Looking For More Social Engagement? Tip: Be More…
One of the biggest benefits of social media is the ability to connect with others. Whether that be at a personal or professional level. It’s no surprise that social engagement is one of the biggest goals for businesses looking to connect with their target audiences (prospects, customers, advocates, etc.). With social media, the opportunity to establish relationships with your audience and turn casual contacts into loyal customers is at your fingertips. But, being effective at developing meaningful relationships requires effort. And, as in the offline world, the most successful relationships are based on that all important KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor. For social engagement, it has to be a two-way conversation with the sincere interest amongst all the parties. It takes time, effort and a lot of creativity to establish and execute a social engagement strategy no doubt. But with the right mix, smart businesses can deepen their customer relationships with the help of social media. Here are 12 tips to help you increase your online social engagement.
1. Be More… INTERESTING
Take the time to understand what interests your target audience and what matters to them the most. Know what drives them, what their needs are, what frustrates them and what their biggest pain points are. Then deliver relevant, timely, valuable and engaging content to them… consistently. Remember that it isn’t solely about the content you deliver though. The how, when, where and specific format that you deliver your content is critical. That’s where knowing your target audience comes in really handy. Don’t be afraid to test out new methods of delivering content as well. Keep it interesting, fresh and exciting so that your audience stays connected with you. When you provide intriguing and must-read content, your audience will want to engage with you as well as share your content with their own networks.
2. Be More… VISUAL
Speaking of changing up how you deliver information – visual content is known to increase social engagement significantly more than text or links alone. With the rise of visual sharing sites and apps (Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.), we are able to express ourselves much more creatively through visual means. Images catch the eye and cause us to pause and take a look. Video can be even more powerful. Whether you create a captioned video to share or go live, video can be an amazing way to authentically connect with your audience. Live streaming video is a game changer for real-time engagement with your audience. The key is to provide your audience with value in an entertaining and visually appealing way.
3. Be More… CURIOUS
What is one of the most obvious ways to spark engagement? Ask for it! Asking your audience to participate is a great way to encourage social interactions. Ask relevant and/or entertaining and fun questions, take polls, ask for feedback or comments on timely and relevant news stories, etc. It can be fun or it can be serious. The key is that by asking a question, you are conveying that you are interested in what your audience has to say. Just be sure to acknowledge and provide feedback on what you are asking for after you receive input. Keep the conversation going.
4. Be More… TIMELY
Integrating your content, promotions, videos and other interactions with current events is a great way to increase social engagement. People love to talk about current events (Sports, Politics, Technology, Entertainment, Back to School, etc.). By tying your conversation starters to high-profile current events, you make it easy to get more people engaged in the conversation. It is important that the current event tie-in makes sense to your business and is relevant to your target audience.
5. Be More… GIVING
Contests, promotions and giveaways can provide a big boost in your social engagement. Get your audience involved, whether it is a photo/video submission contest, a share socially for more chances to win promo, or other type of giveaway that will evoke social sharing and some quick engagement wins. The “what’s in it for me” mentality still drives people, so ensure you are giving your audience something that they will value and that is worth the time and effort they will put into taking advantage of the opportunity.
6. Be More… INTERACTIVE
Don’t “hit-and-run” or “post-and-ghost” on your social channels. Too many companies use engagement tactics like asking an intriguing question or posting content that draws a lot of comments… and then do nothing. It’s crickets. Not a word back from the company. What’s the point? The premise of social is to interact. While it may not be feasible to respond to each and every comment you get, you should make a point to respond to your audience as much as possible when they comment or mention your business. It shows that you are genuinely interested in what your audience has to say. Remember, relationships require 2-way conversations to grow and prosper!
7. Be More… FLEXIBLE
Social media is not a 5-day a week, 9am – 5pm gig! Social media is 24/7. Knowing when and where your audience is from a social media perspective will help determine your optimal posting times. It may very well be a Saturday afternoon when you get the most responses to a question on LinkedIn, while sharing a video on Facebook gets the most activity on a Tuesday at 3pm. You won’t know unless you try and test different scenarios. Be flexible and adapt your strategy to your audience needs. The ability to schedule posts makes this incredibly easy to do. I love Post Planner for scheduling content!
8. Be More… FUN
Put on your social smile. It’s not all about pushing out content, selling your products or services, or ultimately getting people to your website. While those are strategically critical to your business, it is also important to connect with your audience on a more human level. Add an element of humor and quirkiness to your engagement every now and then. Make your content more engaging by making it fun and entertaining. Content, images, videos with captions or live video segments that make people stop scrolling because they are entertained do wonders for your social engagement.
9. Be More… PROACTIVE
Don’t wait for comments or shares or likes to engage with your audience. Be proactive and give a shout out to your new followers, to your most loyal customers, or to those who engage with you the most on social platforms. Saying thank you goes a long way in building trust. What a great way to surprise and delight your audience by giving them a social mention to let them know you appreciate them. The result is a positive perception of your brand with the high likelihood of repeat engagement from your target audience. Be the engager!
10. Be More… POLITE
Manners still matter in social media. A simple “please”, “thank-you” or “you are welcome” can go along way… especially in social media. Thank, acknowledge, and be kind to your social audience (even when they are not being kind to you!) – it will keep them coming back for more. In this day and age, we need to spread compassion and kindness… not hate and intolerance. Be empathetic in your engagement. This is a simple element in your social engagement strategy that absolutely cannot be overlooked.
11. Be More… HUMAN
Don’t be a social robot! While the use of chat bots becomes a realistic option for interaction on social, it doesn’t replace the human element altogether. At the end of the day, people want to engage with and do business with people that they know, like and trust. From personally engaging in a Twitter chat to having employees represent your business on social, there are so many ways to make your business more human… and more social. Add faces and names to your social presence and let your audience know who they are engaging with.
12. Be More… SOCIAL
The bottom line… be more social. Don’t come to the party and be a wall-flower (presence is not a social strategy!). Think about your social “being” from multiple angles and always strive to be more. Get out of your comfort zone and try new ways of engaging with your audience. Do a Snapchat takeover or host a Twitter chat and you will really get a sense for how your audience craves to engage with you when you are relevant, timely and provide value.
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts on how to best increase engagement via social media. What strategies are you executing to be more?
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Darcy Schuller is the Chief Digital Marketing and Brand Strategist at Suvonni, an innovative digital marketing and brand strategy consulting firm in Chicago. As a leader in the digital marketing space, Darcy is passionate about helping clients build stronger brands through elevated customer engagement, social media marketing, content marketing and integrated marketing communications. Darcy is a respected marketing thought leader, speaker and consultant. You can find Darcy on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+ and Facebook.