By Jeanne Beirne, Founder and CEO, Tabengin Consulting
One of the first things to understand about social media is that it is social. It is not traditional advertising for your product, but rather an entity that rewards community and your engagement.
This requires a different strategy and one way is to build a community.
You are building content for your followers and potential followers. Always remember to put people first and your brand second because they are the main character.
It is important specifically in this industry to understand that your followers are at different stages of understanding their hair loss and are trying to discover what will work for them. You are there to help them and be that resource when they are ready to move forward with a hair loss solution.
How do you engage and build your community?
Content: The content that you post should speak to them, engage them, educate them and entertain them. It all starts with your content.
• People will only engage with you if you provide them with lots of value and solve their problems.
• Create content that actually helps your community — snackable-sized how-to videos or quick Q&As.
Human Interaction: Your followers want to know they can have a conversation with you.
• Are you showing up in stories? You can use Instagram stories to collect the most popular questions your community has about you and your brands.
• Answering your direct messages in a timely and sincere way?
• Are you asking how you can help your followers?
• You need to make it easy for your followers to talk to you so show up consistently.
Auto Interaction: An automated direct message service within your social media platform.
• Sometimes your followers have simple questions and you can use automation here. It should not be your only tool in the kit though since most know when they are talking to a chatbot.
• My suggestion, be clear it is a bot.
Find an influencer in your niche: We all need special friends.
• We are seeing more and more hair loss influencers, including micro-influencers with whom you could build a relationship and move toward collaborations.
• An influencer can put another face to your brand that followers can identify with through your content.
Engagement: Get to know other people.
• Respond to people who leave comments in a sincere way. it is also good to ask them a question back based on their comment.
• There is an emotional punch to what you are providing and there is a vulnerability to someone leaving a comment with a question.
• Go to your followers’ pages and comment on their most recent post. Make sure your comment ties back to their post and has value. Spread some love back.
• Engage with their stories, too. It’s easy to do and builds community.
• Interact with those organizations that support your mission like alopecia or trichotillomania nonprofits.
The goal is to create a safe, warm environment, and the way to do that is by building a community.
Here are some quick action items to try on your page:
• Jump on your stories and introduce yourself and why you have your business.
• Share education on your posted content. It could be about alopecia, trichotillomania, or anything that ties into what you do, but not about your products and services specifically.
• Film a fun video — a tutorial on a fun way to wear hair — or a reel that captures the personality of your business.
• Identify five followers (not peer businesses) and go to their pages and comment on a recent post.
• Do an introduction post on your feed. Share who you are.
My final nuggets regarding social media:
• These are demanding platforms and your account growth and engagement will suffer when you are not consistent. Post and engage daily.
• There actually is no relationship between your financial success and the size of your followers. In this industry, many hair loss people will not hit the follow button, but they will be following quietly.
• Social media marketing is a long game so build your strategy and know that having a presence is a must because future clients will look at your social media to get a feel for you and your brand.
• If you are expecting quick and direct sales, social media can be frustrating and you will be disappointed. Remember, it is a relationship and community-building engine that helps people become comfortable with you.