Marketing January 18, 2017 Last updated January 16th, 2017 1,645 Reads share

Effective Engagement with Social Media

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Social media is the most powerful marketing tool available for those who want to effectively engage their target audience, but what does that really mean? For years’ businesses considered the number of followers they amassed to be a measure of successful engagement but today’s sophisticated analyses have debunked this fallacy. The number of likes a post generates is not as important as its impact on your target audience, which results in

Choosing Your Social Media Platforms

Your brand is more than your logo; it’s about you and your passions, what products and services you provide and how well you meet or exceed customer expectations. Each of these elements is a way to connect with and engage your target audience on social media. The goal is to have all content reflect your brand but not be repetitive and the best way to achieve this is to know why your target audience uses various social media platforms.

Facebook

This platform has over 1.5 billion users and there is a high probability that your target audience is here. Most people use this site to stay connected with friends as well as to be entertained or informed. This is the place to share stories and photos about your company, employees, volunteer activities or fundraisers. Include pictures of products, notices of sales and holiday promotions but this should be only one part of a broader campaign.

Twitter

Twitter has 313 million monthly active users and most people use this platform to gather news and information. This is the best site to share details about new products and services, sales, and events.

Pinterest

This site has more than 100 million monthly active users and is a platform people use to find trends and ideas. It is also where many women shop. This is a great site to introduce new products and ways to use, wear and decorate with them. Creativity is key.

Instagram

With 500 million monthly active users, this platform is the preferred social media platform for teens in the US. This site is known for its high engagement value and brand/product promotion.

These are only a few of the social media platforms available but they currently have high monthly user rates and many people have accounts with several of them. An effective marketing campaign requires your business to have a presence on most, if not all, of these sites and to structure your content to maximize engagement.

Platform Specific Content

People use social media for different reasons and often have profiles on several platforms because each provides a different benefit. To engage your audience you need to tailor your content to each platform.

Instagram and Pinterest are visual platforms that require great product photographs or interesting graphics. Successful Facebook posts are a combination of text and photos, often that share personal as well as product information. Twitter is a great way to link to other content you’ve posted but can also be used to promote new products, events or sales. Engagement starts by attracting your audience and each platform requires different techniques for success.

Engagement Tools

There are many ways to engage your target audience through social media but remember that most people access these sites on mobile devices and you must assure that your content is adjusted to this format. With that in mind, maximize engagement by:

  • Providing content related to trending topics
  • Linking to relevant content that adds value to your posts or tweets
  • Offering contests or sweepstakes
  • Posing clever questions or observations that encourage comment
  • Being funny
  • Making it easy to share your content with others
  • Using the calendar – in addition to national holidays, celebrate National Banana Split Day (August 25th) or anything else that might interest or amuse you target audience
  • Asking for shares, retweets, etc.
  • Offering a prize for sharing, retweets, etc., or enter those who do in a drawing

This list is by no means exhaustive but it is a great place to start. Ultimately, the goal is to inspire a positive reaction that attracts new audience members.

Beyond this list, the most effective way to engage your audience is to provide a timely and meaningful response to all comments. This turns the comment into a conversation and shows your willingness to participate in it. Commenting is also a great way to appropriately address concerns, misconceptions and problems.

Don’t Forget Your SEO

Many businesses focus on search engine optimization for website content and blogs but don’t recognize its value within social media promotion. Make SEO a critical component of your efforts to support your brand and to make your information easier to find.

Key activities include:

  • Use your target keyword in your social media accounts and account profiles.
  • Link your websites, blogs and social media accounts to each other.
  • Make sharing your content as easy as possible.
  • Use keywords, meta tags, and image tags to create searchable content.
  • Use your targeted keywords as hashtags in your post and only use one or two hashtags per post.

SEO is as important in your social media campaigns as it is to your website. It helps create a cohesive brand and make your content easy to access.

Use Your Analytics

Most social media sites offer free basic analytics that few businesses take advantage of. There are more sophisticated options available through most sites for a fee and also http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2491376,00.aspsoftware package that can help you manage your content as well as provide in-depth analysis.

Use this data to boost your engagement by determining:

  • The best time to post on each site to reach your audience
  • Which type of posts is most successful by site as measured by likes and shares (including retweets, etc.)
  • Which graphics appear most engaging as measured by comments, likes, shares, pins, etc.
  • What topics result in the most comments that allow for best engagement through responses?
  • Which of these items were not successful and therefore should not be repeated?

Social media marketing is a process and you will want to adjust your efforts on an ongoing basis. Your analytics will guide this process to increase your audience engagement.

Bottom Line:

Effective engagement requires a multi-platform approach with content customized to audience expectations on each site. It is a proactive process that makes it easy for people to respond to and share your posts. Using SEO and analytics to drive your efforts and produce tangible results.

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Brian Hughes

Brian Hughes

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