Getting started on social media for a small-to-medium sized business can be overwhelming. There’s no doubt you’ve heard “content is king” when it comes to creating effective social media channels, but has anyone taken the time to explain social media engagement to you? The truth is, content is only half the battle. Do you know what the other half is? Community management and social media engagement. It’s essential to have both. Most companies use their social media to blast out content. Instead, we advise you to build an avenue to foster conversations about your brand, products, and services by having a social media engagement strategy in place. By doing so, you’ll be able to truly leverage your social media to generate more leads and extend brand awareness. Follow our four simple tried and true tips to get started!
First Step In Social Media Engagement? Engage Your Community
Do you want to know what the golden rule is when it comes to increasing engagement? Engage with followers who are already interacting with your brand. No matter the platform, it is not enough to only like the comments your post has received. Instead, respond to these comments in a meaningful way. Take a page out of McDonald’s Twitter responses. By replying to the subject of the customer’s tweet, McDonald’s is making their large corporation feel more human. This helps build a connection with their audience, which in turn leads to more loyal customers and recurring sales.
Take it one step further, with community management. Don’t just respond to those who comment directly on your post, but engage with users who have tagged, mentioned, or used a hashtag related to your business. This strategy is excellent for ensuring customers, and potential customers feel like their market is valued, and their voices are being heard. We recommend using a scheduler, like Hootsuite, to stay on top of mentions, tags, or hashtag streams.
Another tactic for fostering engagement is to create a conversation with your customers. Get them talking to you. Use your posts or stories to ask questions, create a poll, survey, or host Q + As. By asking questions about the customer’s experience with your product or service, you are building trust, gaining feedback, and sparking conversations among users. Show them you are listening and open to their feedback or comments. Instagram and Facebook stories are a great place to host polls or ask questions with their ideal attention-grabbing placement at the top of the social feed. Domino’s beautifully crafted a discussion for its followers by using an article from the Telegraph on a music festival banning pineapples. They alluded to the very polarizing and passionate debate on whether pineapple should be on pizza or not. (The BriteIdea Team is pro-pineapple, in case you were wondering)
When it comes to Facebook, a great way to create conversations is to create a group page for your business. Facebook is shifting towards minimizing the newsfeed and placing more emphasis on group pages and events to build community and genuine connection. This is an opportunity for companies to create a Facebook group page where users can engage with each other about the product and their experiences. If you’re a service-based company, this gives an excellent opportunity to flaunt your expertise in your industry and allow others to partake in the conversation. Take a look at SkinnyMint’s group page with over 4,000 members who act as brand champions by using the page to showcase their weight loss and support each other.
Next Step in Social Media Engagement? Repost, Repost, Repost
Just like engaging customers who are actively interacting with your brand, it is crucial on all platforms to shoutout (by reposting) those who post about your brand. Sharing user-generated content will help to make your followers feel valued and worthy of being a part of your feed. This also shows that your brand is active on social media and listening. Local Austin boutique, Beehive, does a weekly Sunday series called Babes in Beehive where they showcase how their shoppers styled their product. This shows their shoppers they value them while showing other potential customers possible ways to style their clothing. This tactic isn’t just for boutiques – try it out on your social platforms!
A great way to encourage users to post about your brand and give potential customers a view into how others use your product or service is to create a branded hashtag. Check out Anthropologie, who uses the branded hashtag #Anthropologiehome to highlight their home goods. By encouraging their customers to use this hashtag in their posts, they have created a searchable page made up of mostly user-generated content. One tip to follow when creating a branded hashtag is to think about how you can include a keyword and your business’ name into the hashtag. For example, we at BriteIdea Marketing use #thatsabriteidea when sharing marketing tips.
Hashtags are essential for increasing your reach, but what you may not know is that hashtags are also vital in engaging your followers. Take a look at the #ChooseorLose campaign by Walkers Crisps. They created a hashtag campaign to let chip lovers choose what their favorite flavor is. Not only were they able to get feedback on what flavor is the most popular, but they also generated buzz and conversation about the product.
Similar to hashtags, we see brands turn to influencers to help their overall reach and attract new followers. This strategy can yield results, but we often see community management get left out of the equation. When working with an influencer, it is crucial to establish exactly who will be answering comments and questions. Some influencers may charge more for community management. You’ll want to ensure someone on your team stays on top of the comments section and all brand mentions.
You’ve learned how to engage with your active followers, but how can you be proactive with your engagement? We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves that will help increase your overall social media reach. Use social media as your audience does, and search for location tags or hashtags that could be of interest to your target demographic. Then, and this step is vital, like and comment on their posts in a meaningful way – be human and thoughtful – something a bot can’t do!. Engaging with their profile ensures you pop up on their radar, causing them to give your profile a look. If you’ve done this well, then they’ll give your page a follow!
Speaking of following, it is vital to do a regular audit of who you follow. When first starting as a new business, it may be tempting to buy followers or follow your family and friends, but this will hurt in the long run. Instagram, for example, tailors its Explore Page to show users posts they think they may be interested based on past interactions. These interactions include: what accounts they follow, what posts they like and comment on, and what Instagram Stories and IGTV they watch. This means that if you follow and only interact with your friends and family or worse, buy followers who you are unable to engage with, then you’re cheating yourself. Let the Explore Page do the heavy lifting. Take some time to follow and interact with your target audience, and you’ll start to notice similar accounts populating your Explore Page. You’ll be building a valuable army of followers who you can then create “look-a-like audiences” from when you’re ready to run ad campaigns.
Engaging with your audience can create a ripple effect of increased impressions and website traffic, which, in return, will improve sales. Find the time daily to engage with your following and potential customers. Did we say daily? We sure did! We value engagement so much that every BriteIdea social media package has at least 30 minutes of daily engagement. If you feel like you now have one more “to do” on your never-ending list, then send us a message. We’re happy to take your social media management off of your plate, schedule your complimentary consultation today!