Every modern business knows that they need social media as a main component of their marketing strategy. But creating and posting compelling content is only part of the puzzle. You also have to know how to engage with your customers and followers by both encouraging them to engage with you and knowing how to respond when they do. Here’s how to do that.
Care About Relationships, Not Numbers
The more followers you have, the more opportunities you have to build better relationships. If you focus on just numbers and not the actual individuals behind them, you’re going to miss a lot of chances to get closer to your customers and fans. Think of your follower count as sort of a vanity metric: It’s a nice number to have, especially as it grows, but it only means as much as the value you put into it. A smaller, more engaged follower count is always more powerful than a high follower count of people who don’t care about what you post.
Return The Favor
Whenever someone interacts with your brand on social media, do something back to show them that you notice them and you care about them in return. Thank them for following you and send them a link to an article you think they’ll like; offer a discount if they provide feedback (positive or negative); and respond to comments, even some of the more generic ones, like, “Love your brand!” Relationships can evolve over time, even if they start with something as small as a follow and a “thank you!”
Be Proactive About Going Live
If you notice that your followers ask a lot of questions or try to get to know you on a personal level, take it upon yourself to plan a live stream. This is an excellent opportunity to answer questions in a way that a lot of people will see (as opposed to replying to a comment, which will have a very limited audience), and your followers will immediately feel closer to you as they watch your body language.
Don’t wait for your followers to ask you for a livestream, either – if they’re already trying to connect with you, then you know that they’d be up for it, so set it up and let everyone know when it’ll happen. So when you’re planning to stream a live event do your homework and due diligence first but realize how powerful this is in branding and customer acquisition.
Humanize Your Voice
Even if you run a more traditional business than a youthful or free-spirited one, you still don’t have to communicate with your followers as though you’re a personality-free robot. Think about how you’d talk to a friend, then lean in or scale back on the casualness however you see fit. For example, if you run a finance company, you may want to be a little less casual, though still warm and amiable.
If you run a snowboarding company, you can be much more funny and bold. But either way, you always want to be genuine. Also, whatever tone you opt to go with, try to maintain it across the board – it’s part of your branding, and it’ll make your business more recognizable.
Let Them Curate Your Content
Curated content is beneficial for a number of reasons. First, you can load up your social feeds without actually having to create content – your audience of official or unofficial brand ambassadors does that for you.
Second, you let your followers know that you’re watching what they’re doing and that you care about it. Plus, everyone loves getting a little shout-out from a brand they admire. And lastly, you’ll show your other followers how people interact with your products or services, which also gives you more ideas for how to create imagery and content in the future.
Build a Community
If your followers have a lot to say and are engaging with your brand as much as they are each other, consider creating a meeting space where everyone can link up – with or without you, depending on the day. For example, you can create a Facebook Group or use Instagram as your highly-interactive channel. Creating a community of like-minded people makes it even easier for everyone to open up and chat about what’s on their mind. Plus, it gives you a front-row seat to your audience’s wants, needs and concerns.
You can also join a Twitter user directory like Twiends. There you can connect with 50,000 daily users, and expand your reach.
Create Templates For Repeat Technical Questions
For the most part, you want to make sure that you’re customizing your responses and remaining warm and friendly to your followers. However, if you receive a lot of the same questions – say, “How do I use this feature?” – you can definitely write out the response, save it to a template and use it when needed. Doing this ensures you answer the question accurately and thoroughly each time, and it keeps you free to engage in a more personalized way with the followers who need it.
Don’t Waste Time
One of the most important parts of engaging with your audience in a meaningful way is making sure that you’re responding quickly. The longer you wait to reply, whether it’s to a positive or negative comment someone made, the more power it loses.
It takes a lot for a person to attempt to engage with a brand, and if you can reply pretty soon afterward, it’ll make a much bigger impact than if you wait. You don’t have to watch your social feeds every second of the day, but try to create some type of routine. For example, maybe you sit down each morning to catch up with your audience.
When you’re able to engage with your followers in a way that keeps them interested, they’ll continually come back for more. They’ll reach out to you with questions, buy from your company again and pay attention when they see a social media post of yours.
The best news about this approach is that it won’t cost you anything – you don’t have to create a budget to communicate with people. But of course, if you’re ready to take social media marketing to the next level, whether that’s to run ads or simply manage your accounts, it won’t hurt to hire an Instagram ad agency or a Facebook advertising agency.
Author Bio: Brian Meert is the CEO of AdvertiseMint, a Hollywood based digital advertising agency that specializes in helping successful companies advertise on Facebook. Advertisemint has managed millions of dollars in digital ad spends in entertainment, fashion, finance, and software industries.
Brian is also the author of the best selling, The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising, and the innovative The Complete Guide to Digital Advertising Policies infographic. He is a 15-year digital advertising executive and a member of the Forbes Agency Council. Prior to founding Advertisemint, Brian built and sold Gofobo.com, an online ticketing system that revolutionized the entertainment industry and is now utilized by Warner Bros. and Disney.
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