All everyone used to talk about was social media follower count and how to grow it. Today, social media discussions are focused on engagement. And for good reason. It doesn’t matter how many people follow you if no one actually cares about what you’re posting! Here are four tried and tested ways we use to improve businesses engagement on social media.
1) Follow the 80/20 Rule
You ever meet someone at a party only to have them drone on and on about themselves? It’s torture, right? And if that person then tried to sell you something? You’d probably make a beeline for the door. What’s boring or off-putting in real life is also boring and off-putting on social media.
“What’s boring or off-putting in real life is also boring and off-putting on social media.”
If every post you create is self-serving or sales-y, you’re going to have a hard time getting people to pay attention. A good rule of thumb is that 80% of your posts should educate, entertain, or provide value. Try to keep the more sales-oriented posts to around 20%. Everyone understands that businesses need to sell things, but your primary objective should be providing value. Keep those pure sales-focused posts very strategic.
2) Just Say No to Cat Videos
Now for the fun part. While entertaining does NOT mean posting cat videos (unless you sell cat food), creating engaging content is equal parts science and art. Take a look at what has worked for you in the past or examine what is working well for competitors. Get creative and think about topics that might not be directly related to your business, but would be of interest to your audience and help build your reputation and credibility. Think about what your audience wants to learn, not what you want to say.
“Think about what your audience wants to learn, not what you want to say.”
Wendy’s is a prime example of a business that uses social media to entertain. Their witty comments and responses to customers and critics make people want to pay attention and keep the brand’s name top-of-mind. Yet, not every business is suited to take this strategy on social media. Companies with a more serious product or service (especially those that sell to other businesses) should probably stay focused on their own industry.
3) Don’t Worry About Giving Away Your “Secrets”
Taking an educational approach not only showcases your industry expertise, but it also shows that you aren’t just out to get people’s money. This demonstrates your trustworthiness. For example, if you sell commercial real estate, teach people what specific attributes of a space are important to consider as well as which terms should and shouldn’t be included in a lease.
Some may argue that if you tell people how to do things, then customers won’t need you. But we’ve never seen this actually happen in real life. Plenty of how-to resources already exist. Those DIY types are going to find the info if they really want it.
On the same accord, if everything you sell can be taught in one blog post, you probably have bigger problems than social media. So, if you sell software to small business owners, teach your followers what to look for when selecting your type of software (without necessarily mentioning your product). Or, if you sell automotive services, teach your followers how to jump-start a car or change their own oil.
4) Play Nice in the Sandbox
Engaging with other accounts (whether they be other businesses or individuals) is a necessity, especially if you’re looking to build your audience. Share blog posts from other businesses’ websites. Like and comment on their posts. After all, they’re looking for engagement to improve their reach, too. The more goodwill you can build, the better. In turn, those accounts will (hopefully) share your posts every once in a while. And if you can get other accounts to share your posts, that not only improves your engagement, it also gives you access to their audiences. Don’t be that kid in the sandbox that doesn’t help others, but still wants everyone to pay attention while they build their own sandcastle.
“Don’t be that kid in the sandbox that doesn’t help others, but still wants everyone to pay attention while they build their own sandcastle.”
You can formalize this process by teaming up with a social media influencer. The most obvious thing to look for in an influencer is someone with a decent following that shares a similar target market to your own. However, be sure to also find someone that has good engagement of their own. A huge following is pointless if that person isn’t connecting and interacting with people.
-by Meghan Martin, Director of Communications, Green Loop Marketing
Green Loop Marketing is a marketing agency located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We combine solid social media skills with great content, community outreach, and strong overall strategy to drive visitors to your website or place of business.
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