How to Stay Active on Social Media
Situations, for lack of a better word, might someday arise when your first instinct will be to withdraw from the public sphere entirely, like a turtle retreating into its shell. For the sake of your small business, you'll undoubtedly do anything to preserve its reputation, especially when it comes to online interactions. Hiding from social media accounts, however, might be another nail in the proverbial coffin.
Why? Psychological and rhetorical complexities aside, it's more or less because consumers will notice something's up. When your brand is a long-time user of social media and then suddenly flips the off switch, without any forewarning to speak of, it doesn't look good. So what if you're actually struggling and would prefer to have a little peace of mind while you sort things out? Refer to the small business tips below to use social media to your advantage:
Stay as open as possible
If there are reasons for you to draw a few corporate curtains, then it makes sense that you'd want as few people as possible to know why. Maybe finances are tough, for instance, or your production has been halved by some circumstance or another. No one will fault you for wanting to take some time to sort through these issues alone, without curious consumers knocking down your digital door. However, it's for this reason that remaining open is something to be considered. What's the harm in telling your loyal customers that you'll be going offline to "focus on an internal revamp" or some other vague sentiment? At least they'll know why you've gone away. If you have a very open and real relationship with your consumers, where you'd be able to pick out a few from a crowd by name, go ahead and tell them what's happening. The results might surprise you.
Build a rapport you can count on
Your consumers already like your products. With the advent of social media, which is becoming an assumed necessity rather than an optional tool, your followers will have an opportunity to get to know you and your brand in a very public way, which could - and often does - cause them to forge even deeper connections with your products. Frankly, this ability to construct real-time relationships with your customers is one of social media's greatest assets, but it does come with a price - people will want regular updates, regardless of what's happening. In an effort to encourage this open communication, you should strive to maintain activity.
When all else fails, distract them
If it looks like a time out from social media is impossible to avoid, there are ways to take a week or two away from the keyboard without your consumers being any the wiser. A contest, for instance, often doesn't require your help every step of the way, and you'll have a nice, distracting cushion between you and them. Instead of noticing every seemingly imperceptible nuance, people will be focused on how they can win whatever it is you've decided to host through your social media accounts. Make it lengthy, make it straightforward and make it count, and be sure that you're staying true to the deadlines you've set. If you need a little more time to get everything back in working order even after the contest has ended, refer to the first two points.
The hardest part about public exposure is keeping up with it. Even when you're overwhelmed with work and need a little break, the people who have grown to rely on your consistency will still be there. While it's entirely up to you whether your consumers kept apprised of your goings-on, just remember - you are ultimately in control of the information you share.