So what’s the point of social media marketing? Likes? Re-tweets? Gathering em-mail addresses?
All of the above. The key is engagement and how you use networks like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to build a great customer experience. Social media is the front line of customer service, with consumers posting 24/7 and talking directly to your brand and your followers. As soon as customers decide to engage with your business on social media, they’re not only supporting your company, but trusting your brand to solve their problem, and you need to be there for them.
So how do we create engagement? Go NORTH.
Nurture Your Followers & Influencers
Hash it out
N is for Nurture
When it comes to social media, it is all about engagement and education. Not only are you interacting with customers on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis, but you are educating them on your brand and why they should buy your products or use your services. You need to nurture that relationship and hold up your end of the bargain using your content. Blog posts, infographics, videos, guides, webinars and emails are just some of the examples of the educational content they can receive from you. Make yourself stand out by giving them things they can use in their daily lives or that they can bring up in a conversation with friends and coworkers.
You also need to nurture your most loyal customers, your brand enthusiasts and influencers. Encourage them to post about your products by sharing their photos and posts on your company page (with their permission of course). This will not only show an authentic and genuine person using your products, but it will incentivize customers to use your hashtag and post about your brand in hopes of being featured.
O is for Outreach
Starting up the conversation with your followers is the most direct way to to increase engagement. From asking about their opinion on a new product to taking a poll of what they want you to do next, reaching out and starting a conversation with your followers is key. Try to think of engagement as a long-term relationship. To have a successful relationship, you cannot do all the talking! Your followers will get bored and move on to the next brand. Not only initiate the conversation, but be sure to respond!
R is for Respond
Social media is becoming the preferred method to communicating with a company or brand. From issues with shipping or the quality of a product to saying how much they love something, consumers flock to social media to interact. So it is your job to respond.
From answering questions to thanking someone for the kind words, showing that you are reading and acknowledging your consumers posts makes you a more genuine brand. It can also help problem solve and contain a situation from getting out of hand. If someone makes a complaint and you do not respond, other users may begin to comment and keep the thread going. If you interject with a simple, “We’re sorry you are experiencing a problem. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can review your order,” that can put out a lot of fires.
T is for Tempt Them
Another great way to start the conversation, gather e-mail addresses and get consumers to follow you on social media or click through to your website is through incentives. Contests, giveaways, games and coupon promotions are all great ways to get people to not only engage, but compete and sign on for what you want them to know.
If you can’t afford a huge contest, offers and discounts are always a great way to engage with consumers. There are a few things to keep in mind for a successful promotion on social platforms. First, make sure the discount is substantial (a free item or 20% off or more). An image of the free item being used by someone will always attract more followers than your logo or a text heavy photo. Finally, be sure to set an expiration date on the offer, giving people the sense of urgency to act.
H is for Hash it Out
Creating content can be tough. There are 365 days in a year and multiple social media channels, so why not ask your dedicated customers to help you out?
Create a hashtag unique to your brand and encourage users to post any relevant content using this hashtag. It’s a great way to see who is using your product and to track the conversation that exists about your product on social media.
Another great way to use hashtags is on topics that are currently trending. Posting about holidays (#Halloween) or evens in your area helps add you into the search results for those items that are in the news and going viral. This can attract new followers to your brand.
You’ve gone north, now what?
Now that you’ve started creating content for your channels, how do you measure your engagement? This can get broken down in the analytics for each channel, but here are some key things to look for. With Facebook, obviously you are going to look at organic and paid likes, unlikes, mentions, post engagements, links clicked, comments and shares. Twitter is similar, looking at impressions, links clicked, retweets, replies and likes. Instagram has an analytic for most engaged hashtags and LinkedIn has impressions, clicks, likes, and shares. Use this data to see what is attracting your followers, what type of content is creating engagement, and build your content strategy from there.
These are just a few of the engagement measurements and tactics to use when using social media as a marketing tool. If you are interested in having a social media audit done, or just getting more content ideas for your channels, contact Go North Branding.