When you're using Twitter, Facebook, or another social platform as an individual, do you ever try to communicate with a brand account? In some cases, you might have a pleasant, two-way conversation with that account. Unfortunately though, that doesn't always happen.
Some brands using social media forget that the platforms are designed for engagement - it is, after all, 'social' media. Social platforms are not meant for broadcasting, and as such, brands should be readily available for engagement. Otherwise, they're missing out on a major opportunity.
Here are five ways to improve your brand's social media engagement, and how those efforts can help you make the most of social platforms as they were designed.
1) Real-time participation
This form of engagement requires you be active on your social platform at the very same time as your audience. You would engage in a live conversation with them for one reason or another.
A common example of this is a Twitter chat - these are real-time conversations that follow a specific topic via a designated hashtag. Twitter chats, when wisely selected, can greatly increase your exposure, following and influence.
2) Customer service
Customer service on social media is becoming an expectation rather than bonus. Your customers have questions and even complaints, and if you ignore them when they reach out, you're hurting your business appearance and bottom line.
Add a customer service team to the social platforms where your audience is most active. Your audience expects an answer within one hour of reaching out, so you should have a team in place that can handle such queries as fast as possible.
3) Hashtag research
Perhaps you're active on social media already, but are you reaching the right people at the right time? Posting your content - no matter how engaging you make it - won't start a conversation if you're taking the wrong approach. You need to know the right ways to reach who you want when they're actually online.
On Twitter, for example, you can use hashtags to expand your reach, and they're an effective way to increase engagement. If your audience is searching for a specific topic, you should be using that hashtag to get their attention. Reaching out to them when they're actively looking for answers is a great way to increase your engagement and social ROI.
4) Value before promotion
Some of the content you share on social media will be self-promotional, and that's fine, but you should also be expanding your activity to include content that benefits your audience. Your audience is looking for valuable and helpful resources, not sales pitches.
When publishing on social media, always balance your activity to include content that help your audience, such as blog posts and free resources. You'll see that people are more likely to engage with content that helps them than content that helps you.
5) Express gratitude for mentions and shares
If your business or profile is in the public eye online, you're going to see your name mentioned on social media. These can be positive or negative mentions, and they could be mentions for customer service or they're sharing links to your website and its content.
If people are helping you gain exposure, you have an opportunity to continue this growth by expressing gratitude to each user for their help. Some brands simply can't respond to everyone because of the sheer volume, but they should still have a strategy for how to select the few they do answer. The point is you need to show you're human enough to express thanks for the free exposure and brand loyalty.
You have options for how to improve upon your social media marketing, and brand engagement is one of the best ways. If you only broadcast your activity, your account is just a brick wall that people hit when they try to engage, and that's bad for your brand and ultimately your business.
People don't want to speak to an automated robot on social media, they want to see that your brand cares and is run by human beings. You need to invest in the time and manpower to prevent bad sentiment and increase influence if you want to see a positive ROI from social.