Everyday people share millions of significant moments on social media, and the challenge often facing brands is how to be included in these shared moments.
After all, the voices of your customers and fans are the most powerful in telling your story to ultimately convert new customers. Here are seven tips for driving social engagement to do just that:
1. Make it worthy of a user's timeline
Consider the type of content people share on social media-pictures of their family and friends, memorable experiences, videos that make them laugh, causes that appeal to them...what do all of these things have in common?
People share content on social media that they care about.
For users to share branded content on social media, it not only has to connect with them emotionally, but also has to be worthy to be shared on their timelines to be seen by all of their connections. This means if you want fans to post branded content it has to be authentic and connect with users, adding value to their timelines.
2. Keep the collection interesting
Social hubs and social displays are a great way to highlight the very best content from a user-generated content (UGC) campaign. It is important to remember the brand voice and only choose content that is true to the campaign and to the brand. In addition to quality, think about the overall collection. If all the photos look the same, it won't be interesting. Select quality and variety.
3. Curation is key
Our social feeds are busier than ever and don't need additional clutter. Be very conscious about what content you post to various social networks. What works on Instagram can flop on Pinterest. Develop a strategy for each social channel. Before you spread too thin on too many platforms, get good at one, and then move to the next once you have it down.
4. Seed and find content
Don't just wait for your fans to come to you-proactively posting content on your social channels will encourage fans to respond and engage with your brand. Use hashtags to reach new audiences outside of your existing followers.
Search is your best friend here too. Search for people who share your brand's interests and values, whether it's outdoor play or interior design, there are thousands of potential fans on social media waiting for you to reach out and engage with them about their passions. Authenticity is key here; don't try and drive traffic to a landing page, create a dialogue and listen to what they are saying.
5. Reward great fan posts with virtual high-fives
When fans make the decision to include your brand in their social media posts, it means they've deemed your content worthy of sharing with all of their social connections. This is big! To encourage continued interaction and to influence fans that haven't yet engaged with you on social media, these great posts need to be rewarded.
This can be something as simple as a social media shout out-acknowledging your fans publicly can go a long way in encouraging future posts. Sharing the best fan content with your audience at large will also promote posting among other fans. Once they see you recognize fan engagement, they'll want to get involved as well!
6. Create seamless involvement
Don't make your fans jump through too many hoops to participate in a contest or engage with a brand. Participation increases when you limit the barriers to action. The best campaigns have one call-to-action and one hashtag, or two at the most. If you want your fans to be creative, make your quest relatively easy to accomplish.
7. Think beyond the web
While social content is generated online, that doesn't mean that's where it has to stay. Consider the ways your brand can leverage fan content in other places-such as at events, in stores and beyond. The moment when fans decide to include your brand in their social media posts is extremely powerful; recognizing and sharing that moment for everyone to see in real-time can have a long-lasting impact on customer loyalty.