One of the biggest benefits of social media is the ability to connect with others. Whether that be at a personal or professional level. It’s no surprise that social engagement is one of the biggest goals for businesses looking to connect with their target audiences (prospects, customers, advocates, etc.). With social media, the opportunity to establish relationships with your audience and turn casual contacts into loyal customers is at your fingertips. But, being effective at developing meaningful relationships requires effort. And, as in the offline world, the most successful relationships are based on that all important KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor. For social engagement, it has to be a two-way conversation with the sincere interest amongst all the parties. It takes time, effort and a lot of creativity to establish and execute a social engagement strategy no doubt. But with the right mix, smart businesses can deepen their customer relationships with the help of social media. Here are 12 tips to help you increase your online social engagement.
Take the time to understand what interests your target audience and what matters to them the most. Know what drives them, what their needs are, what frustrates them and what their biggest pain points are. Then deliver relevant, timely, valuable and engaging content to them… consistently. Remember that it isn’t solely about the content you deliver though. The how, when, where and specific format that you deliver your content is critical. That’s where knowing your target audience comes in really handy. Don’t be afraid to test out new methods of delivering content as well. Keep it interesting, fresh and exciting so that your audience stays connected with you. When you provide intriguing and must-read content, your audience will want to engage with you as well as share your content with their own networks.
Speaking of changing up how you deliver information – visual content is known to increase social engagement significantly more than text or links alone. With the rise of visual sharing sites and apps (Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.), we are able to express ourselves much more creatively through visual means. Images catch the eye and cause us to pause and take a look. Video can be even more powerful. Whether you create a captioned video to share or go live, video can be an amazing way to authentically connect with your audience. Live streaming video is a game changer for real-time engagement with your audience. The key is to provide your audience with value in an entertaining and visually appealing way.
What is one of the most obvious ways to spark engagement? Ask for it! Asking your audience to participate is a great way to encourage social interactions. Ask relevant and/or entertaining and fun questions, take polls, ask for feedback or comments on timely and relevant news stories, etc. It can be fun or it can be serious. The key is that by asking a question, you are conveying that you are interested in what your audience has to say. Just be sure to acknowledge and provide feedback on what you are asking for after you receive input. Keep the conversation going.
Integrating your content, promotions, videos and other interactions with current events is a great way to increase social engagement. People love to talk about current events (Sports, Politics, Technology, Entertainment, Back to School, etc.). By tying your conversation starters to high-profile current events, you make it easy to get more people engaged in the conversation. It is important that the current event tie-in makes sense to your business and is relevant to your target audience.
Contests, promotions and giveaways can provide a big boost in your social engagement. Get your audience involved, whether it is a photo/video submission contest, a share socially for more chances to win promo, or other type of giveaway that will evoke social sharing and some quick engagement wins.