5 tricks to engaging your social media audience for the long-run
Social media is the new master of the concrete jungle, and with good reason. Its many platforms provide a reach to the farthermost corners of the world. Today, social media contains platforms like Facebook, its linchpin so to speak, whose user-base makes it a community in itself, larger than the population of both China and India. But most importantly, social media provides us with the avenue to network, a stage to showcase our brand value, be it personal or a collective.
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Startups and corporates today have one thing in common – they are all trying to use social media as their main tools for promotion. Almost every company has a social media executive – unofficially or not – who has the challenging responsibility of publishing content that will not only procure a wide reach but will also keep the same audience engaged in the long-term.
While various brand managers have spoken about keeping to their own tricks of the trade, we have compiled a list of five simple tips that will help you keep your social media audience both engaged and interested.
Browsing for information
The first step to building a strong social media hold is to engage in the right kind of ‘social listening’. This means spending more time searching through the various platforms to find your target audience, who are directly or indirectly speaking publicly about your brand or industry. According to research, only 24 percent of businesses are engaged in social listening. You should be thoroughly searching platforms like Twitter and Facebook, where even if the users aren’t tagging your official handles or pages, they are still speaking about the same potential services. These are the groups that you need to track down and reach out to so they can follow your brand online.
Using the right keywords and tools
To this end, you need to know how to track down your potential users. Keyword-searching is the easiest way to do this. For instance, if Twitter is your primary social media tool, then you need to enter the right hashtags or handles in the search browser that will open up a page with tweets related to your company. Other than streamlining through the popular social media platforms yourself, you can also use social media management tools like HubSpot and Social Mention that perform automated (and sometimes manual) searches for content related to the keywords you have noted down.
Interacting with your potential audience
It isn’t enough to just find your potential social media audience. You need to engage with them in the process to keeping them engaged in your brand as well. For this, you should think up an interactive structure which will help you communicate directly with your audience and receive their feedback and requests, around which you can build your following projects. There are challenges to this process. Some users may withdraw their public statements in fear of harassment from an unknown source while others may take it as an opportunity to backlash against your company. Risks aside, direct individual communication grants you access into the core of an inside community.
“We interact with our followers individually to breed a close community of brand ‘insiders’ who feel comfortable regularly engaging with us,” says AJ Nicholas, Senior Director of public relations and marketing for ‘Rent the Runway’, as stated by Mashable.
Choose the right platform
Ask any social media manager and they’ll tell you that one of the most challenging parts of their job lies in managing multiple platforms for the brand. Sometimes, juggling three or four of them leads to a waste of a lot of important matter because of time-crunches and online activities. To make matters simpler, you should choose only two or three main platforms where you wish to promote your brand and keep things simpler. For instance, a company involved in a visual medium programme should look towards Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. On the other hand, a news media organisation could look at Facebook, Twitter, and Periscope.
“I think the best advice for businesses that are trying to take things online and create a presence is first to watch — instead of jumping in — and look at pages that you like and make active observations about what's going on,” says Doug Quint, owner of Big Gay Ice Cream. “If you're not comfortable on one of these streams, don't sign up,” he adds.
Give them an incentive to follow you
Perhaps the most important point for all brands alike – you need to give your social media audience a reason to follow you. Today, the internet is so infinite in nature that a single user has the option of choosing among a hundred different sites or pages in any given minute. To make sure that this user chooses your brand over the others, you need to offer some kind of incentive to the same, for them to follow your page dedicatedly. This could be in the form of prize-winning contests or gift vouchers for purchases above a certain amount.
RG Logan, Director of strategy at Carrot Creative, says, “Everybody loves free stuff — that's been true since the dawn of time. We've worked on enough of campaigns to realize that the real strength in a sweeps is the scale of the audience you'll bring in. Sweepstakes and contests are a great way to generate leads and build your CRM database.”
While these are only a few prime tricks to start pooling in the numbers on your social media pages, they’re guaranteed tried and tested crowd-pullers. Do you have more suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!