Engaging with Your Customers via Social Media

Social media engagement — when a customer likes, comments on, or shares your content — it is good for business. Most brands know that every good social media strategy fosters engagement, but many don’t really have a firm grasp of how to do so. For a bit of help, here are the do’s and don’ts of engaging with your customers via social media.

DON’T spam your audience. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the more you post, the more engagement you will receive from your customers. There is such a thing as posting too much on social media. Posting just for the sake of posting will inevitably drive your customers away. “In response to such increased noise, many consumers may respond by simply tuning out. Even worse, they may disengage altogether and even unfollow your brand, if they see that you post too frequently without providing anything of real value,” Brett Relander explained in Entrepreneur. “This may also occur when your target audience becomes turned off by the domination of your posts on their feeds. Given that the goal of social media engagement is to bring customers closer, this naturally presents a problem.” When deciding how often to post, it is important to have an understanding of what users on different platforms expect. While it is fine to post on Twitter multiple times per day (most users actually expect it), you will want to limit your Facebook posts to a maximum of one to two per day to avoid spamming users.

DO add value. Again, you never want to post simply for the sake of posting. Instead, make sure all of the content you are sharing with your customers is in some way valuable to them. It should align with their wants, needs, preferences, and interests, and it should also provide them with something. For example, it should entertain them, teach them something, or offer them a discount.

DON’T over promote your brand. Constantly going on about how great your brand is isn’t going to drive engagement. While it’s true that promotion is a component of effective social media marketing, this shouldn’t be your whole strategy. As a general rule of thumb, the majority of your posts should be focused on offering something to your customers, while the minority should be promotional. “Too many promotional messages not only annoy 60 percent of followers, they also cause 46 percent of people to unfollow a brand,” Andrew Caravella explained in Forbes. “Everyone has heard of the 80/20 rule, and it generally applies in this situation: Aim to engage your audience 80 percent of the time and promote your brand the other 20 percent.”

DO get creative. In order to engage your audience successfully, you need to be creative about doing so. For example, quizzes and contests can be a great way to shake things up and engage with your customers on social media. Research has consistently shown that they are powerful ways to drive engagement. “Quizzes work for many reasons. First off, they’re a guilty pleasure that too many of us have not indulged for far too long. They’re fun. They pander to our narcissistic sides,” Rohan Ayyar explained in Entrepreneur. “Ride this wave of interest in social quizzing by creating some fun quizzes of your own. They don’t have to be complex. As long as the quiz has an interesting hook that attracts your fans, is easy to complete, and, most importantly, complimentary to the quiz taker, you’re assured it will be shared far and wide on social media.”

DON’T take shortcuts. Boosting your engagement rates on social media takes a concerted effort in the long term. It requires an investment of time, energy, and resources. The bottom line here is that if you want to see success, you can’t afford to take shortcuts. You need to invest for the long haul.

DO invest in a social media strategy. A few posts here and there aren’t going to drive your engagement rates through the roof. What you need is a comprehensive social media strategy. You should ideally develop a content calendar, indicating what you are going to post and when in order to maximize visibility.

DON’T try to connect with everyone. When it comes to social media, you don’t need to engage with everyone in order to succeed. Instead, you need to develop a targeted strategy. That means focusing on cultivating your presence on social media platforms where you know your customers are most likely to be and investing in content that you know they will find to be of value. Of course, this all requires carefully developed and nuanced customer personas. If you haven’t already developed these personas, now is the time to start doing so.  

DO build relationships. In order to maximize your engagement rates, you need to build relationships with other influencers in your niche. A great way to build relationships is by cross promoting your followers’ content. If you share the things they post, they will be more likely to return the favor. This will help you to increase visibility with your target audience and subsequently increase your engagement rates.

DO automate. Many brands make the mistake of assuming that automation can be detrimental to their social media strategy by killing their personal touch, thereby impeding engagement. However, in reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Research consistently shows that automation can actually boost engagement. “Most social media campaigns are time-consuming. They leave very little time to do what we came to social media for in the first place – talk to our customers and fans,” Ayyar explained. “So why not automate the humdrum chores of putting up posts at all hours of the day and instead invest that time in getting to know your customers, listening to their conversations on social media – in other words, truly engaging with your users?” With automation, you can get the grudge work out of the way and leave time to engage in a meaningful way with your customers.

In conclusion, you can increase your social media engagement rates simply by making some tweaks to your social media strategy. Add value, get creative, invest in a strategy, build relationships, and automate, and you are sure to have success. Need help with your overall social media and marketing strategy? Contact 10twelve today!