With over 1.82 billion users worldwide active on social networks and that number growing daily, it is little wonder that the social media arena is noisy and busy, and that companies and brands often battle to be heard and seen.
Everyone seems to be sharing content to attract and retain followers, but is that still enough? Average per post reach on Facebook, for example, is estimated to be around 12% nowadays. Meaning people’s feeds are so full that a single, unboosted post from you will probably only reach about 12% of your fans, if you’re lucky.
One seemingly obvious solution to this is to throw money at the problem: boost everything and run as many ads as possible.
But what if you don’t have the money to burn? Well, you could do much worse than upping your game and optimising your social media strategy for user engagement. Getting your fans to help do the heavy lifting, so to speak, requires thinking about social media a little differently.
Forget about yourself for a while. Social media is not a direct marketing platform. In this space, users are much less interested in your products and specials than you think. They want to know how your brand can add to the delightful din of the bazaar that is social media. How can you inspire them, make them laugh, cry and feel?
Don’t think of your page as a “business page”; imagine your business as a brand, a personification of the company. How would your business interact and engage with others if it were a living breathing person.
Here are some ideas to get you going:
1. Arm yourself with knowledge:
Start off by making sure that you have a full understanding of WHO your customers (and potential followers) are; WHAT they want (not what you think they should know) and HOW they behave and WHY they behave in this matter. This will enable you to target your message, platform, presentation and frequency. There are a number of useful tools that will help you identify what type of content performs well and help predict engagement success. Our favourites are:
2. Use this knowledge wisely:
Once you’ve gathered the above information, adapt your message accordingly and remember its not a one size fits all situation. Each social media platform has its own strengths and weaknesses and functionality.
3. Perfect your timing:
Work out when your followers are active on social media and then post within that time frame to avoid your posts getting lost. Maintain an active social presence but be wary of over-posting as this could annoy followers and they could stop following your posts.
4. Respond, respond and interact:
It’s all very nice and well to provide useful, entertaining information but responding to and interacting with your audience is vital. You need to address each and every comment or question (even the negative ones) that comes from your followers or fans. Doing this in a friendly, personalised way will assure them that you care about their comment/question and will go a long way to building trust. If you are concerned about the time it may take, then consider limiting your presence to just a few social networks so you can reply timeously. If this is the case, then less is best.
5. Let your social media profile create a first impression:
Fill in all the fields in the social media profiles of all the platforms you use. This will give followers a professional and comprehensive overview of your business/brand and you won’t need to keep repeating your offerings, skills etc. It will also assist in raising your online presence rating.
6. Don’t stress about the numbers:
Don’t rate your social media engagement success on the number of followers, fans or likes you have. Focus on the quality of the engagement and the relationships you’ve developed with your audience. And remember, it’s a long-term strategy that requires commitment and consistency.
7. Use common sense:
Not only should you follow the rules of social engagement, but there are also certain rules of etiquette that need to be observed. Failure to do so could damage your social engagement efforts. So, think before you share – whatever you put into the social media arena is a representation of you and your business; avoid any comments or posts that could be misconstrued and reflect badly on your professional image. Secondly, don’t “like” or “favourite” your own posts. Rather encourage employees or industry colleagues to share and like the posts. And lastly, please, please don’t commit social suicide by begging your friends or followers to ”retweet” or “like” your posts – that just smacks of desperation.
Do you have any comments, tips or questions about social media engagement and strategy? Let us know in the comments below.