July 12, 2012

Top Tips for Social Media Engagement

As social media continues to become more mainstream, companies are able to interact with customers — and potential customers — on a more personal level. People continue to seek out companies on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and various blogs. They’re actively looking for information; they’re asking to be engaged.

So these days, simply having a social media page for your business may not be enough. Companies have to create a social experience that will encourage customers to come back and interact again and again. Looking to create an engagement experience with your customers? Check out our top tips for social media engagement:

  • Create a platform for conversation. Encourage your customers to participate in your social media efforts. Ask them questions — and answer theirs. Invite them to submit photos and stories. Show them that you care about their presence and participation on their page.
  • Make them part of your team. In order to give your market what it wants, you should be asking them, well, what they want. Bring them on board when you’re brainstorming a new product or service and ask for their advice. An example of this for a new restaurant might be a Tweet or a Facebook post that says: “Tomatoes are in season, and we’re featuring them Saturday! How would you like to see them on the menu?”
  • Reward them. Everyone loves a good giveaway. That same restaurant mentioned above could offer a $25 gift certificate for Saturday’s dinner to a random person chosen from those who submitted a recommendation to the request for ideas. Another good option is to offer a “fans of …” discount for anyone who mentions they saw your promotion on Facebook. The key is not to do it too much. You want to make sure people aren’t only on your page for the giveaways, but that they are visiting your page because they really are a “fan” of your company and want to know what you have to share.
  • Provide them information they need. A good social media plan will include informational posts as well as promotional posts. If you’re providing your customers with interesting information that relates to their everyday lives, they’ll continue to come back for more. But if every post is tooting your own horn, your fans are likely to lose interest. Give them something for their time. For example, a stationery store might provide a link and commentary on an article about the hottest wedding trends of the season. It gives couples information they’ll be needing while showing that your company is the expert when it comes to all things related to wedding stationery.
  • Encourage them to share. Give your fans quality, specific content on your website and social media pages worth telling their friends and colleagues about, and they’re going to want to share it. Make it easy for them to do so. And be sure you encourage sharing — the life of your content will be extended as more and more people share it, further telling the story of your brand.
  • Pay attention. Keep an eye on your various accounts and know what your customers are responding to. Track their interactions and responses. If an agribusiness company gets fantastic response to a question about how weather is affecting their crops, the company knows that that is an important issue to it customers — and something they should continue to discuss. This also is an opportunity to learn what kinds of products and services your customers are seeking, which will give you a chance to further promote your brand.

Social media is allowing companies more opportunities to get to know their customers and to let their customers get to know them. But, like a person-to-person relationship, if you don’t have anything interesting to offer, the conversation could fizzle. Keep that from happening by utilizing any — or all — of the tips offered above.

Now, to take my own advice, I’d love to know what kind of information you’d like to know about social media and marketing. Please leave a comment below or email me directly. I’d love to know your thoughts. And in the meantime, come find me on Twitter and Facebook for even more social media and marketing tips and tricks.