So you've got a Facebook company page (you do have one right?), you've got a Twitter account (and you're using it?), you've set up your company LinkedIn Profile (you got this, too, right?), you've set up your YouTube channel, reserved your company name on Pinterest and you're creating engaging and unique content on a regular basis...people are starting to “fan” you, “follow” you, “like” you, and all of the other social buzz words.
Now that you've got some folks following you, how do you go about increasing engagement with your fans? How do you connect and encourage social sharing? How do you go viral?
1. Listen and Respond - have a conversation.
When your customers speak, respond and engage. Conversations are two way events, so be sure to respond to all of the comments, questions, or frustrations you receive.
2. Be Authentic.
It's critical to be real with your customers in the social arena. Customers can tell when they're getting spin, and they can tell when you really care. Be open, be honest, be authentic, and you'll increase social engagement dramatically.
3. Provide value, not just self-promotion announcements.
Nobody wants to hear someone talk about themselves all the time. Provide content that helps your fans grow, laugh, and experience epiphanies...content that they think is valuable.
4. Educate and Entertain, share images and videos.
People tend to share images and videos more than any type of content on the web. Take advantage of this by creating or sharing meaningful content with your users. You don't have to create all content; there is plenty of stuff on the web to share. You've just got to keep your eye out for the good stuff.
5. Provide Value.
The key to engaging with your customers online is providing value. Don't waste people's time. Provide content that helps them, encourages them, educates them. Provide a reason for people to follow you, read/watch your content, and share your ideas!
6. Make some irresistible offers.
Everyone loves a great deal. Reward your fans with specials that only they get to take advantage of. If the offer is interesting enough, they'll most likely share your offer with their friends...that's how viral marketing begins. I like it, my friends might like it, my friends' friends might like it. People often purchase what their friends recommend.
7. Take action.
When you receive constructive or destructive feedback via your social channels, take action. Own what you should own, defend what needs defending. Engage in the conversation - your customers are. This is a great opportunity to be authentic and provide value.
8. Provide Value.
The key to raising social engagement is providing unique and meaningful content that your customers can’t find elsewhere. If you want to increase social engagement provide value by becoming a thought leader!
9. Post often and regularly but don’t be annoying.
Your fans want to hear from you, learn from you, and engage with you, but it's important not to over saturate your message...otherwise it just becomes useless noise. Depending on your market, you probably only want to post a few times a day (people start tuning out if you post without value). For sure, post every day...or at least several times a week. But don’t be a spam poster...no one likes spam unless it's in the form of canned meat.
10. Provide Value.
And finally, provide value, provide value, provide value. This point can't be emphasized enough. People are busy, and they won't take the time to engage if it's not meaningful. Provide thought provoking content and you'll see social engagement rise.
I know what you’re thinking...there aren’t 10 unique things in this list...what gives?...I must have 10 unique items! Well, the truth is...the best way you can engage with your followers is to provide incredible value and earn the right to be heard. By providing value through amazing content, your fans will be compelled to share your content.
Honor your audience with your best ideas, best thoughts, and best content. In doing so, you'll become the thought leader that your fans are looking for. A side benefit is you will better represent your organization or cause, you'll learn more personally, and you'll have clearer thoughts. It's a win win. In the new economy, it's no longer about telling people what to buy...it's a two-way conversation and the value providers win.
Watching “The Voice” this season, one of the guest coaches said of a contestant, “We know you're cute. What else you got?” This may be the very thing your customers are saying of you, “We know you can do ______________. What else do you have? When there are 100 options for the same thing, why should I buy from you?”
Continue the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments below...or contact us today to see how we can help you engage with your customers.