Today, the majority of your competitors are already on social networks. Therefore, just owning a Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest account is not enough for you. You need to understand each social network and see how it resonates with your audiences. Most importantly, you need to strategize every move you make to engage your audiences and inspire them to keep following you.
Here are a few simple ways to boost customer engagement on social by the end of the year – so you can take advantage of the Christmas shopping period and walk into 2020 with a vibrant community of followers!
Host Social Media Contests
Social media contests are powerful for two reasons – people love competing and they love free stuff. For you, this is an amazing opportunity to increase brand awareness, boost website traffic, and keep audiences engaged.
You first need to consider what type of contest will work for your audiences the best. For example, will it be a photo contest, video contest, or maybe sweepstakes? For example, Ipsy recently hosted a massive giveaway. They chose a simple giveaway type – the one where their audiences need to follow them, like their photo, and tag a few friends.
It’s always better to gamify your contest and encourage people to show their creativity to get rewards. Even those who don’t want to participate in the competition will be engaged, as they will get a chance to vote for a winning idea. Starbucks is famous for their killer contest campaigns. Take an example of the White Cup Contest. The idea is simple – the participants were the brand’s customers that used their white cups as a canvas to express their creativity. The winning design was turned into a limited-edition reusable cup. And, the benefits for your brand are amazing. You would get tons of user-generated content that would gain customers’ trust.
Depending on the contest type, choose your rewards. Start with smaller prizes and then proceed to the grand prize, such as exotic vacations, your premium products or services, massive discounts, etc.
The mere contest is already exciting, but your goal is to build buzz around it. For starters, promote your contest widely. Create a dedicated landing page, where you would explain how the contest works and specify the rules. Next, cross-promote your contest via social networks, email newsletters, blog posts, PR content, sweepstakes posting websites, etc.
Listen to your Audiences and Encourage Conversations
Let’s face it – your customers are talking about you on social. They use these channels to voice their satisfaction with your brand and share their opinions and experiences with the public. And, they want you to listen to them. Therefore, if you’re not paying attention to your customers’ conversations, you’re missing out on an opportunity to build stronger relationships with them.
For starters, use social media monitoring tools to listen to your customers and learn where they’re talking about you. For example, if you’re focusing your efforts on Twitter, but most of your users are on Instagram, how accurate will your customer data be?
Apart from telling you where your customers are, social listening tools help you understand what they’re saying about you. They let you set alerts for important keywords, such as brand or product mentions, and will notify you whenever someone mentions these keywords in their posts.
This is a great opportunity for you to boost customer satisfaction. Namely, by listening to them on social, you can participate in customer conversations and provide relevant feedback in real-time. Quicker response matters, as it shows your customers that you care about them. The idea is to encourage customers to mention you and share their feedback constantly. Never ignore negative feedback. Instead, use customers’ dissatisfaction to improve your brand and tailor your products to their needs and preferences.
One of the businesses that have mastered the art of real-time interactions with customers is Netflix. Even though they have tens of thousands of followers, they communicate with them regularly and make sure their messages feel friendly and professional. Most importantly, they use customer feedback to boost products. For example, they created Netflix Socks when they realized that many customers complain about falling asleep in the middle of the show.
Support a Social Issue
Clutch says that 75% of customers are likely to do business with those brands that support issues important to them. They claim that social responsibility, giving back to the community, and environmentally-friendly business operations are key attributes they seek in businesses. On the other hand, only 44% of them believe that the price is a determining factor when making shopping decisions. In the sea of similar brands, they look for those that share their values and goals.
Therefore, find the social issue you want to support and promote it heavily on social networks. This should be something you really believe in. Create videos, write articles, produce presentations – any kind of content that will intrigue your customers and inspire them to rethink their decisions. Apart from promoting your social activism on social networks, you should include other channels, as well. For example, have an entire page dedicated to it on your website, create informative emails, etc. Ensure your brand design is consistent across all brand promotion materials, be they business card printing options or website design.
Let’s take an example of Isla Ida Bracelets. What sets them apart from similar brands is the fact that they focus on giving back to the community. Namely, they have an entire collection of bracelets designed to raise awareness for causes and charities that need help (yep, they support over 30 causes). This is the idea they use when building their social strategy, too. Instead of promoting their Awareness Collection themselves, they encourage customers to share the photos of themselves wearing the items from the collection.
Show the Human Side of your Business
Today’s, customers don’t observe you only as a retailer. In the era of social media, the relationships between brands and customers are becoming closer and friendlier. Your target audience perceives you as their friend and guru. And, just like with any other friendship, they expect your relationship to be honest and transparent.
In other words, the traditional branded content won’t work for your audiences. You need to find a way to humanize your brand. For example, start by talking about the problems and pain points your business is facing every day. Talk to your customers just like you would talk to your best friend. Keep them informed about the things happening to your brand, as such exclusive insights will make them feel special. Trello is a perfect example of a brand that is nurturing personal relationships with their audiences, as they create relatable stories and express emotions in a humorous and easy-to-follow manner.
Another amazing way to humanize your brand and engage audiences is to share behind-the-scenes content. For example, if you’ve recently thrown a huge office party, achieved a milestone, or supported a local team or a charity event, why not share photos or videos? You could also encourage your employees to share photos and videos from the office, along with your branded hashtag. This is how you will make your brand closer to your audiences and encourage their likes, shares, and comments. That’s exactly why big industry leaders, like Ahrefs, do. Through photos of their employees and company events, they want to make their brand more relatable to their customers and future employees.
Schedule your Content Strategically
Just because you’re sharing killer content on social doesn’t mean you will grab your audiences’ attention and engage them. To do so, you need to share your content when they’re active. Sure, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy you can apply to all social media platforms. Your content scheduling efforts should be tailored to each social channel you use.
For example, research says that brands should post only one post per day on Facebook and LinkedIn in order to avoid looking spammy. On Twitter, you should curate and retweet between 7 and 15 posts daily, as this platform focuses on consistent interaction with your followers. Finally, the majority of brands share between 1 and 2 posts on Instagram.
Knowing how many posts you should share on each of these platforms and publishing content updates manually can be extremely overwhelming and confusing. Luckily, there are numerous social media management tools that may help you. For example, with Postify.com, you can schedule your social media content for free. You can add multiple accounts, automate and schedule your posts for an entire week, and manage your content from wherever you are.
Social networks are packed with brands and content similar to yours. Even though it may be difficult for you to stand out, this doesn’t mean you should give up. Instead, keep engaging your followers. Encourage their feedback, ask them to share UGC, host contests, and show the human side of your business. And, I hope these tips will help you!
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.