Thinking about social media engagement can be intimidating. What does it mean? How often should I engage? Am I doing it correctly?
To answer these questions, remove the word social media and consider face to face engagement with customers and potential customers. In this consideration, engagement is networking, conversation, relationship building, answering questions and even laughing and joking. All of these interactions build trust between the company and the customer.
To understand engagement further, we can look at it in two phases.
First, new and small businesses can use low level engagement to get followers and brand recognition. Social media platforms have algorithms which determine if an account is active and popular. By learning about these algorithms, companies can get more exposure. This exposure will lead to followers; followers become potential customers; potential customers should become customers.
The challenge here is to come up with content that is engaging. People want to engage with content that is interesting and helpful to them. As a business, the goal is to find interesting and helpful content that is relevant to potential customers and engages them in discussions.
Videos are a great way to get potential customers’ attention. People enjoy videos and pictures the most. Posting an interesting video will provoke comments.
Blogs are another way to get people talking. Writing a provocative or helpful blog will prompt followers to ask questions, leave comments and tag the company’s account.
Posting articles or pictures of topical and current events is another quick and easy way to get new people to engage with your company. When doing this, be considerate and conscientious. Coming off as profiting from a tragedy or taking a political stand you are not ready to fully back can be dangerous. Consider the company’s brand, values and customers.
Commenting on other accounts’ content is another way to use engagement to get recognition and followers on social media. Follow accounts that are local, related and relevant to your company. Engage with their posts and their viewers in a positive manner to entice them to check out your account.
Consider tagging other companies you do business with. What about the restaurant you eat lunch at or the coffee shop you work out of?. Can you tag them in a post highlighting your favorite mid day snack? How about a supplier you are very satisfied with? Can you give them a shout out on their page and yours? These types of posts will bring your account to their followers.
Another way to get engagement on your accounts is to ask current and loyal customers to follow your company accounts. Ask them to leave comments, reviews or tag them in posts. Creating posts that highlight customers is a great way to create engagement and increase exposure.
The second phase of engagement is customer service.
Most business owners would never allow themselves or their employees to ignore a customer’s complaint or question during a face to face or over the phone interaction. Ideally, a solution or resolution which leaves that customer satisfied is the expectation.
Social media presents companies with the ability to respond quickly and publicly to customers’ questions, needs, concerns and questions. This is wonderful and daunting all at once.
First, it requires companies to be comfortable with opening themselves up to public scrutiny. While this may seem like a red flag, for today’s consumer, it is necessary. Millennials, especially, are looking to do business with companies that are genuine and have clear values.
Companies who are comfortable with their product and service should have no problem; however, there are always customers who are unsatisfied regardless of what the company does. Companies should have a public response for these people that is supportive and understanding, but that does not get into the nitty gritty details. For that, there are phone calls, emails and private messages. Nothing can be worse than getting into a fight in the comment section with your own customer! (Learn more about social media and customer service)
How do I know it is working?
All social media platforms provide analytics. Here companies can look at which posts do the best. They can measure engagement and look for trends. This data is valuable and should not be ignored.
There is no doubt that this takes time and many companies do not have the capacity for a larger marketing department or firm. However, each company must figure out how to run a digital marketing campaign that include engagement.