Social Engagement Strategies That Build Relationships
From the way we access information to the way we share experiences with our friends and family, the world is rapidly changing towards a digital interface. Included in this is the way that businesses advertise themselves. A television commercial is still a mark of achievement when it comes to advertising, however, it’s not the most cost-effective way to improve social engagement.
Savvy social media marketers are aware of this change. Even savvier marketers are using their social media platforms to turn customer care into customer engagement. When done effectively, social media engagement can be used to build a social network with your customer base.
Is Social Media Engagement Really the Most Effective Engagement Strategy?
Ideally, we would like to melt away the image that we are selling our brand to our customers. Rather, we want to build a personal relationship with them. We want our brand to pop pleasantly into our customer’s mind’s in their time of need, and social engagement is the best way to build that relationship.
Positive interactions lead to positive associations, and with proper social media management, you can easily achieve this status in your customer’s mind. You can think of social engagement as the customer service you are providing before you ever make a sale.
The goal of any advertising campaign should be to have your brand be synonymous with your product or service. So let’s talk about ways you can get the most out of your brand on social media.
Tips for Increasing Social Engagement
Here are some tips to ensure you are working towards increasing social engagement on your key social media platforms.
Make Your Brand Known
If you’re just beginning your journey into social media engagement, the biggest obstacle you’re going to face is finding your audience. While it might seem counterintuitive, one of the best ways to find your following is to observe other brands and companies in your field. What kind of groups are they involved with on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter?
Let the world know who you are by inserting your brand into the conversation. However, solely trying to sell your brand will make you come off as if you’re only chasing after money. Instead, generate and facilitate a general conversation around the topic of your product or service. Let the world know your philosophy and how your brand can help a customer in need.
Consistency is Key
When you’re just beginning and you don’t have a big social media following, it can seem like your efforts aren’t yielding the results that you want. However, it takes time to grow a following, and it requires patience to gather it, and most importantly, consistency.
If you publish a blog, give it a consistent schedule. Post a new blog every month, or every week, but make sure you do it at a regular time and interval. People respond well when they know what to expect from your brand. Creating a content calendar (and social media schedule) will become your go-to for staying organized and meeting your deadlines. You’ll know exactly when and how often to post. Just make sure not to overload your fan base with too many posts which can seem like spam in their social feeds.
Consistency doesn’t only pertain to how often you post your blog posts on social media. According to Facebook’s Best Practices article on getting your Facebook Business account started, it suggests keeping a consistent tone and attitude to your posts as well. Also, make sure that articles you share from outside sources are reputable, and align with your own values.
Utilize Different Social Media Channels to Increase Social Engagement
Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform with more than 2 billion users worldwide, but it is not the only platform that will reach your audience. In fact, many people don’t have Facebook accounts and prefer to utilize social media through other popular channels like Twitter and Instagram (side note – Instagram has been owned by Facebook since 2012).
Get yourself familiar with the old financial adage – diversify your investments. If all of your eggs are in the Facebook basket, you will miss out on the bounties that other platforms offer. Each platform is employed slightly differently by its users, and you can use that to your advantage. Develop followings on the biggest platforms, but make sure that your addresses are consistent across these platforms. It can be confusing for your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram handles to all be drastically different, and it comes off as unprofessional. If you cannot secure the handle uniformly across the platforms, try to get as close as possible for consistency.
Create a Hashtag
Part of developing your brand’s social media presence and following is by building something to follow. Create a hashtag for your business or product. Encourage your customers to share your posts with the hashtag you’ve created. It allows you to easily see how people are talking about your product, and it also allows you to join in on the conversation. Another important note about hashtags is to follow other relevant hashtags. This will direct you to what people in your community are talking about, and allow you to engage with them while simultaneously performing some subtle self-advertisement.
Put the Social in Social Media
If you’re well versed in the Twitter world, you know that fast-food chain Wendy’s has an incredibly popular Twitter account. They actually doubled their Twitter following in 2017 alone! They are able to achieve this because the incredible social media team working for them understands their brand’s social voice.
In 2017 the Wendy’s Twitter account sent out more than 35K Tweets, 99% of those being replies. In fact, their average reply time was only about 15 minutes. This gives social media users a very personal experience with a large corporation. Without social media, these unique interactions would not be possible!
If you’re not a multi-billion dollar corporation don’t worry – you’re in luck! Starting with a base of good social interactions on social media will brand your company as one of the people. People want to feel like their voices are heard, especially when it involves money, so let them know you hear them. Take the time to reply to concerns and don’t be afraid to start a conversation yourself.
In an article on the Psychology Today website titled 5 Ways to Be More Authentic on Social Media, they talk about ways for the individual to be more authentic, but their lessons can be applied to your business as well. Their second tip is “Cultivate an attitude of genuine pleasure in other people’s pleasure”, and that is a great tip for fostering a culture around your brand.
We want to self advertise, but we don’t want to seem too self-serving. Bring attention to important topics in your business’ community. Champion others in the business who are doing well. Give birth to a culture of positivity around your brand and your name so that your customers associate you with positivity. Engaging not only your customers but also your entire community with positivity will give potential customers those feelings of goodwill. That goodwill along with savvy use of your social media platforms will turn those potential customers into invested customers.
Turn Your Social Media Presence into a Social Media Vehicle
Social engagement is the first step towards growing your brand, and more importantly, growing your brand’s culture. Long lasting success will only come from a strong customer base. Now that we live in a world that is so easily connected in the digital realm, it is important to understand how to utilize it for your benefits.
Engage with your customers on social media. Create a website, and create a dialogue between yourself and your customer base. If you don’t already have one, a great way to engage with that audience is to start a blog. We know some people who are really good at writing those…
Content Writer and PM
kelsie at heartbrain dot marketing