One of the best ways to grow your audience is by getting social media feedback. This has a number of advantages. It will give people the feeling that you’re embedded in a community, give you ideas about where you should head and what you should talk about and keep your audience engaged.
So how do you get people to give respond to your questions, ideas and queries? That’s the question we’re going to explore today.
Ask for it
Okay, that’s pretty obvious and no doubt you could have come up with this one on your own. But what you might not have considered is how you should ask. We have this tendency on social media to ask people broadly. The thing is, when you do that you’re sociopsychological phenomenon of the diffusion of responsibility to take place.
The larger a group of people, the less responsible individuals in that group will feel for requests of assistance. This is why, when there is an accident, you’re actually more likely to get helped when there is only one person there rather than a big group. This is also why people won’t give you any feedback, despite you asking for it.
There is an easy way to avoid this problem, however. To do so, all you need to do is direct your question at specific people, instead of at the audience in general. So, if you’re looking for feedback, then ask specific people to give it to you. Perhaps you can approach the people who have been interacting with you in the first place.
From there, the power of social norms will start to help you out. We do what other people do. And once people see that other people are starting to comment, they’re more likely to do so as well.
Note that it’s also incredibly easy to get social norms to work against you. If you make people feel that nobody is responding to your social media posts – perhaps by complaining about it – then you’re going to make them less likely to respond.
So, don’t do that.
A better idea is to highlight the times you do get feedback. And, if you’re struggling to get some to begin with, to create situations where people can’t be influenced by other people. For example, by sending private messages.
A good idea is to advertise the feedback you’ve gotten and how you’ve used it. That will both give people the idea that there is feedback and that the feedback that you receive is being used and implemented.
If you want feedback about a specific problem, then surveys are definitely the way to go. They’re fortunately not that hard to do. You can create polls on most social media sites and – if you don’t want people to influence each other – you can also create questionnaires elsewhere.
Some things to consider when you’re making surveys:
- Keep them short. Half-filled in surveys are pretty much useless. What’s more, once somebody has abandoned one of your surveys, they’re far less likely to start another one.
- At the end, ask them if they’d fill in more surveys for you and if they do, take their email address. It’s been shown that if people agree to do something for you, they are more likely to do it and put more effort into doing it.
- Protect people’s anonymity! This goes without saying, but we assume that when we give feedback our opinions will not be broadcasted. So, do that. And make people aware that this is what you’re doing.
- Learn what leading questions are. The problem with leading questions is that though you might get the answer you want, it wouldn’t be the answer people would actually have given if the question would have been framed objectively. And so, asking them can lead you down the garden path and give you the wrong conclusions.
Here I don’t mean offer payment. The two are entirely different. The moment you offer some kind of prize or reward, your feedback becomes work and people will not enjoy doing it. If, on the other hand, you get them to do it out of their own free will and then reward some of them afterwards with some surprise gifts, the situation is entirely different.
They did it because they wanted to and as a thank you, you gave them something. This will make them feel appreciated and will make them think more highly of you. In this way, they’ll be far more likely to help you to again in the future.
Never leave anybody hanging
Whenever you do get feedback, make sure you that you actually respond to the person who sent you the message. This is particularly relevant if they comment on a post, a comment on anything like that. Even better, don’t just let them know that you’re grateful, but ask them a question about what they said.
The reason this can be incredibly effective is that in commenting on your stuff, they’ve already showed that they’re not just watchers but engagers. Then, by engaging these people further, you’re creating a conversation and keeping them engaged with you.
From there, they’ll be generally more likely to comment on things more in the future. Even better, they might even provoke others to engage with you more (yes, by changing the norms associated with your social media).