If you’ve been reading my blog regularly you know that social media engagement helps build customer-brand relationships, strengthens brand loyalty and increases word of mouth advocacy which is a much more potent tool than advertising to cold customers. However, I hear from so many people that their biggest struggle these days is community engagement. There’s a good reason for that too. Content engagement has dropped by over 50% in the last three years. That doesn’t mean all is lost however, because 92% of marketers still feel social media is important for businesses.
So what’s caused this drop in engagement? There’s a wide range of factors including the declining reach of Facebook pages, the misconception that simply being on social media is enough and customers who have become desensitized to the deluge of content that brands pump out every single day.
If you’ve seen a drop in your engagement rates or have just been struggling from the get-go, here are ten tips to help you break out of the slump and get people talking.
Be Active and Consistent
The biggest thing you can do is be responsive. The key to social media is to be social! Look at your own habits while on social media. Are you just mindlessly scrolling and sprinkling the occasional like here and there or are you leaving thoughtful comments and engaging with others? I’m a very firm believer that when it comes to social media you get what you give. If you’re just throwing up content for the sake for content and not engaging with people that’s exactly what you’ll get back.
So what’s the solution? Create content your customers are genuinely interested in and have genuine conversations around it. Responding, thoughtfully and consistently shows your audience that you’re invested make time for your customers.
Have a Personality
People are going to make judgments about your brand based on how you’re engaging with them on social media. That’s okay. When done well customers with shared values will gravitate towards your business. So know your brand voice. Are you sassy like Wendy’s? Or upbeat like Starbucks? Own it and don’t be afraid to let your brand personality shine.
Don’t be afraid to reply to comments and messages with GIFs or memes either, this can inject some fun into your page. Though with that said don’t use them for every reply and make sure you understand the meme before you use it.
Have a Clear Message and Call to Action
We’re living in an age of transparency. Audiences know when they're tricked into something. 66% of people feel deceived when they realize they’ve been baited into reading paid or sponsored content. Use clear words like “subscribe”, “download and “follow”. Your audience is much more likely to interact if you’re clear in your message.
A bit of a disclaimer here, however, don’t put all your content behind a download or subscribe wall. Don’t be afraid to giveaway some free information, the people who really want to work with you will. The information you provide to your audience illustrates your expertise and the right people will realize they could use their time to do it themselves or they could hire you. The bargain hunters will just use the freebies and move on.
Provide an Inside Look of Your Company
People don’t want to connect with a faceless entity, they want to connect with people. Show your audience behind the scenes, your processes, let them get to know the people behind the business, particularly if you’re a small business. There are plenty of people out there who love to support small businesses or feel better about where they’re spending their money when they know the faces behind the business.
Use Your Customers Content
People tell me time and time again that another big hurdle they face is knowing what to post, but if you have a good following on social media chances are your customers are talking and sharing content that you could easily share on your account as well. Many people are happy to let brands feature their images or feedback, most of the time you just have to ask. But what if people aren’t? Ask them to! Set up a contest where people have to share a photo or a video or ask people to share a picture of their favourite product of yours. Chances are the ones who are excited about what you’re doing will be happy to be involved.