Social media engagement is an integral part of any online Virtual marketing campaign. If a company fails to utilize the reach and influence of social media, it will always fall behind, at least compared to its competitors. But engaging your target audience on social media is not an easy task. It requires careful planning, effective social media presence management, and skillful audience interaction.
Respond to Questions, Mentions, and Messages
Most people feel more relaxed online than offline because writing a comment on Facebook is much easier than calling a hotline or filling out a feedback form on a website. Also, don’t forget that depending on the industry there are specific social media platforms, such as e.g. the social media platform for the investment industry. Users often try to draw attention to themselves: they leave reviews, publicly criticize and praise, ask questions, and contact brand representatives with suggestions.
Even if the subscriber’s question is unoriginal and has been met dozens of times in the community, it is better to answer it, and personally. Address the user by name and pay attention to his/her words. If you have scripted answers to frequently asked questions, don’t copy them verbatim – the subscriber should feel that he is being answered by a live person, not a robot.
Questions asked in public should be answered in the same way – don’t turn the conversation into private messages unless it’s absolutely necessary. Firstly, other people will find the necessary information in this correspondence and will not ask again; secondly, this way you will show that you are ready to dialog and do not hide anything.
Tracking and responding to comments about the company is just as important as filling the community with content. Big brands even hire separate employees to do this, since it is a crucial part of social media engagement. You need to work with comments quickly: your client is used to communicating in real-time and almost doesn’t see the difference between correspondence with a friend and a community administrator. According to Sprout Social research, on average 30% of users are willing to wait about four hours for a response, and if there is no response, they can easily leave for a competitor.
Some advise taking a wait-and-see attitude. If there is a discussion under a post, do not respond to comments too often and quickly, especially if there are no questions about your services or products. Give participants space for communication by voicing their own position in one or two comments.
Work off the Negativity
Posts with reviews and testimonials are a familiar genre for any social network. Users regularly tell subscribers about trips to restaurants, fitness clubs, and beauty salons. For most people, this has become an occasion to share impressions, no less than a trip on vacation or a trip to a concert, so people do not expect a neutral or positive response. Rather, it becomes a pleasant bonus.
It is almost impossible to build a business without responding to negative reviews, so you should not get upset and take them to heart. Many conflicts can be smoothed out by being considerate and caring.
To professionally work off negativity in social networks, you need to remember the following:
- Never delete negative reviews. It’s hard to hide anything online. Other followers can see the comment before you do, and the author can take a screenshot. A company that pretends that bad reviews never existed looks immature, like a kid who erased a D in his/her diary;
- Be calm. To avoid escalating the conflict even more heatedly, manage your emotions and take a short pause before responding. The person on the other side of the screen is also upset and angry, from you he expects help and attention, not mutual insults;
- Be mindful of other users. Any conflict on the Internet is public, which means that along with the victim of bad service, the rest of the audience is watching its development. Show them that you care and are responsive;
- Stay polite. If the customer accuses you fairly – admit fault. If he exaggerates – politely clarify the situation and apologize for the misunderstanding. Never start a war with personal attacks and a vindictive desire to prove that your opponent is a scoundrel;
- Resolve the problem. Polite apologies without concrete actions can be annoying, so you need to publicly tell how you are solving the problem and report back on the result. In some cases, it’s not unreasonable to offer a conciliatory bonus: a discount, free shipping, or a souvenir.
Use Interactivity for Social Media Engagement
Subscribers of a community can become its co-authors. Few people come to social networks to read about products and services in a targeted way – mostly users want to have fun and get their share of attention.
When you’re trying to spread the word about your brand and deliver a helpful product feature or update, you’re communicating information. Yes, a standard press release is familiar and understandable, but how boring and won’t engage an outsider. A sincere story of your company’s development, a contest, a short film about your ideas will allow you to use the advantages of the game, which will bring a competitive spirit and excitement. And what can make your campaign more viral than user-generated content (UGC)?
Your fans can create videos, articles, designs, art – anything related to your brand, you just need to find a good motivation (it can be money, a year’s supply of your product, travel, etc.). Once a decent number of entries have been collected, allow users to vote for the best creation themselves.
Finally one of the easiest ways to spike social media engagement rate is crowdsourcing, or in other words, public opinion, which is collected through polls on Facebook or Twitter. Talk to your subscribers, ask them what flavor they want to try, what blouse they like, or in general, what ideas and tips for your products they have. Users love freedom, and when they can voice their opinions, and realize they are important to you – it improves loyalty, and you gain their valuable knowledge, experience, and creativity.
Crowdsourcing is a method of gathering ideas, content, support, or other types of solutions from a group of people. Professionals around the world are increasing profits by crowdsourcing. They organize contests, and surveys, get instant feedback, listen, and utilize data/ideas from customers.
Crowdsourcing for your business products increases engagement, builds audience loyalty, and shows that you are an innovative, modern company. Adding a competitive element will only give them more motivation to participate.
To Sum Up, when registering on social networks, brand representatives should realize that you can’t use these platforms only for advertising. Get ready for subscribers and clients to seek communication with you and ask uncomfortable questions. The task of an SMM specialist is to make this communication effective for both parties.
After some work on social media, you have accumulated a certain amount of user-generated content. However, on your website, the main role is played by you, and when a customer comes there, only reads information about you and can’t participate, or talk to you. If all the fun ends up on social media, you’re missing out on users.
So when you organize contests and games, don’t forget about the site. You can also enable commenting on your blog so that users can have a discourse there and you get all the benefits of user-generated content.