The power of social media cannot be underestimated. Social media marketing leads to increased brand recognition, an improvement in brand loyalty, conversion opportunities, and higher inbound traffic to your website. If you haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon yet, then it’s time to do so.
In a video presented by #Socialnomics, you’ll find the following statistic:
With the majority of buyer’s purchases being influenced by social media and the additional advantages of social media marketing, creating a social media campaign is the best way to take your brand to the next level. To get started, let’s talk a look at the top 15 social media hacks to jump start customer engagement.
Live Industry Chats
Twitter is an excellent resource because once in a while, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a live industry chat. To join a live industry chat when it’s taking place, all you need to do is to post on your brand’s Twitter account using the chat’s official hashtag.
In addition to Twitter, other brands feature hangouts from time to time. Another prominent social media outlet that you should take advantage of includes Google Hangouts through Google+.
During the live chat, keep in mind that you don’t want to sell your brand. The purpose is to present the brand as an expert member of the industry with an authority regarding products and services in the area. As the brand participates in the chat, those who follow the brand will be prone to commenting about the discourse and engaging about what you’ve said.
Bypass YouTube and Vimeo When Uploading Videos to Facebook
Most brands upload their videos to YouTube or Vimeo. While uploading your videos to an existing video hosting site is convenient, it also stumps customer engagement and prevents traffic to your website.
According to Xoombie, Facebook makes it easier for traffic to reach brand websites when the videos are uploaded directly to the social media site. As Xoombie mentioned in its post, it followed a Reddit user’s A/B split test. During the split test, the control group was the YouTube video posted to Facebook, while the variable was the direct post to the social media site. The A/B split test indicated that the video posted directly to Facebook generated more traffic to the brand’s webpage compared to the YouTube video post.
As a result, it is best to bypass video hosting websites so that your brand gets the full benefit of the post. Despite the inconvenience of not using a video hosting site, the advantages far outweigh the inconvenience
Add Photos to Your Posts
No matter how interesting your social media post is, you are unlikely to meet your potential threshold by posting only words. According to the Social Media Examiner, adding photos to your social media posts is the easiest way to increase your brand’s social media engagement.
While the rule is generally uniform for all social media platforms, here is some research performed on posts to Twitter:
Clearly, the more your brand puts effort into posting excellent quotes, the higher your consumer engagement. At the forefront of post quality are posts that include photographs. As you can tell, adding photographs to your posts improves the post quality enough to increase engagement by 35%. Consumer engagement on social media comes in many forms. Generally, if you are using Twitter, photos lead to more retweets. On the other hand, if you are using Facebook, consumer engagement can include commenting on the post, sharing the post, or liking the post.
Follow a Posting Schedule
Another strategy you should be following is to abide by a social media posting schedule. As Inbound Marketing Blog mentions, brands that follow a consistent posting schedule are more likely to generate more leads, have higher consumer engagement, and experience more sales than other brands.
Following a posting schedule is effective because the posting timeframe ensures that your brand is posting at times where a social media site has the most traffic. By targeting high-traffic times, more of your customers and prospective customers will see your posts, leading to a higher chance of engagement.
Generally, your posting times are going to vary depending on the social media platform that you are using. While you can certainly target all social media platforms, it is best to stick to those where your customers are mainly found. For example, if you are a home and garden brand, then your prime social media platforms are Pinterest and Facebook.
Let’s take a look at the best times to post on each social media platform for the greatest level of consumer engagement:
Social media postings vary from social media site to social media site. Keeping the differences in mind can lead to the successful results that you are aiming for.
Respond to Your Social Media Followers and Customers
While social media is one of your best tools as a marketing professional, it can also be your most dangerous. There are two ways you should engage with customers. First, you should always respond to negative comments by your customers. Second, you should respond to positive comments about your brand.
Responding to negative comments is imperative if you are going to improve customer engagement and enhance your brand’s image in the marketplace. According to Baba Shiv, a Professor of Marketing at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, “Research shows that customer emotions become permanent with time. It’s best for an effective intervention to take place as close to the experience as possible.” Essentially, it is vital that you respond quickly to negative comments by your customers and others. The longer you wait, the higher the chance you lose out on future engagement and the more your brand’s image diminishes because customers develop a permanent negative view of your brand. It is also important to take the negative discussion offline if at all possible.
Touching upon the second point, responding to comments is also necessary because it prompts trustworthiness. At the same time, it builds a relationship with your customers and gives them the impression that you care and appreciate what their opinion of your brand. When responding to positive comments, CoSchedule has some helpful hints:
- Respond as quickly as possible – within 24 hours is ideal
- Give credit to commenters
- Share comments
- Say thank you
With these tips, you will be able to make the most out of your social media responses to prompt engagement.
Give Social Issues a Chance
Many brands shy away from commenting on social issues on social media. Sometimes though, commenting on social issues can benefit your brand and lead to more engagement. The key is to find the right social issue and to properly gauge your customer’s position on the issue.
According to CoSchedule, 69% of individuals share information about social issues because it makes them feel more involved in their community. Another 84% share because it enables them to support causes they care about.
When sharing your brand’s position, you don’t need to do so directly. Many brands post pictures, infographics, or videos. One especially creative way to show your support for a good cause is by utilizing your own brand – just like Oreo did:
Reward Brand Loyalty
There is no better way to improve consumer engagement than to give a reward. While there are a number of options for rewarding brand loyalty, the best way to do so is to run a social media contest. As GroSocial mentions, social media contests are creative, engaging, interesting, an ideal way to grow your consumer base, and generate awareness of your brand.
When running a social media contest, the best prizes are often those that attract your customers. For example, if your brand handles hardware and home repair services, then the ideal prize would be a gift card to a hardware store or a home décor store. This way, your customers not only enjoy your brand’s services or products, but can also get a relevant prize along the way.
For a Boost – Promote Your Best Content
If you are using paid advertising on Twitter or Facebook, then for an engagement boost you should promote your best content. According to SmallBizTrends, by only promoting your best content, you’re ensuring that the content will have a substantial impact on your customers.
To differentiate the best content from the mediocre copies, first review how many clicks the content received on its first post. Once you figure out which content had the most viewership, perform a view changes, and then post it to your customer’s favorite social media website at the right time of day. This strategy will lead to more views and a boost in customer engagement. Just don’t forget to respond to what your customers have to say.
Outsource Your Strategy
With so many responsibilities, not every marketing professional has the time and resources to generate a social media campaign to improve consumer engagement. Moreover, following up on that campaign can be even more of a challenge. As a result, it may be best to outsource your strategy for the best results.
As Quertime points out, there are numerous responsibilities to outsource. The most common outsource is the content marketing itself. When choosing a content marketing group, look at their experience, their success rate, and ask for references so that you can be sure they are a great team to have on board.
Visual Content to Increase Engagement
Just like videos increase consumer engagement, so does visual content. Visual content is attractive because it gives the consumer something to read, it provides them with useful information, and in most cases, it’s fun.
According to Business2Community, visual content leads to 180% more engagement than content without visuals. If you’re looking to improve the impact of visual content, then it may also be best to hire a graphic designer. Graphic designers can work with your brand to provide exactly what you imagine and produce it in a manner that looks clean cut and highly professional.
Give Your Audience More Attention
Your main target when boosting social media engagement is your customer. Most brands make the mistake of simply promoting their brand on social media or explaining what’s great about the brand. Rather than adopt this strategy and provide for an adverse effect, you should do your best to reach out to your audience and to illicit a response from them.
As Social Media Examiner points out, there are numerous ways to prioritize your customers on social media and to actively reach out to them for increased engagement. One of the most effective strategies is to find content your audience can truly relate to. By doing so, you can narrate your posts to the content, thereby leading to increased engagement.
A second effective strategy is to find out which social media website your audience is most prone to visiting. For a good look at the current favorite among most Internet users, just check out the visual below:
While the social media sites in your social media engagement strategy will vary depending upon your target audience, Facebook still needs to be a cornerstone. Simply put, no matter your target audience, they are on Facebook. Therefore, make sure that your social media strategy includes this social media powerhouse.
Add a Video Page
If your social media account allows you to add a section for videos, then you can take a tip from the best by creating videos that pique your customer’s interests. For an excellent example, all you need to do is to look at what Whole Foods has done.
Whole Foods has a YouTube account dedicated to posting videos that their customers are interested in. With this strategy, not only does Whole foods gain attention and viewership, but the brand also improves customer engagement with posts its customers care about. In addition to cultivating engagement among current customers, the strategy Whole Foods has implemented also draws new viewers and new potential customers.
Ask Your Customer’s Questions
There is no better way to get your customers to engage than to directly prompt them to do so. The best way to achieve this is to directly ask your customer’s questions. According to Social Media Examiner, giving your customers the opportunity to chime in compels your customers to feel cared about. It also gives your brand insight into what your audience’s opinion about your brand.
When asking customers to chime in, you don’t need to stick to petty topics. Some of the topics may even be altering for your brand. For example, some brands have gone as far as asking customers what they think of a new location, where a new location should be in a certain area, or what style they’d like to see in a new product. This information can assist you to decide the best direction for the brand within the next month, six months or two years.
Utilize Social Media Monitoring Tools
Handling your brand’s social media marketing campaign to foster customer engagement isn’t always easy. To do a better job, you may want to implement a number of social media marketing tools. As Forbes mentions, it can be challenging to exchange your brand’s hard earned cash for social media monitoring tools. To ease the burden, there are a number of free tools online that can get the job done just as well and as easily as the paid versions. A few of the most widely utilized free tools include Topsy, Brand24, and Icerocket.
Encourage Users to Post Their Own Content
Finally, there is no better way to encourage customers to engage with your brand than to ask them to post user generated content. This type of content is cost-effective, but also has the most impact upon millennials. For example, according to Direct Marketing, 59% of millennials take into consideration user generated content when making a buying decision.
To make the most out of your user generated content, you can hold a contest. Most brands will initiate contests that result in a giveaway of a quality brand item for the best user generated content. When asking customer to create user generated content, it is most beneficial to ask them to use your brand in some manner in their content.
One of the best examples of this concept is a helmet brand. In its social media user generated content contest, the brand asked users to adorn its hats with their favorite art and other decorations. The customer who did the best job received a new helmet from one of the brand’s top product lines.
Social media is an invaluable tool for your overall marketing strategy. Brands that utilize social media strategy effectively can enhance their brand, its visibility, and its recognition in the industry. While the strategies above may take some configuration and investment, they will lead to the best results. On the bright side, as “hacks” the strategies above should be easiest to implement. Overall, the more you focus on brand development and its overall marketing strategy for the coming year, the longer term benefits your brand will receive.