We all know that when it comes to building a business in the 21st Century, social media engagement has a big role to play. That being said, knowing something and putting it into practice can be two completely different things.
Many businesses set up their social media pages and profiles without really thinking about their goals for using social media, how they plan to use it, and what they want their presence to achieve. They then sit back and wait for the followers to come. When they don’t, they decide that social media clearly doesn’t work for their business.
Social media can be an incredibly powerful way to build your business – with relatively little expense – but you have to understand why you’re using it, what your goals are and how you will achieve them. In other words, you have to have a plan.
So, how can you build your social media engagement?
Identify your goals
The first step is to pinpoint exactly what you want your social media presence to achieve. It’s helpful if most, if not all, of your goals can be measured so you can track your progress. You might want to:
- Raise awareness of your brand
- Drive traffic to your website – you can track traffic coming to you via social media by logging into Google Analytics and viewing Acquisition>All Traffic>Source/Medium or Acquisition>All Traffic>Referrals
- Create loyal customers who regularly return to your website
- Increase conversions, i.e. people who come into your website via social media and complete an action such as buying from you or making an enquiry – you can track this in Google Analytics under Acquisition>Social>Conversions
Once you have identified your goals, you can begin to plan and create your content to help you achieve them.
Build a targeted community
Social media is an amazing tool for businesses because it brings like-minded people or tribes together. To boost your social media engagement, it’s essential to identify who your customers are, so you can create content that will appeal specifically to them.
Many businesses resist doing this and try to appeal to as many people as possible, but social media engagement demands a more individual, targeted approach. The people who have the potential to be part of your ‘tribe’ – vocal fans of your brand – want to feel as though you are having a conversation with them personally and that you connect with what makes them tick.
Facebook is one social media platform that has great tools for building a targeted community, especially if you decide to build your audience using Facebook ads. You can make sure your ads are shown to people according to their:
- Location (right down to their postcode or address)
- Shopping behaviour
- Life events
In addition, Facebook offers different ad formats depending on the goals you identified in point one above for using social media. There are ads for attracting page likes, ads for creating brand awareness, ads for website clicks, and more.
If you already have loyal fans of your business, you can even target your Facebook ads ‘look-a-likes’, i.e. people who are similar to your existing customers in terms of demographics and behaviour.
Create high quality content
Building social media engagement is also about creating high quality content that has value for your community of followers. Ideally, posts should invite engagement, comments, likes, shares and raise brand awareness in a positive way.
According to a recent blog from Coschedule.com, the types of social media content with the greatest value are:
- Interactive content, such as quizzes
- Posts that create positive emotions – people are far more likely to share posts that make them feel awe, laughter, amusement or joy, than posts that make them feel anger, empathy, surprise or sadness
- Content with images
- List posts
- Newsworthy content – think about ways your business ties in with current news stories or national days
Use your existing content
If you’re new to social media or have only used it sporadically in the past, you may be sitting on a wealth of unmined content in the form of previous blog articles. There are a number of different ways that you can use your existing content to build social media presence:
- Add social sharing buttons to your website
- Share your blog articles on your social media pages
- Use a WordPress plugin such as Inline Tweet Sharer to turn snippets from your blog articles into Tweets
- Take key points from your blog and turn them into social media statuses
- Turn quotes from your blogs into branded memes and share them on your social media platforms – free platforms such as Canva or PicMonkey are ideal for this
Think outside the box
Social media is full of inspirational memes and blog post shares so, to stand out from the crowd, you may need to think outside the box about the content you create to build engagement.
You might consider creating:
- Videos of your products or services in action
- A ‘day in the life’ style view of what happens in your office or of your team on Instagram
- Ask people to create Vines of them opening or using your products
- Video tutorials
- Hashtags that help people identify your content
- Hashtags that respond to common complaints – for example, Dutch airline operators, KLM, ran a #happytohelp campaign where they kept an eye on Twitter for customers having problems with other airlines and offered solutions to their problems using the #happytohelp hashtag
- Something that your customers will find helpful, such as a live Q&A session on Facebook Live or Google Hangouts
- A campaign that taps into a trend such as the use of emojis or the taking of selfies – WWF did this to great effect with their #lastselfie campaign on Snapchat, where people saw ads featuring endangered animals for just seconds before they disappeared
Listen to your community
As your community grows, it’s important to pay attention to what they are saying. What questions are people asking? Which posts are they sharing? What do they say about your posts when they share them? What social media platforms attract the most engagement?
Most social media platforms provide plenty of data to help you answer these questions, whether in the form of Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics or Pinterest Analytics, to name but a few.
Join the conversation
Finally, always keep in mind that social media is, in its very essence, about being social, about creating engagement, having a conversation, not delivering a monologue. Therefore, if people are talking about your content or sharing it with their networks, it’s important to earmark time every day to join the conversation, whether this means answering questions, thanking people for their comments, or responding to complaints.
Every interaction is an opportunity to express the unique identity of your brand and help your community get to know you.
Need help with your social media? Give us a call on 01733 308198 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to start a conversation about your business.
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