Four Tips for a Successful Social Media Engagement Strategy
Social media engagement has become a hot topic among marketers in recent years. Most know they need to achieve it—but at the same time, they don’t know exactly why it’s important or how to get there. That’s why having a social media engagement strategy is important.
Let’s start with the basics: what is a social media engagement strategy? Forrester says it best: “Engagement is the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy and influence an individual has with a brand over time.”1 It’s a strategic plan of how well you’re building meaningful relationships with customers through your social networks.
Why is social media engagement important?
In the past, businesses relied on one-way push communications like advertisements, direct mail, email, etc. that offered little in the way of relationship-building or true value-add. Then social media came barreling onto the scene, giving birth to a two-way communication model that fundamentally changed the way businesses interact with their customers.
- More than 3.2 billion people are on social media globally
- 86% of consumers are looking for an authentic and honest brand personality on social networks
- 97% of marketers are using social media to reach their audiences2
- The average person spends 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on social media3
In other words, your customers and competitors are hanging out on social media. Not only does engagement have the power to extend your brand reach exponentially, when users see industry peers showing interest in what you have to say, you organically build credibility that gains momentum over time.
How to increase social media engagement: Four tips for an effective social media engagement strategy
- Know your target audience
Identifying your target audience is foundational to a social media strategy that drives engagement. Sure, you may have a general description of your audience, but do you truly know the persona of your ideal client? Start by determining exactly who your product or solution is designed to help. Identify key demographics, such as age, gender, financial or marital status, physical location, line of work. See how that maps to your customer based. Consider also looking at the customers your key competitors are targeting. Once you have a demographic profile in place, identify their pain points, their buying behavior and what motivates them. It is only when you truly know your audience that you’ll be able to break through the clutter and effectively create a social media engagement strategy.
- Communicate value
You’ve got the who in place, now turn your attention to the what. What will you share with your audience that will compel them to take action? (Hint: they are not interested in a deluge of sales pitches.) Offer a variety of substantive content that educates and informs—both your own organically created material and curated content from outside sources. Establish yourself as a thought leader and trusted source of insight by sharing material that will make your ideal customer’s life easier in some way. This isn’t about you, it’s about them.
- Use a variety of social media marketing tools and tactics
One of the most effective ways to increase social media engagement is to get creative with your social posts. Consider hosting contests where users are asked share something specific—or even tap them for user-generated content. Not only do people love sharing about themselves, this also shows that you care about who they are. Or, do a live video where you answer common questions, demo a product or maybe offer a behind scenes look at your operation. Want to keep it simple? No problem. Simply ask followers for feedback about what they’d like to hear about, then implement their suggestions! There are so many creative tactics you can employ to pique their interest and attract them into a dialogue. Have some fun; your audience will appreciate it!
- Set metrics, track and adjust as needed
To understand how well you’re connecting with customers, identify key social media engagement metrics and track as you go. There are several you can track, and each one tells you something different. For example, many businesses are focused solely on increasing the number of followers as part of their social media engagement strategy. They think if their follower base is growing then they’re killing it on social media. Sure, you could be growing your follower base exponentially, but if they’re not engaging with your brand, where’s the real value? You want to compel your audience to take action and increase social media engagement. Track clicks, likes, comments, shares, mentions and retweets. Identify which types of content are driving those behaviors and which are not—then adjust your content strategy accordingly.
Your social media engagement strategy plays a key role in your overall marketing plan—but you have to be thoughtful about it. The fact is, social media is only as good as your ability to engage and interact with your audience. When you do this well, you’ll boost brand awareness, drive more potential customers into your funnel and ultimately support your organization’s revenue goals.