Social engagement is going to be the key to cultivating a true following on your business social media profiles. Many businesses have finally come around to establishing a social media presence online but are failing to engage with their followers, or other social media users, in a meaningful way. Social engagement is any kind of interaction that someone may have with your brand on social media – such as posting on your pages or ads, “liking” your posts, direct messaging and more. By being proactive in your responses, facilitating conversations and encouraging engagement, your users come to know, recognize and interact with your brand.
Not only is this good from a customer loyalty perspective and generally translates into more sales, but it is how you stay fresh within the social network’s algorithms. Just posting content (even if it’s really good) is no longer enough. The less people engage with your posts, the less you will show up in their feed. This means that over time, you could systematically become invisible to your entire following – even if you continue to post regularly. If you want to increase social engagement on your social media efforts, here are 10 ways to make an impact and to stay in your customer’s feed.
Start & Strategy
Are you aware of what your social engagement currently looks like? It’s important to do an introductory evaluation of what is happening across your social media profiles using your profile insights. Are people commenting? What portion of your audience is seeing your posts? Once you have a starting position, you can better assess which tactics are working and which ones are not moving forward. From here, identify a voice and a strategy for your brand. You can choose to be funny, professional, casual, informational and much more. Your tone will speak to the kind of brand you own and should be carried through all your communications. Get used to communicating in this tone in all of your responses, comments and messages that your business may have with other users.
Ensure that you are posting content that is relatable to your audience. Remember that your social feed is not meant to double as your paid advertising platform. Posting only sales-focused content usually has a negative impact on social engagement. Find content that is connected with your business but is also read-worthy to a follower. For example, a coffee shop may want to post an article about different uses for coffee grounds. This would be something that a follower may be interested in, while still staying away from sales pitches. Memes, funny stories, internal news, feel-good stories, informational articles and promotions are all great examples of different content to utilize on your social media pages. Working with a marketing agency like Strategic Marketing will allow you to have fresh, dynamic content to share every month. Since content creation is a time-consuming and tricky initiative, an agency partner can help concept and develop material regularly.
Start a Conversation
Followers are not likely to engage your post or product if you don’t give them a reason to! Use call-to-actions to pull people into commenting, sharing or liking your post. Two great ways to do this are to ask people to share their photos related to your post, or to pose a question you’d like them to answer. In our coffee shop example, a question like “When is your favorite time to have coffee?” is an effective way to drive social engagement. Get your followers to start talking to you or with each other through relatable and meaningful messaging.
Responding to Your Social Engagement
This might be the key to truly unlocking a successful social engagement strategy. All too often, comments and messages to a business’ page go unanswered. No one likes to be ignored! Even if they post a simple thumbs-up, make sure to acknowledge users who are interacting with your brand. If you are one of the lucky ones that receives a ton of comments, then make sure to come up with a follow-up strategy that makes sense for your business. Perhaps you choose to focus on answering questions only or you make sure to respond to every 5th comment. However you choose to proceed, your participation in the engagement is what will make users feel like you are listening.
Hashtags are keywords or phrases written with no spaces following the “#” sign. In social media, these hashtags are used to group things together. Users can search for a keyword and get results based on this hashtag. For example, our coffee shop owner can use #coffee so when a user searches for coffee they will see the hashtagged post along with other posts that utilize the same hashtag. Some businesses create their own hashtags so that followers can use them too. Remember that anything can be a hashtag but staying relevant to your business and services is the more appropriate approach.
Giveaways & Other Incentives
This one is fairly simple. Sharing giveaways, contests or coupons that are only available through your social profile provides an incentive for users to share and follow your page. Even small giveaways encourage participation from your followers and are effective at driving social engagement on your page.
Social Engagement Polls & Surveys
Polls are an excellent way to engage your following. They are quick and show up right in the feed so your followers have easy access to answer the question. On top of increasing your engagement, you can get valuable feedback and audience information by leveraging the correct questions. By learning more about your following, you can better tailor your content to resonate with your social media followers. An agency like Strategic Marketing can help you develop a dynamic content calendar for your social media profiles that is both, tailored to your audience and drives engagement on your pages.
A great way of getting followers to pay attention to your brand is by actually mentioning them in your posts. Do you have a superfan? Give them a shoutout! Perhaps a follower shared a related article – share it! Creating a personal rapport is a great way of retaining loyal followers and showing new followers that you’re actively listening to them. Don’t be afraid of mentioning other companies and engaging their audience too. Our coffee shop owner may wish to share an article from the distributor or from a company that sells thermoses. Some business owners fear that sharing other company’s content is taking sales away from themselves. However, this is actually quite untrue. By sharing non-competitor brands, you are opening up your post’s reach and complementary brands will not impede on your market share. The more relevant and helpful your posts can be to the user, the more they will continue to interact with your company.
Be aware of trending topics, ideas and news! A lot of content on social media is relevant one day and gone the next. Staying current will ensure that people are going to be interested in what you have to say. The last thing you want to be – is yesterday’s news. Most platforms feature a “trending” section where you can see what is most relevant that week. Make sure to keep your audience in mind. What’s trending for YOUR audience will be the key to boosting your social engagement.
Everyone likes a feel-good story. If your company is participating in community events, giving back, celebrating staff anniversaries, going green or taking a stance on social events, then share that with your followers. People want to feel connected to the community and see the companies they do business with do the same. Earn some goodwill while also increasing your social engagement with posts that “hit home” with your audience.
This list is by no means the only set of tactics that you can use to drive social engagement and there are tons of creative ways you can enhance the way you interact with your audience. One important thing to note is that improving social engagement takes time and consistency. A trusted marketing agency like Strategic Marketing can help carry the load of this time-consuming endeavor while aiding in custom content and creative development. To get your free marketing evaluation today, visit thinkstrategic.com.