Rick Barron
Rick Barron 4 September 2019

Know Your Audience

Businesses struggle to get engagement on social media because they do not know what it means in the first place.

What is social media engagement?

Businesses struggle to get engagement on social media because they do not know what it means in the first place. Social media engagement isn’t interacting with a single customer on social media. It is building a relationship with all your customers over a long period of time.

Don’t forget that social media is where people connect, associate with each other, and share content just like we do offline. Audiences today are so desensitized by the deluge of content that brands need to find new ways to proactively reach out, rather than passively waiting for them to engage.

1. Respond to Questions and Customer Issues…quickly

The biggest key to social media engagement success is to build long-term, meaningful relationships with your audience.

If all you do on social media is post content, you are doing it wrong. Social media marketing is not about sharing alone. Social media is another channel for customer service. Digital marketers call it social service care.

According to J.D. Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service.

In fact, 92% of companies are failing when it comes to social service care. Consumers do not only use social media as a customer service channel. They also expect a fast response when they use it.

2. Don’t be stuffy

People will make judgments about your brand based on the way you engage with them on social media, so always be authentic. Know your social media brand voice.

This is particularly important because 80% of people on social media choose to follow brands based on whether their content feels and sounds authentic.

In fact, people often unfollow brands for not having a personality, or for using slang and jargon that doesn’t match their brand voice. Know who you are and don’t be afraid to let that personality shine!

3. Incorporate the right images into your posts

There are tons of statistics and studies which reiterate one clear finding – visuals matter.

Buzzsumo has shown that adding visuals to Facebook post results in 2.3x the engagement rate, while tweets with images can generate over 150% more retweets in comparison to text-only updates.

Twitter posts also generate better engagement when marketers use Twitter Cards. ShareKit enables you to create these without having to fiddle with any code.

And if you need some modern-looking stock photos which don’t look stiff or overly posed, there are loads of beautiful (and free) options from Pexels and Unsplash.

4. Ask for feedback and reviews

Ask your followers for feedback on your product or service, and respond to each of their comments (especially the negative ones).

Strike up a conversation about a trending topic and ask them what questions they would like to see answered in the next blog post or webinar. Something else to do and so easy, set up a poll just for fun.

5. Post current and relevant content

Consider tapping into trending topics and doing event-based marketing on social.

And you don’t have to stick to conventional calendar holidays like Valentine’s Day or Christmas, either - pop culture holidays like Star Wars Day or National Puppy Day provide so much more potential for fun, shareable content.

There are some great free social listening tools out there to help you track what’s trending at any time. If you’re looking for something more real-time and robust, try Hootsuite or Sprout Social.

6. Have a clear message and call-to-action

Today is an age of transparency. The sophisticated audience knows when they’re being tricked into something and 66% of audiences feel deceived when they realize they’ve been baited into reading paid or sponsored content.

What is key here is to be upfront with what you want.

Using clear words like “download”, “follow”, or “retweet” can result in up to 23x the engagement rate compared to posts without clear CTAs.

7. Recognize your fans and post user-generated content

There are clear benefits to using user-generated content for campaigns, the most significant of which is the increase in social media engagement rates.

Fans appreciate being recognized by their favorite brands, and reposting user-generated content is a great way to strengthen your community and include your customers in the conversation.

8. Plan a content calendar

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Planning, via a content calendar or the like, is important to ensure that your social media postings remain consistent and timely.

CoSchedule has one of the most comprehensive and in-depth content calendar tools in the industry, and they’re super generous with lots of free templates and actionable tips on what, where, when, and even how to schedule your social media posts for fuss-free campaign roll-out.

9. Switch things up

Not every post format will see the same rate of response across every audience.

Videos might get the most impressions, but may not necessarily score high on engagement because the audience sees it more as a show, rather than a conversation.

Similarly, the audience of a technology-related B2B social media page may not respond as well to a light-hearted GIF as compared to a substantial infographic.

A good strategy is to try a variety of formats – news, quotes, humor, surveys, videos, images, infographics. Track what works, then adjust your campaign accordingly. 

10. Know your audience

Social listening is so important - you need to understand what your target audience responds to, not just focus on what you want to say.

Good social media engagement is determined before you even start typing up that clever tweet.

That’s because you need to get into your audience’s head before you even decide on things like the social copy, posting frequency, and what you’re going to share.

Why? Simple: Your audience is going to tell you what they want to see from your social media account.

Too many businesses make the mistake of guessing at what their customers want on social media. And when they don’t engage, the same businesses are left scratching their heads wondering what went wrong?

To counter that, you need to spend time immersing yourself in your customers’ needs, desires, and pain points. What is your customer telling you they’re struggling with? How can you use social media as a solution to their problems?

Read this guide to conducting audience research to learn how to know about your target market.

Social media engagement is a continually evolving landscape

If you haven’t yet worked it out yet, social media is about building relationships, so follow all the same principles as any other social relationship – be a good listener, be authentic, be consistent, but shake things up once in a while.

Relationships also take time, so don’t be disheartened if your engagement rates don’t immediately jump overnight.

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