Engagement is on of the most important things to consider on social media. In fact, one of the first few tips of advice that we give all clients is to engage with your audience. Why? Because social media is about being social. And it’s about time we put that social back into social media. That’s actually the aim of our whole business. Without engagement, you are just churning out content and not talking to anyone. That’s not very social now, is it?
What does ‘engaging’ actually mean? Engaging is doing anything on social media that is NOT posting your own content to your own profile or page. This could mean commenting on a post, liking a post, responding to a message, sharing someone else’s content, or simply partaking in a discussion with someone else on social media.
So who are your audience? Your audience is anyone that ever sees your content. This includes your followers, people who see your content because their friend shared it, people who see your advertisements, or someone that stumbles across your content using a hashtag or otherwise.
Let’s get into a few examples of how you can engage with your audience in a genuine way.
Start a Real Conversation
The most basic level of social media engagement is responding to comments, messages and mentions that are directed towards you. So, if someone tags you in a photo featuring your brand, at the very least write a quick comment thanking them for sharing. If someone has a question or compliment (we will cover complaints below!), always try and respond within 24 hours. If you don’t know the answer right there and then, explain that you will get back to them as soon as you can. Be friendly and helpful.
One step further is sparking a conversation with your audience. Pose a thought-provoking question and ask people to comment with their thoughts, have followers vote on a new seasonal product, do a Q&A Facebook Live video and ask followers to comment with questions. One brand that goes above and beyond in starting relevant industry discussions, is our friends at the social media management platform Buffer!
Each week Buffer hosts a tweet-chat where they pose questions and participants respond with their take. Stef and I are loyal #BufferChat followers- even if we can’t participate every week, we always make an effort to give the thread a read after. Each week’s chat inspires a real, fun, authentic conversation around the Buffer core offering – social media management tools.
Take Advantage of User Generated Content
“User-generated content” is a fancy way of referring to a person sharing a post on social media. If this post is relevant to your brand in some way, sharing content other people create, with their permission, is a great way to get to know your target audience and support your brand. How to get permission? Easy! Just comment and ask if you can share their post. One great example of a brand using user-generated content on social media featuring their product is GoPro.
Their Instagram page features real-life footage from customers. This exciting content supports the adventurous spirit of the GoPro brand and showcases their cameras really well. The real benefit here is that the featured users will start to feel a stronger connection to the GoPro brand, and others may share their content online more frequently in hopes to be featured too. Plus, it means GoPro don’t have to create as much content themselves. Win, win, win!
Respond to ALL Reviews & Complaints
No one likes giving a bad review, and as a business owner, these can be soul-crushing experience that make you just want to move on. But according to a recent article by AdWeek, 42% of customers who complain on social media expect a reply. And by the way, no reply is basically a reply in itself. Meaning, if you don’t genuinely take accountability for the customer’s complaint and try and resolve the issue, it gives the impression that your brand does not care about that customer’s experience or business. The same goes for positive reviews. Someone is taking the time out of their day to tell the world how great your business is. Say THANK YOU! A simple response expressing your thanks and that you hope they will come back again soon would be perfect.
So, how to do it well? Our friends at Tesco have this nailed. If you take a look at their Twitter feed, their social media team is not only pushing out content but also constantly responding to and resolving customer questions. They do it with a virtual smile, and are as understanding – and human! – as possible.
So, tell us! How do you stay engaged with your social media followers? Comment below and let us know!
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