Social media is a noisy and busy space but with some effort you can engage and connect with an audience and help build awareness of your brand.
Social media can work in your favour, it all comes down to how well you use the platforms and how you use the platforms to make genuine interactions with your followers.
Obtaining brand awareness on social media starts with productive and valuable engagement strategies.
Think of social media as your brand’s way to create an open line of communication with your customers, readers and fans. It’s no longer about a one-way communication practice, where you share information with your audience and that’s where it ends. Your audience can now engage directly with your brand to provide feedback, ask questions and seek customer support. This provides a massive opportunity for your brand to service your audience via social media.
Think of engaging with your followers on social media as building and maintaining short and long-term relationships. They take time and commitment, and often we need to adapt to meet the needs of each relationship.
So, what are some ways that you can engage with your audience on social media? Here’s our checklist for creating an engaging social media channel:
- Identify what function your social media platform will be used for. Is it a customer service tool, will it educate your audience, will it inspire? Knowing the purpose of your brand’s presence on social media will allow you create relevant content and respond to followers in an appropriate manner.
- Plan your content. Create a schedule for the content you wish to share on social media and you’ll be able to carefully consider the kinds of messages you want your brand to reflect and how you will engage with your audience.
- Schedule your content. Content can be scheduled to publish on social media channels which means once you have a plan in place and it is approved by management, you can schedule it and let it run its course for the upcoming week, fortnight or month (depending on how far in advance you wish to schedule content)
- Allow time for production of social media content, scheduling approved content, responding to followers and reviewing content that you have shared. Social media is a platform that is continuously evolving so it is important to review your brand’s interaction and determine if you need to adjust your tact or see if there is room for improvement.
- Be consistent. Publish content to social media regularly and consistently. Maybe a post every Wednesday and Friday suits you. Whatever you choose, keep it consistent rather than ad hoc so your audience can expect when to see your content.
Tailor your social media content:
- Consider video content. Video is rising in popularity across all social media platforms, and has proved to be engaging medium for users. Even silent video is on the rise. Could video content work for your brand?
- Use quality imagery. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Think of ways you can create beautiful and high quality pictures to share in your social media posts.
- Create an infographic. If your purpose is to educate or you simply want to share otherwise dry information in a more interesting way, consider creating an infographic. They’re far more engaging.
- Recognise the content that works for your brand. Watch how people interact and engage with the different types of posts you share and adjust your strategy accordingly. If your audience engages more with video than text posts, then you should create more video content. It’s all about tailoring your content to suit your audience.
How to create engaging social media posts:
- Ask questions. When sharing a post to a social media platform, see if it is relevant to ask a question to stimulate a response for your audience. If your brand sells different products, perhaps show a series of three of your best-selling products, then ask your audience “which one is your favourite?”
- Share a poll. Do you need feedback from your audience about something related to the services or products you offer? Perhaps you’d like to engage in a fun way by sharing a comedic poll. This is a quick and easy way for your audience to interact.
- Respond, as promptly as you can, to followers who are asking questions. They have made the effort to engage with your brand, so responding will show that your brand cares about building trust with your followers and is genuinely interested in helping them out. As social media is a platform that is instantaneous, a prompt response if best. If you cannot be logged in to social media channels all day and watching it like a hawk, set up notifications to alert you when a follower has sent your brand a message so you can respond straight away.
- Seek out and directly engage with your followers. Take an interest in their content – like their Facebook post, leave a comment on their Instagram photo, send them a tweet to engage in a recent conversation. By engaging with followers directly, they’ll not only become aware that your brand has a presence on social media, they may well choose to follow you or interact with you, thereby making a connection.
- Run a competition. While social media competitions are very popular these days, they offer a great opportunity to engage with followers. Think about doing a unique or creative competition so you can stand out and offer something different.
- Host a Q and A session. Whether it’s a live video on Facebook, a Twitter chat or a Google hangout, a Q and A session gives your followers a forum where they can be heard. The session can be used to answer important product or service questions, share information about a niche topic (especially if your purpose is to educate) or simply give your audience the chance to engage with you directly and instantly.
- Credit people when you curate content. If you are sharing content created by someone other than yourself, it is important to acknowledge them. This shows that you are not passing off someone else’s content as your own, and you can potentially engage with the very people who created the content in the first place. Tag them in a reposted Instagram photo, cite and hyperlink to their work in your blog post, give them a shout out on Facebook or Twitter – they may well like or share your post, allowing you to reach a bigger audience.
- Share user-generated content. Similar to the above, on curated content, you can regularly share content created by your followers on your social media platform. It’s a nice way to acknowledge and engage with your followers who are using your products or services, and show that you truly connect with your audience.
- Post about current events. Sharing posts related to current affairs or seasonal events is a great way to keep your content current and attract new followers to your social media post. It could cover anything from the latest government election to a sporting match or even a holiday like Christmas.