You’ve set up your social media profiles and have established a semi-regular posting schedule. Those are fabulous first steps, but they aren’t enough. A catalyst for brand growth, social media marketing is vital to maintaining a flourishing online presence. However, engagement is the key to becoming a successful user of social media channels. Social media done well can increase brand awareness, boost conversions, and improve your company’s bottom line. Here are some tips for increasing engagement on your social media accounts.
1. Don’t Be a Social Media Loner
Social media platforms are an excellent arena for letting people know who you are and what your brand is all about. That being said, if all you do is talk about yourself, you might maintain a small group of followers but will find minimal success in gaining new ones. Joining groups or creating groups is a social (get it? SOCIAL media?) way to get your name out there and gain followers. Of course, you want to be strategic about which groups you join or what types of forums you start. Make sure the topic is relevant to your brand and that it will increase the chances of reaching potential customers.
Join conversations about challenges in your industry or the latest trends in your area. Share your experience and expertise but try to do so without overwhelming conversations or coming across as a know it all. Create groups relevant to your area and invite prospective customers and key influencers to join the discussion. Encourage conversations around topics meaningful to your brand but avoid making it all about you.
2. You Don’t Have to Create Everything Yourself
Share other people’s content, especially when someone else provides a better answer to a question or finds a truly unique approach to a topic. Your customers will appreciate your ability to provide them with the best solution to their questions or challenges and won’t give too much thought to the origin of the content. The more relevant information you provide in your social media feed, the more attractive your brand becomes to followers. Offering content from a diverse group of sources also helps keep things a bit more interesting.
It is also important to share content from your followers, especially those who spend a good deal of time interacting with your brand. Customers appreciate a shout out for their efforts and something as simple as reposting someone else’s content lets them know that you read their posts and are actively following them. Often, followers will interact with your reply by liking or sharing your comment which, once again, pushes out your content and brand name. The more you can spark customer engagement, the more exposure for your organization.
3. Model the Engagement You Want from Your Followers
Writing direct responses to your followers’ content is the best way to fully engage with them. It makes the customer feel valued and encourages more interaction. Best practice is to utilize social media tools to discover users who are posting about your brand so you can ensure that you are connecting to the people who find value in what you have to offer. Consider establishing a specific, brand-centered hashtag that you include every time you engage with someone.
To take the engagement one step further, be sure to personalize your responses. Directly address the user by their name to show that the response has been thoughtfully written by an actual human being and isn’t an automatically generated message. This type of personalization builds stronger relationships by projecting a community-centered, friendly feel instead of giving the perception of being a large, cold corporation.
Engagement isn’t just about responses, likes, and shares. Open conversations with your customers by posing questions. Ask what the person’s best experience with your brand is or his favorite product or service. You’ll not only receive valuable information for your organization, but you will also help spark discussion among your followers. And pay attention to the “speech” patterns of your followers. If you are engaging with someone who obviously loves to communicate with emoticons, do the same in your response. This will not only take the conversation to the consumer’s comfort zone, but it will also amuse other readers as well.
4. Visuals Speak Volumes
In addition to emojis, you can also add excitement and interest to your social media posts by using images and videos. Many social media users are so focused on visual content that they scroll right past posts containing only plain text. Include a short video or GIF into your posts to catch the attention of those scrollers. Use captivating images to make your content attractive to all different types of social media users and increase the likelihood that your content will be shared.
Hashtags serve multiple purposes on social media platforms. They help keywords stand out in a post, are useful for tracking conversations about specific topics, and help connect with people also using a specific hashtag. Less is more, though, when it comes to hashtags. Too many can muddy up a post and diminish the relevance of the content. Establish a small handful of brand-centered, industry-relevant hashtags to use in your original posts as well as in your interactions with other social media users. They are a great way to connect with people and increase brand awareness.
5. Who Doesn’t Love a Survey?
People love to give their opinions and to share their experiences. Surveys and polls posted on your social media accounts are an excellent way to gain customer feedback and to provide a listening forum for people who have something to say. We’ll talk about analytics in a bit, but just like your other posts, surveys and polls should be posted at times your target audience is usually active on the platform. The information you receive can not only inform your business practices, but it can also provide material for future marketing campaigns.
6. If Surveys are Great, Free Stuff is Even Better
Reward engagement by presenting your followers something in return for following you, for using one of your brand hashtags, or for sharing your content. Whether you are offering a break on a membership fee, a discount code, or a free product or service, your followers will appreciate the gesture. You can also run a simple contest that encourages social media users to engage with your brand for the chance of winning a prize. Running fair contests is important so use a random selection tool to generate a winner and let your followers know that is how the winner will be chosen.
7. Be Noticeably Active
If users think your social media account is inactive, they are unlikely to continue following you and even more unlikely to interact with your brand. Publish useful and relevant content on a regular and frequent basis. It is important to remember how much content is pushed out on social media platforms. One post a day might not be enough to ensure that your followers actually notice your content amongst the hundreds of other posts popping up in their feed. Keep your audience updated about your brand. Post about the latest company news, new offers, industry trends, etc. Regular posting also helps your search engine optimization as Google ranks brands with fresh content higher than those without.
8. Industry Trends and Consumer Issues
It is important to show your followers and potential customers that you value what is going on outside the walls of your business. Engage with posts on issues and trends relevant to your industry to demonstrate your desire to stay up to date in your area and your concern for various social happenings. Share or respond to posts that discuss the pain points of your target audience and, without an overwhelming sales pitch, provide information that educates, edifies, and enriches the conversation.
9. Metrics Matter
There are a number of helpful analytics tools that can help you monitor levels of engagement on your social media accounts. The data produced provides rich insights to help you understand how you can adjust your marketing campaigns for improved engagement and conversion rates. You can use the tools to track the number of views, links, and clicks. This helps to identify the types of content that perform best on your accounts and can also help you understand what are the optimal times to post on the different platforms.
Different analytics tools offer different insight so don’t be afraid to check out multiple resources to get the best data you can to measure your social media engagement. Some of the most popular and informative tools out there are Google Analytics and Hootsuite which provide a broader look at the performance of multiple social sites. There are also platform-specific analytics tools available on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook that provide a more in-depth analysis of posts within that platform. For example, Twitter Analytics gives users weekly figures that show the top tweet or top mention while Facebook can provide specific information about the users that interact with your account. Most of these analytics tools are customizable to help you obtain whatever information will best inform your use of social media platforms.
There are also other online resources that can help you find new followers. These online apps and websites let you specify keywords and will then match you up with groups based on those keywords so you can take part in conversations on topics you specialize in. These resources not only increase brand awareness, but they also help you increase your social media engagement by linking you with people interested in discussions within your niche.
Social media engagement isn’t easy. It takes time, dedication, and strategy. To summarize:
1. Join groups, forums, and conversations that give you the opportunity to be helpful, to show your expertise, and to showcase your brand in a positive manner.
2. Share content from other experts in your area as well as content from your followers.
3. Purposefully engage with others to demonstrate how you’d like them to interact with your brand.
4. Use emoticons, images, videos to change things up from boring text blocks.
5. Post surveys and polls on your social media accounts to gain information and encourage interactions.
6. Run contests and giveaways – people love free stuff and will engage to get it!
7. Stay active on your social media accounts. Post regularly and frequently.
8. Don’t just talk about your brand, follow industry trends and consumer issues and include those topics in your posts.
9. Inform your practices with data. Utilize analytics tools to understand how best to leverage your presence on social media.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing love everything social media. From writing content to optimizing images and video to digging into analytics, we can help you make the most of your social media accounts. Contact us today!