Social Media is a leading industry tool to bring brand awareness to the forefront of markets. More than ever, your business’ online reputation weighs heavily on your success due to the unlimited availability of content published daily online. In a majority of marketing and advertising methods, the communication is a one-way street from company to customer. However, social media is the most engaging, two-way communication medium for customer relations. Because of this aspect, engaging your followers can make or break your brand’s reputation.
When you take the first step into social media, it’s a conscious effort and commitment to practice. Social media is a long-term investment due to the ever changing and evolving world. Unlike a website, where you can technically set it up and leave it be (though you shouldn’t), social media has to be updated and posted to on a consistent basis to be successful and engage your audience. There’s nothing worse than researching a company on Facebook and their last post was in 2012. Once the decision has been made to the longevity of social media, the next step is to focus building an audience to engage.
When starting up on social media, everyone starts on equal ground at a base of zero. Fortunately, there are tactics to building an audience. Organically, self-promotion of the accounts to friends, contacts and other known sources can help kick-start a new profile into building an audience. From there, the profile can grow and bloom. A different tactic would be to utilize paid advertisements to place the profiles before target demographics. This can help build the numbers, but building a quality audience does require time and patience.
There are several tips for social engagement that everyone should follow.
Quality vs. quantity
While it’s important to post regularly, the quality of content will always trump a handful of meaningless posts. Posting useless information or links over and over, not earning engagement and still expecting results is almost the definition of insanity. Take the time to find a piece of content that provides benefits, insights and value to your audience to ensure engagement. By publishing quality and engaging content, an appropriate audience will be sure to follow.
Five tips to quality engagement
- Engage your followers with contests, questions, comments, provoking thoughts, etc.
- Everyone likes a winner, so showcase where you and your fans are winning. This would provide positive, encouraging content that everyone wants to see.
- Integrate your social media with your website and encourage participation.
- Give away free stuff. Providing a free product or service to your loyal customers who follow you on social media is a great way to get feedback and keep them loyal.
- Plan Ahead — Strategize about your audience and create a long term social media plan to make sure you stay on track with your goals.
Share about your brand and others
While it technically is your page, no one wants to listen to “me, me, me” on a regular basis. Thinking of social media as a social gathering will greatly benefit your engagement and strategy. A healthy ratio for posting content is roughly 40 percent self-promotion (your products, services, events, news, etc.) and 60 percent interesting and engaging content from outside sources. Think of this scenario — if you’re at a cocktail party and you’re talking with a person who is solely talking about themselves, how interested and invested in the conversation are you? The answer is probably not at all.
Listening is key
It’s not enough to just post content out there and leave it, the monitoring of the posts, comments from users and suggestions will decide the fate of the social profile. Customers love social media because it gives them a voice. But what good is that voice if no one is listening? Monitor your profiles and respond back to your followers. Also, taking suggestions into consideration — who knows? The next big idea to boost your company to the next level could come from a complete stranger who follows you on Twitter.
When interacting with your followers, personalize your responses so they know you care. Rather than a canned response back, by personalizing them you create a closer bond between your brand and your followers. This personalization expresses gratitude and makes your brand appear more authentic to those who interact with you.
Engaging your audience and building a community is what it’s all about in the end. Too often, social media is treated as just another marketing outlet by businesses and left to dwindle. Don’t let that happen to yours. Take the time, invest and foster your profiles — they’re essentially your brand's face and personality online, so why not give a little nourishment to them? By engaging your audience, listening to your audience and maintaining your profiles, you’ll have a social media presence that will lead to success.
Ben Laube is president and founder of POLR Marketing, a growth marketing technology company. Through the use of content writing, pay-per-click, ethical SEO practices, web design & development graphic design and strategic planning, POLR Marketing offers the services you need to help grow your business to the next level. To learn more about POLR Marketing, visit www.polrmarketing.com or call 407-712-4836.