Social Media Marketing Strategy: Get Started With 1:1 Engagement

Over and over the biggest problem I see about how individuals and businesses are using social media is that most of them use it as a push channel What do I mean by that? It means that rather than developing engaging content and talking directly with an audience, content is pushed out, often automatically, to social media without a thought for the person who may be reading it

Or, more importantly, without ALSO engaging the audience directly, in addition to one's content strategy Business-to-business, or B2B, companies are especially guilty of this — but they don't need to be Pushing out relevant content can be beneficial to you and your audience But if it's done in a vacuum, you'll be missing out on what makes social media truly special and successful The whole idea of social media is to be social, so of course it's going to be important to be empathetic and to be human, and to talk to people as if you know them, or that at least they're your acquaintance, if not they're your friend

So, it's one thing to market to your customers, but on social media, it's also important to build that relationship, and when you build that relationship, your customers will welcome the marketing messages, because you've earned the right to do that" So let's talk about the benefits of talking more directly with your social followers and prospects First, you can build your brand by having direct contact with your audience It shows you care, that you are interested in them It gives your brand a human element, and remember what I said before about people wanting to interact with people, not brands? Second, you can improve your reputation, especially if you are engaging with unhappy individuals

Show that you are listening, show that you care and that you actively want to improve their situation and make things right Third, you can answer questions that many of your prospects and customers might have By responding to questions, other people with the same question may find the answer without having to reach out to customer service Fourth, one-to-one engagement helps you provide additional value to your audience You can give tips and tricks to individuals directly, you can give advice, or you can share fun facts that your audience might not be expecting

Fifth, you can amplify your reach I know, that sounds funny when we are talking about one-to-one engagement, right? But those direct interactions have a cascading effect, particularly when it comes to word-of-mouth Excited and engaged customers may engage more often, share your material, and, most importantly, tell others of their positive experience This is especially true if you turn a negative to a positive for a customer That brings us to the sixth benefit, increase customer loyalty

I just mentioned how powerful turning a negative experience into a positive was, and in fact, according to Bain, customers are likely to spend 20 to 40 percent more with a business after a successful social customer service experience It's fascinating to me that we push content out in the social space and then when someone responds to it or engages with that piece of content, we ignore those comments It's like calling someone on the phone and they answer but they don't say anything It's so rude, I'm just saying, it is so rude So if you truly are about growing your business, and you're sharing content, and you're not engaging with those people that are engaging with your content, commenting, sharing it, connecting and maybe retweeting it if you're on Twitter or wherever, and not acknowledging that, then you're missing such a golden opportunity to really connect with people, and hopefully have them continue to share your content or comment on your content

So now the big question I'm sure you are asking is, "How on earth do I get started?" By diving in Here are some things that you can do to foster more general social engagement: Respond to comments, even if it's just with a like or a smiley face But, Be honest, transparent, and personal Have a personality and be truthful in your dealings with customers and prospects Cinnabon, an American chain of baked goods stores and kiosks has regular exchanges with their customers that show their personality and their love for what they do

Be funny Use humor thoughtfully For example, an upset customer may not appreciate a joke, but for the most part, humor makes a brands seem more real, more in touch Food delivery service Eat24 is a master of joking with their customers in a way that makes them smile Offer additional value

Consider how you can surprise commenters with a coupon code or access to supplemental material When someone is rewarded for their engagement, they are more likely to continue engaging In this example, someone mentioned on the discussion website Reddit that they were reading my book and my offering them the free companion cookbook resulted in a sale from someone else who saw my comment Ask for reviews We do this at HubSpot Academy

When someone tweets out that they were just certified, we will often ask them to review us at G2Crowd When people are happy about the work you do they sometimes just need to be told how to share that love Ask for product commentary If you are implementing a new site feature, see what the audience thinks before you move forward Or how you can tweak it after it goes live

Conduct polls This is an easy way to show the audience you are listening and that you care about their opinions The key here is to follow up and demonstrate the outcome Share the results, deliver on their opinion For example, when I worked at Keurig several years ago, we asked people if they were interested in having the company make a green or a blue coffee brewer

We let the audience decide and ultimately made the green brewer Fans were delighted Respond to comments in real time This is a great tactic for any company, but especially for B2B companies with products that may be more complex Invite special guests, conduct live demonstrations, host your own live shows on a specific topic

Have someone feed you questions coming in from comments and address them in your live show Tag guests so they can help extend your reach If you have a guest blogger on your site, or your podcast, or videos, tag them in the content so they can help share it Thank them for their participation Reference the amazing content of others

If you are a team of one or just a few people, this is something really easy you can do to drive engagement and interest from other influencers, to build relationships and to extend your reach Encourage readers to comment, like, and share This is a simple ask, but it can be very powerful According to Buffer, your tweets have a 12x higher chance of being retweeted if you ask for it and 23x higher if you actually spell out the word "retweet" Use this tactic sparingly so as not to seem too self-serving

Consider starting a Facebook or LinkedIn group What a great way to really engage with your followers! You'll need to be able to dedicate the time to moderating and participating in these groups, but the power of doing so is so worth it Online magazine The Cook's Cook was looking for a way to reach more individuals and started a Facebook group Their main page, as of this recording, has 6,508 followers, but their Facebook group has over 89,000 members! Sounds like a great reason to consider a group, right? Ask a question and respond to the answers This seems so simple, but few companies take advantage of this easy way to drive engagement

And finally, use emojis It's a fantastic way to put a personal face on your brand content And it works! For example, social analytics firm Quintly, found that the use of Emojis Can Lead to 477% More Interactions on Instagram Even just adding a few of these tactics into your everyday strategy will help make a big difference

You'll have better connections with your audience, greater reach and improved brand awareness and loyalty!

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