Should you be engaging with your customers on social media? You better believe it!
But there are two sides to the answer of the social media engagement question—why you need to engage with your customers on social media… and how to do it.
Pssst! In case you haven’t heard: People don’t like to be sold to!
Nobody likes to be told what they want. It’s obnoxious and spammy. But people do like to be engaged. The brands that are engaging with people on social media are actually making more sales than those that are just hard selling. It’s a fact! 80% of social network users connect with brands on social media and more than 60% of those people are more likely to seek out a product or service after seeing it on social media!* Plus? Brands that share fun, engaging, customized content on social networks generate three times more customers than brands that use traditional marketing methods.*
Engaging isn’t just about posting content every day, though posting consistently is important. It’s about crafting engaging content that 1) people care about, and 2) helps to build a relationship with an audience. And 3) it’s not just about what you share, it’s also about reaching out to other people to comment on their content.
Social media has humanized marketing. People now want to be able to relate to brands in more personal ways. It’s time to reach out and engage!
If You Engage, They Will Come
There’s another important reason to be proactive with your social media engagement: the digital landscape is getting noisier and noisier. The brands that have been behind the social media curve are finally catching on, and just about every brand, big or small, is getting in on the action. As a result, the “if you build it, they will come” idea just isn’t working anymore. You can’t just post content and expect customers to flock to you.
To get noticed, be memorable, and go beyond just brand recognition to really build trusting relationships, you need to reach out. And by “reach out” we mean provide thoughtful, meaningful, conversational comments. “Liking” people’s content isn’t enough. Let’s take a look at how you should engage…
How to Engage?
1. Shout Outs
People love a good shout out on social media. Find value-added ways to share other people’s content while giving them recognition and credit for that content. You can do this by finding great articles or posts from your potential customers and from industry experts and influencers. When you see great content, share it, and be sure to give a shout out when you do.
Take the time to say something meaningful and give credit where it’s deserved. On Twitter, take the time to tag the author of the content you’re sharing. On Facebook and LinkedIn, tag the person whenever possible, though keep in mind that they might have to be following your page in order for you to be able to tag them on a business page. On Instagram, consider re-gramming some content, but keep in mind that the etiquette is to ask for permission first, unless you’re promoting someone else’s sales content. And be sure to tag them on Instagram, too!
2. Craft Meaningful Replies
When replying to someone else’s content, don’t just say something vague like, “Great article!” Take the time to say something meaningful. Whether you’re commenting on an article, a photograph, or a comment, take the time to express what you found interesting, insightful, or entertaining about their content. When you say something meaningful, it shows that you’re paying attention and giving the content close consideration. It makes people feel good to know that they’ve shared something that someone has found useful, and when you make someone feel good, they remember you.
3. Ask Questions
It’s a good idea to ask questions as part of your own social media content… it’s an even better idea to ask questions on other people’s content. Again, it shows people that you’re paying attention and that you genuinely care about what they have to say, so much so that you want to know more. This a very gratifying feeling, and it’s one of the best ways to build a connection with a potential future customer.
4. Engage with Your Existing Follower Base
On each of your social media platforms, go through your existing connections and begin to reach out to them. If you have 10K followers, going through them all may not be realistic, but if you have a few hundred or even a thousand, it can be. You can reap the rewards in the form of lasting relationships when you take the time to engage with them. You can be systematic and reach out to a handful of followers each week, or you can get the help of a social media engagement specialist to give you a hand. (Hint: we can help.)
5. Engage with New Audiences by Searching Appropriate Hashtags
Searching for hashtags is a great way to find new people to engage with. Search for hashtags that your target customers are using to find the right people, and start conversing, asking questions, and following new people.
Remember, It’s Not About You
Good engagement is like a good conversation—it’s not about you, it’s about putting the ball back in someone else’s court. This is your chance to talk to real people to build your brand’s audience. Give them recognition and attention; it’ll make them feel great and it will help build a relationship so that they’ll remember you.
Mandi Gould, Barker SocialLinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/mandi-gould/Twitter: @barker_social