By now you are undoubtedly aware that Social Media is a wonderful tool for businesses. Although it is an excellent avenue for promoting your brand, its nature is quite different than that of traditional advertising. Among many other factors, one of the biggest is the opportunity to engage with your audience. While every form of traditional advertising (TV, radio, print, etc…) is a one-way message delivery system, Social Media is a conversation. Your audience has the expectation of interacting with your content and being spoken to at an individual level. As a result, community engagement is a vital component of any social media strategy. The following tips will help you get started.
Know Your Voice
This should be the first step before you say anything. Social Media gives your brand the opportunity to assume a more human, relatable persona. This allows for a deeper connection than was ever possible with traditional advertising. It no longer feels like a business talking to them but a friend. This is why it is so important to have a defined voice for your social media engagements. People will establish a deeper connection with you if they understand your personality and know what to expect. Defining your voice should be rooted in a deep understanding of your brand. You should know the personality of your business and how that would be embodied through casual conversation. It is important to find a voice that is representative of your business as well as establishes credibility. You should also have a clear set of messages that you want people to receive from your brand. If what you are about to say doesn’t align with your messaging guide, you should probably think twice about posting it.
Talk to People on an Individual Level
This is huge for Social Media engagement and should be accomplished in several different ways. The first and most obvious is replying to things people say to you. Even the simplest of replies can go along way in the mind of the consumer. Since people are used to being talked at, as opposed to talked with, being mentioned or tagged by a brand will be delightfully refreshing. Adidas is one of the best at replying to people who offer opinions or feedback, especially on Twitter.
Another way brands have to speak to consumers at an individual level is to handle customer complaints. As more and more people take their gripes to social media, it has become a platform for customer service. There are few things more detrimental to a brand’s social presence than scores of unaddressed complaints from unhappy users. Whether you attempt to alleviate the issue then and there or decide to take it out of the public’s view is up to you and likely dependent on your business and type of complaint. The important thing is that the individual is treated well and your audience sees that you care about your customers. Dell actually has a Twitter account dedicated to addressing customer concerns.
Jump Into Conversations
People are already talking on Social Media. That’s why they are there. So it makes sense to join in on conversations even if they don’t necessarily concern you. Whether it’s acknowledging holidays like Coca-Cola does in this April Fool’s day post:
Another way brands jump into conversations is reaching out and respond to people even if they aren’t mentioned. Taco Bell, a perpetual engagement machine, is shown here responding to a random post. The individual’s mind is blown, everyone he’s connected with is astounded, and Taco Bell’s brand equity goes up.
A third great way to get into the conversational spotlight is to piggyback off the popularity of another brand’s accounts. Old Spice has a great following on their social and the Harlem Globetrotters took advantage of this by speaking to them on Twitter. When Old Spice responded, the Globetrotters tapped into a large audience pool with nothing more than a clever tweet.
Produce Content That Encourages Engagement
There are two ways that your content can elicit engagement. The first, and the most important, is that the quality of your content should be impressive enough to cause your audience to talk about and share your post. Lego is one of the best accounts for high-quality content. Here is an example of them putting out an incredibly high-quality image that immerses itself in an already booming social conversation.
The other strategy is to push out content that asks specifically for customer reactions. Zendesk is shown here directly asking for comments on their post.
Another popular avenue for eliciting comments from followers is to run contests. This asks for comments, likes, and shares by offering a reward in return. Depending on the offer and how relevant it is to your audience, a social media giveaway can spread your brand like wildfire. The yogurt brand siggi’s is shown here giving away a free month of their product. To enter the contest, you like and comment. This will cause the post to show up on their friend’s news feeds, resulting in the spread of their brand.
Audience engagement is king on social media. Without it, your social media loses its biggest advantage of being on the platform. Interacting with your audience can do wonders for your brand equity and increase customer loyalty. If you think your brand could use professional expertise, get in contact with us at sociallyin.com to find out what we can do for your business.