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.
There is a reason why you will never confuse Walmart and Target or mistake Chick-fil-A for McDonald’s. These companies go through great trouble to develop branding strategies that are woven into the fabric of their operations, sales, and marketing. Cohesive branding will increase your credibility, reputation, recognizability and overall awareness of your product or service with your audience. Even your employees are likely to be proud of, and be more organized behind, a strong brand presence. This process of creating a unique voice and image of your company helps to distinguish your business from your competitors, builds value in the eyes of the consumer and communicates trust. As a marketing agency that has been helping brands establish themselves for almost 30 years, Strategic Marketing is keenly aware of the branding strategies necessary to build a business vision. Below are nine branding strategies that really work if you work them.
Develop Your Brand Assets
Step one to building any brand is to come up with unique, relatable and impressive brand assets like a logo, color scheme, tagline, established values and mottos. Identify what you want your company to convey and what your ideal customer is interested in. Is it trust? Is it adventure? Is it leadership? Develop your logo and other brand elements with your identity in mind and then implement these assets throughout all parts of your business. Creating taglines and catchy brand elements will help your audience to tie a catchy phrase with the quality of your product or service. This image that you build with your assets will be how your customer views your business and will be the first interaction people have with you (whether they buy or not). This initial exchange of perceived value will dictate the interest you spark in someone who runs across your business. Once you have all your assets in place – use them!
Consistency in branding refers to ensuring that employees, partners and customers of your business will hear and see a cohesive brand and message at every interaction with you. Consistency helps to create customer loyalty as people begin to expect a certain experience from your business. Extend this thought to delivering this brand consistency through all parts of your business including your accounting department, paid marketing efforts or customer support. Anything related to your organization should be branded, leverage your chosen colors and support your company image to build familiarity with your customers and employees.
It all sounds like a lot! All too often, companies get carried away with this and brand strategies become disjointed or cluttered. Keeping it simple will help you to carry one concise message to the consumer. An agency partner like Strategic Marketing can help you develop brand continuity that builds trust with your audience. Once your assets are all in place, the story you tell about your business will thread all these pieces together.
Branding Strategies That Tell Your Story
Today’s consumer craves value with their purchase. The days of hard-selling are over and the days of cultivating relationships are here. Stop bragging and start relating to your audience. Building a story for your brand helps customers understand why they should buy from you, what you’re all about and emotionally connect to your product or service. This is what makes your company memorable in the sea of other competitors. Share your circumstance, characters and conflict while encouraging conversations and curiosity. These 5 C’s will help your business communicate what matters to your audience. Use every opportunity to tell your story whether you’re piquing curiosity through your email subject lines or serving relatable content on your Facebook page. Sometimes, a good story will yield more results than a great product on its own. Brands that customers are proud to shop from tend to have high customer loyalty and repeat business. The question becomes – What does your audience want to hear?
Know Yourself Well. Know Your Audience Better.
To truly understand the positioning your company should take, it’s important to evaluate yourself first. Why do your customers choose you? Do not confuse this with why you think customers SHOULD choose you. Look at the numbers, listen to the feedback and identify why customers purchase from you instead of a competitor. More importantly, identify what your audience relates to. What does your customer look like? What are their interests, concerns, goals and aspirations? Where do they live and work and how does the local environment factor into their purchase behavior? Answering important questions like this can help you tailor your message, products/services and branding to relate directly to the customers you’re looking for. Marketing companies like Strategic Marketing will help you pair your brand identity with the needs of your audience so that your branding strategies have the maximum impact on your results. From here, transfer your voice to the platforms that your customers use most.
Branding Strategies in Social Media
The average customer now evaluates brands on several different platforms. This means you need to meet your customers on the apps they use most with the same authenticity you show on your website or other advertising platforms. Decide what your “voice” should be on your business social media pages by mirroring the interests of your audience. Are you funny? Are you informational? Unlike paid advertising, your goal in organic social media is to relate – not sell. Dividends from a thorough organic social media campaign will come from brand awareness and engagement. Provide content your audience wants to click on, even if it’s from someone else. For the pros, go ahead and develop your own content to drive website traffic.
If you want to really engage your audience with your brand, develop content they want to see and develop it in varied, digestible formats. Once you know what interests your audience, work on creating infographics, whitepapers, articles or blogs that relate to what they like. By keeping your branding at the forefront of these materials, you can cater to their interests and establish yourself as a source of information, fun or other identity. The best part about this type of content is that you can use it for a variety of purposes. You can add it as a downloadable element on your website to get signups, post it as a link on your social media account, share it as part of an email campaign or add it to your Pay-Per-Click landing page. This does get time consuming so working with an agency like Strategic Marketing can help you save valuable time by having us focus on content strategy and development.
This one is fairly simple. Participating in your community, fundraising, sponsoring events or other altruistic company endeavors favors greatly with buyers. Not only is it trust-building, but it’s an opportunity to cultivate brand awareness and word-of-mouth advertising through things that help the community! Your brand being featured in the local paper or on sponsored flyers is a simple way to build goodwill with local shoppers.
Choose Your Channels
Once you have developed brand assets, created a voice, found your story and your audience, you can begin to expand your brand to your paid tactics. Get your brand out in front of new people on as many channels as you can (keeping your audience in mind). You can no longer just rely on one or two paid tactics to get the same results. If you take the average radio listener, this person no longer just listens to radio. They stream music on different platforms, watch videos on YouTube and scroll through social media. Make sure you reach new and existing customers in a variety of different methods with your branding elements. The more they are seen, the more recall a potential customer will have.
Be a “Purple Cow”
Seth Godin, author and entrepreneur, writes “The world is full of boring stuff — brown cows — which is why so few people pay attention. Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product or service. Not just slapping on the marketing function as a last-minute add-on, but also understanding from the outset that if your offering itself isn’t remarkable, then it’s invisible — no matter how much you spend on well-crafted advertising.” The moral here? Be a purple cow. Strive to be a leader with a unique brand value and something interesting to say.
If you need help becoming a “purple cow,” let Strategic Marketing help turn your brand into something truly remarkable. From concept development and initial branding elements to content creation and paid tactics, Strategic Marketing is a partner to help you manage branding end-to-end. Fill out the form below for a free marketing evaluation to stop your brand from being invisible.
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