Developing a rock solid social media plan is now an essential part of any marketing campaign.
Your audience lives online. The best way to reach them is to go to the platforms they're already active on and offer them content that they find valuable. If you can do that, you'll be on your way to developing a winning strategy.
However, there are often discrepancies between communicating with customers on social media and generating real audience engagement. In order for your campaign to offer actual benefits to your business, you need to move beyond vanity metrics like likes, follows and shares - you need to generate real interaction with your customers if you want the time and money you spend on social to be worthwhile.
Monitor Your Efforts
The key to gaining greater engagement from your audience is to know what works and what doesn't. The only way to really know if you're using the right tactics is to measure them.
There are several free tools out there that can help you gather more information about your audience. When you use these tools, you get to know where people are interacting most with you. You can also learn more about what people are saying about you online.
Remember, this data is valuable, but if it doesn't impact your decision making, it's somewhat worthless. Be sure to do more than collect data. You must act on this information as well.
Use Photos and Videos More Often Than Not
Any chance you have to usual visual aids, do it. Social media's an extension of normal marketing efforts, and like advertising, most audiences respond better to visual representations as opposed to huge amounts of text. You're more likely to see greater engagement when you've posted a relevant photo or video than you might by updating your status with text alone.
Social media networks, too, know that users want more visual content. As a result, the new algorithms prioritize the use of videos and photos over plain text messages. This is especially true with Facebook, which has reportedly rewritten its notorious Newsfeed algorithm to prioritize native video content.
Hold a Q&A Session
Planning your social media strategy requires you to be in touch with the needs of your target market. If you're trying to figure out what they want but want to expedite the process, hold a Q&A session.
A Q&A session is a great way to get out of the office and reach out to customers. All you need to do is set up a date, time and discussion parameters. You'll also need to appoint at least one moderator, depending upon the size of your audience.
A Q&A session works because it provides a platform for customers to speak and be heard. This is a chance for you to gather information about what people like and what they don't like. It's also an opportunity for you to collect information that's volunteered to you by customers.
Ask Your Audience
If you want to create an informal opportunity to learn more about your customers, all you need to do is ask them.
Find a great picture and post a message asking for feedback from your audience. Introduce brain games or have contests to garner feedback. Make sure you ask open-ended questions that elicit deeper responses. Avoid basic "yes" or "no" questions that are hard to quantify.
For example, if you want to know whether or not your audience is enjoying a particular set of your posts, just ask them. They'll often let you know either way and this knowledge makes a lot easier to make an actionable decision.
Making connections is what you're on social media for. However, you can't wait for your customers to come to you. As you know, you have to go to them to form those bonds.
A great way to connect your brand with your audience and see real engagement is to drive partnerships. Linking up your business with other people in your community, or even other influencers in your target market, can help drive familiarity and boost engagement on your social pages.
For example, if you develop a partnership with a blogger or influencer, you could let them take over your social page for the day. This'll give your audience a new perspective from a familiar face, and often, they'll be excited about this partnership and begin to formally engage with your content.
Being on social media is not just about reaching out to customers. It is about interacting with them. Follow these easy tips and you'll find that not only will you get to know your customers better, but they'll get to know you better too.
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