that lasts.
Or you could keep working on that next great outbound post.
A special message
For brands and businesses which have been primarily focused on outbound-only messages and have not yet focused on incoming private messages: STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING.
You’re missing the forest for the trees. You’re casting your line into a vast lake without realizing the fish are trying to jump into your boat. You’re spraying down everything around you with your one-way hose and completely missing the opportunities of people trying to reach back to you.
Recent statistics indicate 89% of brands on social media never respond to incoming comments questions or complaints.
Do you get what this means? The opportunity is now for you to set yourself apart and be that presence which responds to each person with relationship as your intention. For your potential and existing customers and followers, relationship wins every time.
If you need help with how to set up your processes for responding to private messages and even public comments received through social media, let’s chat. I promise to answer your message. ??