How to Authentically Engage with Customers on Social Media

The rise of ad blocking and consumers’ growing mistrust of sponsored content is a clear indicator that customers want more control over their online experience. They’re tired of brands pushing marketing messages at them on every possible channel, especially when the content is not personalized for their specific needs and interests. As a result, brands are finding it more difficult to reach and engage with customers in today’s increasingly crowded online marketplace.

The need for a personalized omnichannel customer engagement strategy is more of a reality than a trend. Increased mobile connectivity and the rise of social media have significantly impacted customer expectations of when, where and how they communicate with brands. Now more than ever, companies need to understand customer preferences for engaging with brands across online channels and cater the message to unique audiences, putting the customer at the center of the conversation to create a truly personalized experience.

Consistency is key

It is important to remain consistent with how and when brands are interacting with online audiences because different customers use different social media channels for different reasons. The goal is to share content that is helpful and informative, fostering a sense of trust between the customer and the brand to create more opportunities for engagement.

Remember it’s not always about what brands say, but more about how they’re saying it and who is listening. Keep audiences engaged by sharing diverse content across channels, avoiding repetitiveness that could drive customers away. Post regularly, respond to customer comments and questions on an ongoing basis, and create an experience that invites customers to engage with a brand and become part of the business.

It is also important that social media managers stay up to speed on new and improved customer service features available from the networks. Social media companies are constantly changing and updating service offerings to accommodate better, more effective customer service strategies for brands.

Optimize for peak engagement

Successfully engaging with customers on social media is quickly becoming a strategic competitive advantage. But before relationships can be established, brands must first understand when and how to reach the target audience.

Monitor social analytics and audience insights to determine the best time for reaching certain audiences with different messages. Rather than focusing on products or services, focus on the people behind the business and share stories that generate emotion and promote engagement, helping the audience feel closer and more connected to the brand.

Equally important in fostering quality engagement with customers on social media is to keep the conversation going after the initial connection is made. Include questions and open-ended comments to leave the conversation open and encourage an ongoing two-way dialog between customers and brands.

Be authentic

Developing and nurturing a strong customer relationship is essential to fostering brand loyalty, and social media is the ideal outlet for sharing information in an organic, non-intrusive way.

Whether it’s an FAQ, special request or customer comment, personalization goes a long way on social media and nothing feels more impersonal than a generic response. Not only does social media offer more opportunities to engage with customers directly, it also gives companies and brands the chance to be authentic and humanize the brand in the digital space. Although social engagement happens online, remember there is a human driving the interaction on both sides. The best way to authentically engage with customers is simple: keep it real and think like a human, not a machine.

From brand awareness to customer service, successful social media engagement is critical to connecting with customers and shaping their relationship with a brand. It is also important for brands to share insights across channels and treat social media engagement as part of an omnichannel delivery network rather than a standalone communication outlet. Taking an integrated approach helps brands better understand how customers want to engage through preferred channels and establish a personal, authentic connection with the customer through social media.