Social media is no longer just a place, where it’s good to be. It became a way of communicating. And that’s how we are supposed to think of it. Especially, when creating a social media engagement strategy. It’s not about what and when. It’s all about how and with who. Social media is called social media for a reason. It’s all about people and how they connect. It’s not a one-way street. It’s a constant conversation. And the question is: How can you join in?
First of all, you need to understand your followers.
Seems so obvious but just think for a minute: can you right now clearly define your target audience? Who are the people you want to speak to? What do they do? How old are they? What do they like? And WHY do they want to spend time with you? Do you share your knowledge or experience with them? Maybe you make them laugh? Or simply make them feel better?
All of these questions help you create your own social media strategy. Because when you know who you are speaking with, you can adjust and create the best possibilities for a conversation.
When you know who your target audience is, it’s time to think what you want to gain by being on social media. And even more – what do you want to gain by being on this specific social media platform? You need to have a clear vision of what your goal is. You may want to increase sales? Focus more on branding? Or get first-hand consumer feedback? Basically, you need to have a plan.
You may also have different objectives on different platforms. For example, you can use Facebook to engage with your audience, show your company’s culture as well as your products. On Twitter, you can show off your experience and knowledge. And on Instagram, you can share cool pictures to boost your employer branding. Many platforms, many options. The floor is yours!
Every social media platform is a little bit different. There are many approaches on how to pick and choose the one that will fit you. But the easiest one is to go with your gut. Select those which feel right for you. Remember that you need to feel comfortable with the vibe of the platform and its community.
When you know what you want, and who you want to engage, with it’s time to think of how you can reach them. And furthermore, how to convince them to talk to you.
1. First and foremost, you need to post content regularly.
Every platform likes profiles which post regularly and with no long periods of time in between. When a social media platform sees that you do so, it will be more eager to promote your content. But to convince users to engage with you, you need a bit more than just pushing out posts.
2. Make sure you speak the same language as your target audience.
This is why we started with know your audience. To encourage people to comment and react on your posts, you need to communicate the same way as they do.
- Maybe this means using more formal or informal language.
- Posting more videos or GIFs.
- Maybe it’s time to get some use out of emojis?
The easiest way to know how to talk to your target audience is to go where they are. Check out different accounts, pages and groups where you think your potential followers are. See how they’re communicating and replicate the language.
You can learn more about your audience using a social media monitoring tool like Brand24. By monitoring keywords relevant to your business (for example, keywords related to your industry, product name or competition…), you can learn who your customers are, what their expectations are, on which social media platforms they hang out and more.
Give it a try here.
3. Speaking of being where your audience is — you need to engage with them first.
Don’t wait until your followers reach to you. Be the first one! Ask questions. Give them the opportunity to voice themselves. Create content that is not only interesting but also engaging and shareable.
And engaging with your audience shouldn’t only be happening on your profile. Reach out! Monitor what other say about you and your brand. Track not only your tags and hashtags but look for untagged posts. There are many tools that can help you trace your audience, Brand24 being one of them. And when you do find the places where your potential followers are – talk to them! Answer their questions, listen to their feedback and try to help. Be the one who starts the conversation and the one who’s not afraid to join it.
If you eat a 4 for $4 with a Double Stack in the woods, but no one is there to see it, is it OK to go get a second one? pic.twitter.com/PCGguDnVa0
— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 2, 2017
4. Don’t just sell.
As the name states itself, social media is not selling media. It’s all about social. The selling part is just like an icing on the cake. Just a sweet addition to all the things that social platforms got to offer. And the biggest one being the direct communication with fans. Use it. And don’t abuse it. You don’t want to hang out with someone who just wants to sell you something. You want more. And so does your audience. Share your knowledge. Be entertaining. Give whatever you can. And then maybe try to sell. Or just hint that you may have what they are looking for.
5. Be current.
Social media platforms change all the time. Lately, there is not a single day without any news or updates in a social world. And I know that it takes time and effort but believe me, it is worth it. To drive engagement to your platform you need to know how the platform operates. But this doesn’t mean that you need to implement every single new feature and change your strategy every time Facebook changes its algorithms. You need to know what is happening and then think, how it will affect your engagement and if you can use it to your advantage. Your every move on social media should be tailor made for you and your following.
And it’s important to avoid bad practices when you post, especially on social media platforms like Facebook:
You can gain so much by engaging with your audience. You just need to give them a chance. Talk to them. Learn from them. And if you do everything right, you can improve not only your product or service but also gain a faithful group of followers that will stick with you almost no matter what.