The world of social media is here to stay. Social media has forever changed so much of our lives. From communications, to media exchange, to overall connectivity and transparency. One area that has arguably seen the largest impact of this new avenue of technology is marketing.
Hootsuite’s® Global State Of Digital Report 2019 shows continuing growth of digital interaction worldwide. They projected a 9% growth year on year of social media users. The digital world is clearly not slowing down and not capitalizing on all aspects of the digital space is no longer an option.
So where does social media fit into marketing? Well the short answer is, everywhere. Social media has taken over the marketing sector. Recent studies and breakdowns show incredible leaps in the payoffs of marketing through various social media platforms and methods. Andrew Ruditser at Maxburst, a digital agency located in New York city, says: “It is obvious that social media marketing should not at all be ignored or neglected. There are many things to keep in mind to help make the best out of a social media presence that is used to market and drive social referral traffic.”
Engagement is the key. Within social media marketing structures (and all web presences really), engagement is quite the buzz word. What does it really mean? How can it be best achieved? Few brands really know how to build engagement. Soliciting a like or follow just is not going to cut it. Here are some helpful tips to maximize social media engagement.
1. Ask for Opinions
A great way to strengthen your interaction is to encourage conversation. Questions are a great way to start a dialogue and make people feel invested. People want to be heard and want to feel like what they think is important. You can never go wrong by giving potential customers what they want. That is how they become customers.
- Direct the questions: Try posting questions that ask for opinions or encourage people to share what they think about a specific topic. Try to keep it focused, as this can encourage more detailed thought and lead to a deeper interaction. A little direction can go a long way.
- Challenge your viewers: People respond well to a challenge. “Test your knowledge” style posts give viewers an incentive to engage. Be creative with it. Anything that challenges a viewer will be a magnet for interaction. Viewers really enjoy seeing these interactions as third party as well.
- Ask for specifics: if you post specific questions, you will get specific answers. This can both hook a viewer into feeling like they have something of specific value to offer with their response, as well as bring you potentially valuable information. Market research is a valuable commodity. With some specific questioning you have your research pool at your fingertips already. Take advantage of it.
- Up the ante for email interactions: This one can be huge if executed correctly. Email chains can be a great way to disseminate brand information. Chances are if someone is on an email list, they already have some level of interest in your brand or service. There is a great way to encourage and further these relationships and to make the most out of your email list. Ask them to email you back. Seems simple enough, but this can really go a long way. Ask for a response in your mailing list correspondence. It is not very often that people encounter that and can really feel like a refreshing new interaction with a brand.
2. Laughter is not just the best medicine
Humor can be your best friend. Not only do people get drawn in by humorous content, they also really want to share it. That is such a key staple to building the effectiveness of your social media presence. If a viewer is attracted to a post that is great, but if they also feel compelled to share it with their friends, that is golden.
Social media exists in most users lives not to be sold something, and even the communication element is not the number one driving force. People use social media to be entertained. This may be sometimes delivered more as a distraction, but the need for entertainment is what these distractions fill. Giving people entertaining content delivers exactly what they are looking for.
Humor can trend. Even larger brands like Wendy’s® or Chipotle® often insert wit into their social media posts and have even gone viral with these postings. These relaxed posts, using relatable humor can be very appealing. Younger audiences are attracted to these posts too. A little bit of self-deprecating wit can be a great way to show a comfortable and self-aware side to a brand that people really relate to.
3. Respond to everything
The thing about social media is that it is SOCIAL. Engagement works both ways. If you want people to be social with you, you are going to need to be social back. Sharing content is, of course, important, but any interaction a viewer has directly with you should be acknowledged and engaged with. Any question, message, or comment should be responded to. If someone has a question, answer it. When you get a message, thank the sender, and engage in what they are saying. Any comment your content gets deserves a response. When people leave positive feedback, it encourages the poster to see acknowledgement and thanks for them going out of their way to support. A little praise goes a long way, and it is encouraging to other viewers to see these responses. There will also be negative feedback, and if you take the time to attempt to resolve the issue this will also show that engagement with your brand is worthwhile.
4. “Like, Share, and Subscribe”
There are many more detailed ways to encourage people to be involved with your brand, but it can be surprising how well those reminders can work. Asking viewers to like, share, and subscribe may seem like a no brainer, and it is, but it can really matter. There are even brands who find ways to spice this up. People know by now that any content at all is going to encourage this, so if you can find ways to deliver it in a self-aware manner or to use humor, this can be highly effective.
One great example of this, and of effective use of humor all together is a YouTuber by the name of Davie504. This bass player manages an extraordinarily successful YouTube channel. If you watch ANY of his videos you will see him, almost incessantly, push for you to “slap like now.” He encourages likes, shares, and subscriptions multiple times per video, but he builds it into his persona as part of his humor. This has really paid off for him. Yes, his humor is what has built his following, but finding a way to not be annoying while spamming like requests is pretty genius.
5. Contests and giveaways
Everybody loves free stuff! And even just the opportunity for free stuff can really drive eyes to your pages. Contests and giveaways are a great tool if used correctly. This can sometimes seem like a shallow way to build interaction. It can be. With some thought and planning however, these can really be fantastic ways to build your following. Do not stop at just asking for likes or follows. Yes, this can be a good way to farm followers, but there are ways you can really strengthen your brand-follower relationship.
With giveaways, be creative with requirements. Ask people to visit your landing page or post a picture of themselves interacting with your product. Ideas like this push engagement a step further.
Promoting a contest can benefit from the use of creativity as well. Try things that require a small amount of skill or effort rather than just sheer luck. Instead of just entering anyone who comments into a raffle, try a contest for the best comment or review on a post.
These types of interactions can vary quite a bit in scope. Provide a suitable prize or reward for what you are asking for. The prize or reward chosen will be a valuable investment in building interest and brand loyalty.
6. Design and presentation
You need to attract eyes. It is important to stand out. The content you produce can greatly benefit from originality and professional design. Hiring a web design company to help with content production, graphic design, and web apps that are used with social media can be a powerful way to build a following. Building an app that links to social media and encourages sharing results is an ideal way to push engagement. This allows your reach to spread and your brand-follower connection to grow.
If you have not implemented any of these ideas in your social media strategy, you should consider them as you go forward. There are lots of things to consider and even if you are using some of these tools, there may be ways of thinking about them that you have not yet tried. Engagement is everything. It is not just a buzzword, but rather the backbone of your social media presence.