Try going to a happy hour for digital marketing entrepreneurs and not hearing someone, usually multiple people, chirping about social media engagement. To be fair, these happy hours aren’t usually the most thrilling affairs. Generally, it’s a lot of passing around of businesses cards and talking about metrics. But social media engagement is the hot topic right now as 64% of marketers have said that engagement is a crucial part of their marketing strategy.
The question is this: How do we, as social media entrepreneurs and digital marketers, engage meaningfully with our clients and customers? Keep in mind, this goes well beyond likes and retweets. A colleague of mine once stated with wink, “I want to be so good at social media engagement that I get my company invited to Thanksgiving dinner.”
Obviously, this is a bit of an overstatement, but that’s the idea, right? And the smart company won’t just get invited to Thanksgiving dinner but they’ll actually attend!
Social media engagement is all about usurping the idea of a company or brand being nameless and faceless. It gives your business a personality and a voice—something the people can get behind and trust. And trust is important in the world of social media because a staggering 71% of consumers said they were likely to recommend a brand or business to friends if they had a good social media experience with said brand.
In this article, I’m going to go over a few ways you can find new social media engagement opportunities and capitalize on them to help grow your business and customer base!
1. Ask Questions
Asking questions might be rule number one in social media engagement. Sounds silly, but it really works. Instead of just posting a message, picture or slogan, try asking a question about your customers and you’ll be surprised at the results.
These questions can pay dividends too. Consider this: if you’re a restaurant and you’re celebrating, let’s say, National Taco Tuesday, ask your customers if they have a favorite taco.
Notice any patterns?
Many of them probably had a similar kind of taco that they really love.
This isn’t just a great way to get new recipes but a wonderful method of finding out what your customer base really wants. You can then tailor your next Taco Tuesday to have major success!
2. Obsessively Use Video (and Do it Creatively)
Plenty of businesses come to us saying they’ve used video content in the past. Usually it’s something along the lines of short promotional videos or even how-to’s for their products.
These types of videos have their utility, but to cultivate effective social media engagement you’ve got to go beyond. That’s why we’re beginning to recommend going live in addition to staged content.
A recent survey found that 60% of marketers are using video in their strategies. Nothing surprising here, right? Here’s the thing, in that same survey, only 14% of marketers claimed to be utilizing live video!
With Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook all adding live facets to their social media platforms, why aren’t more businesses going live? Host a Q&A session with your customers or just go live and get a little goofy. Never forget, having a sense of humor can be powerful tool in digital marketing.
3. Contests, Contests, Contests
Ah contests, where we dangle the carrot in front of our customers and we hope that they bite. They can likewise be powerful tools and giving away one small item for the amount of engagement you can get back is worth it almost 100% of the time.
I have plenty of digital marketing colleagues who have sworn off contest for one reason or another but I implore you to chew on this: 8 in 10 people are influenced by a friend’s post on social media.
And contests are all about sharing, posting and reposting. The general set up is this:
- Post a pic of the item you’re giving away
- Tell your customers they must be following your social media account
- Like the photo
- Tag a friend who also follows your brand on social media
Then watch the likes, shares, tags and reposts roll in!
Contests can be fickle though so I always advise brands to run them once a quarter or just twice a year or so. Of course, strategic placement of contests is key. Generally, you’re going to run one when you’ve got something up your sleeve—a major announcement or something similar.
In our age of rampant social media use, it’s more important than ever to engage meaningfully with our customers. This is why social media engagement needs to be near the top of your list when it comes time to construct a social media strategy. And, who knows, you might just get a Thanksgiving dinner out of it!