Content Discovery Smackdown: Hootsuite vs. Buffer vs. KloutContent Marketing Minds: Ingredients of the Tastiest Content [Nutrition Label]From the Corn Field to the Digital Era: Content Marketing Starts with TrustContent Marketing: Is 2014 Really Shaping Up to Be the Year of Video?
Your Customers Aren’t Listening! How to Create Consumer Dialogue that Converts4 Tools for Nonprofit Social Listening and Reputation ManagementThe Promising Role of Social Listening in Treating Health IssuesThe Importance of Social Listening for Brands
- Public Relations
Facebook Testing a Way for Users to Buy Products on the Platform7 Website Tips to Attract More Shoppers to Your PagesHow eCommerce, Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Redefine the Retail ExperienceSearch Query Analysis to Increase eCommerce Website Conversions
- Content Marketing
Technology & Data
Social Startups: Bizible Connects All the Dots from Marketing Contributions to RevenueCreating the Perfect Profile for Your Social Media Marketing EffortUsing GPS and Localization for Social AnalyticsAnalytics and Prospect Intel: Discovering Your Ideal Prospect
- Big Data
- Tech & Innovation
3 Security Risks You’re Taking Every Day While Using Social MediaShould the President Have the Power to "Pull the Plug" on the Internet?How Safe is Your WordPress Website From Hackers and Other Malicious Attacks?
- Software & Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Celebrating the Grand Re-Launch of Social Media Today! SBH Podcast Episode 8Why Should You Care If Your Employees Are Thought Leaders?Beyond Engagement: The Art of Managing Social-Media Risk in Employee Advocacy
Why All-in-One Social Media Management Systems Don't Cut It for Social Customer ServiceWhat You Should Know About Customer, Digital, and Contextual ExperienceSurging into Q3: How to Make It Better Than Q2Is How You Serve Your Customers Costing You Business?
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Successful Social Engagement: Listen…and Respond
Posted on February 18th 2013
As a social media professional, I’ve seen the progressive methods of encouraging user engagement on Facebook and Twitter, and while overt calls to action such as “Like this!” and “RT if you agree” may still be appropriate for some brands, today’s social media-savvy consumer is now looking for something more than an instruction on how they should interact with a status update or image.
We are entering a period of deeper audience engagement where users are carefully considering the value of each interaction they have with a brand. This could include considerations such as “what does this brand have to offer me?” and “do I really want to publicly endorse this brand?” Consumers also have expectations to be amused, or treated to highly tailored content. In short, the social media audience expects you to know them inside out.
So, how do brands do this?
Listen to the conversation
Do you know what excites your audience, what they talk about the most, or what they expect from your brand's social media pages? Ignoring audience expectations is a huge mistake, and in extreme cases, can lead to a PR crisis. Instead, your brand should be standardising a system for community listening; this can be simplified with the introduction of a social media agency, or created internally with the customer service, communication and social media departments.
Now that you know what the audience likes to talk about, introduce this content into your social media activity. Don’t stop there: wade through your follower posts and publicly respond – think of brand social media pages as an extension of the customer service department, customers and brand supporters will look for the easiest form of contact, which currently is social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter offers great opportunities for discovering what appeals to followers and responding in real-time. Try hosting a Twitter chat – create a dedicated hashtag for the event e.g. #YourBrandChat so the conversation can be easily tracked. Followers will appreciate the chance to feed back to brands and chat is a valuable opportunity to reach out to your audience. Don't forget to raise awareness with your audience in good time to ensure practical participation levels.
In the case of negative comments left by disgruntled consumers, demonstrate how much the brand values consumer opinion – adverse comments need not represent disaster if brands respond in a timely and sensitive way.
If there’s one piece of advice I would give to brands interacting with consumers through social media, it’s to remain human. Today’s social media audiences don't respond well to bombardments of advertising copy in each post you make – whilst it is understood that social media networks are a platform for marketing to consumers, every post shouldn't be an ad. Use the intelligence acquired from your community listening to understand which topics, products or themes to incorporate into your tweets or Facebook posts.
Being human also applies when responding to comments and replies. Making a concerted effort to personalise responses will show the audience that you have actually read the comment, and understand its relevance and meaning to the user.
Creating meaningful conversations with your followers involves listening, researching and maintaining a human touch. The opportunity to interact with the target audience should be viewed as invaluable, as should expanding the social media department to hire a community manager should your following be large enough to warrant an extra member of staff.
(Image courtesy of Kookkai_nak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)