The days of social media being used as a complementary product to increase brand awareness are over. Today it is one of the most critical elements that need to be incorporated into the marketing strategy of any business, as 3.2 billion people on the planet are on social media. This is the modern language of the global consumer and you need to make sure you talk their language.
Being visible on social media is not enough. You have to create content with the intent to convert your audience into actual customers. You might feel that the nature of your business does not entirely need social media. Nevertheless, you owe it to yourself as well as your customers to show your enthusiasm and ability to engage with them in the way that they prefer.
There are a vast number of ways to boost your customer engagement on social media and it can be extremely overwhelming. It is therefore particularly important to identify which tactic will best suit the nature and capacity of your business. It is also important to start, grasp, and master a few tactics before moving on to bigger strategies. This will ensure that you acquire and maintain a steady digital reputation.
The following five tactics can be applied to any business and are simple to implement:
1) Ensure your content is relevant
This is the first and most crucial step of the process and will determine the success of the entire marketing campaign. You need to know exactly who your target audience is and what they want to see. If you lose their interest, you waste a valuable opportunity that could have generated generous customer engagement.
Always keep your message firmly aligned with your core product offering. Do this while providing content that is interesting and relevant. By keeping a golden thread strategically aligned throughout all your communications, brand consistency will be obtained. This will enhance and reinforce how your brand is perceived, and according to Forrester, “a consistent customer experience helps build a trusted brand”.
2) Decide WHAT you want to say
Every active moment on social media is a new opportunity to catch the attention of your audience. At the same time, customer impressions develop almost instantaneously. As a result, you have one chance to communicate the right message. You, therefore, have to ensure that you are completely confident in what you want to say, as well as how you are going to say it. Make sure you include all the important elements in your message as you don’t want your audience to become uninterested. In addition, the purpose of your post is to generate a return on investment. This investment might not be in direct monetary terms but in brand-exposure.
3) Decide HOW you are going to say it
There are ample ways to engage with customers in the digitally advanced environment we live in today. While it is impressive to use a variety of methods, determining the most suitable ones for your audience is necessary. If executed correctly it will create a lasting impression. You also do not want your message to overwhelm or get lost on a platform that will not serve your message best.
Stick to one or two platforms per message and be confident that you can hit a home run with them. For instance, if you want your audience to actively engage in a post, use Facebook that has a number of customer-interaction options. If you merely want to inspire your audience, use an image-driven platform like Instagram. If you want other businesses to hear from you, choose a more professional platform like LinkedIn that offers easy-connection options.
If you choose Instagram, your caption doesn’t have to, necessarily, be long. Sometimes, less is more. It’s enough to say thanks, ask a question, encourage call-to-action, trade words for emojis, or launch a contest.
Source: Starbucks Instagram
4) Engage with your audience, don’t just post
Even though customers know they are utilizing a digital platform, they like to see personalized elements that show your message is more than just a scheduled post. Continuously remind your audience that there is human interaction behind each post and make them feel like a priority rather than an obligation. Reach out to them by creating posts that are engaging and invite them to participate in comments and sharing.
Also, reward them with personalized feedback and interaction from your side when they are active in your post. Furthermore, do not take long to respond to customer engagement. Whether it is in the form of a query, or merely an expression - this will show your appreciation for their interest and motivate future engagements.
The research revealed that humans react in a certain way when they hear their name. Make sure to call them by their name when interacting on social media.
Source: McDonald's Twitter
5) Create an omnichannel approach amongst your social media platforms
All social media platforms have one common goal, and that is to reach the widest target audience possible. However, how they achieve that differs to a great extent. Each platform is created and customized to talk to its audience in the most convenient and appropriate way possible. A viewer actively engaging in conversations and debates on Twitter will not necessarily apply the same level of attention when scrolling through the visually appealing content on Instagram.
It is therefore important to ensure that you tailor your message to the unique individual features of each social media platform but at the same time, preventing that your message gets distorted in the way it is perceived on each platform. A post with the same message posted on different platforms should reflect consistency to maintain a strong brand perception.
While the list to ensure successful and effective social media posts grows at a continual pace, certain elements remain essential and straightforward. Customers want to see your brand presence on social media as this gives them confidence in your skills and willingness to engage with them. There is however an incredibly fine line between bombarding them with irrelevant content just for the sake of being visible and using meticulously created messages to communicate and engage with them.
This distinction should be made with discretion and consideration for not only your brand-perception but the ultimate goal you would like to achieve by doing so. Be mindful of your presence and image on social media as this is an increasingly powerful platform used to expose and promote your brand. It also provides the opportunity to reach a broad customer audience in a highly cost-effective way.