Decades ago, Marvin Gaye crooned about hearing news through the grapevine. This 1968 hit was around long before the likes of social media, but let’s be honest – social media is the digital grapevine of our time.

Drawing on the inspiration of singers like Gaye, we’ve created a musically inspired list of tips to help you communicate on social media. After all, social media is about more than status updates, hashtags and selfies. It’s about having a conversation with new and loyal customers. Not to mention, it’s a great way to show off your customer service skills. Here’s how to improve your social media skills:

1. Don’t just “Shout it Out Loud”
KISS is a big fan of shouting, but shouting is just a loud, one-sided conversation. You don’t want that on your social media feeds. Make sure your posts do more than just tell customers something. If that’s all you do, it’s very one-sided. Mix up the kinds of posts you share, including product or service updates, but be sure you’re engaged in the conversation by answering questions or comments.

Sure, you should let customers know about an upcoming sale or tell subscribers about a new service that you’re about to add, but make sure these informational posts aren’t the only think you’re posting. What else should you post? Bonnie Raitt has a few ideas.

2. “Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About”
Raitt’s got the right idea. When it comes to posting messages on social media, try to give people something to talk about.

“Questions are great conversation starters,” Derek Overbey, our Senior Social Media Manager says. “They can be general life questions or more business-focused, depending on your type of company.”

Take a look at the example below from the San Francisco Ballet, which garnered 40+ comments:

Other types of content like humorous photos, memes and videos can also spark conversation.

3. Be sure to “Answer Me”
Nat King Cole wanted an answer, and so do your social media followers. When a customer responds to a question, asks a question, retweets something you posted, comments on a photo, or signs up for a social contest, respond in a timely manner.

“If someone takes the time to like, comment or share, you should do everything in your power to publicly thank them for that effort,” Overbey says.

“This will help you build a tighter relationship and can go a long way to building a team of advocates that can spread the word about your company,” he adds.

Monitor your social channels often to keep the conversation going.

4. You should “Talk The Talk”
You know your product or service inside and out. Share that knowledge to help your customers use your product or service better. In other words, “Talk the Talk” as Mr. Mister’s 80s song title suggests.

For example, if you own a photography business, share a link to help your customers care for their camera after taking pictures in bad weather.

Make sure the article is written in a conversational tone, avoid sales pitches, and offer your customers value. It should be information that helps your customer in some way. Take this tweet for example. We offer some creative help for our customers.

The bottom line:  Make sure you post engaging content, respond to comments and work to have a two-way conversation with your followers. If you do this, they’ll “Thank You for Being a Friend.”

Have another suggestion? Please share it. We can all improve “With a Little Help From Our Friends.”

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