So your organization has a social media account, or maybe several. Good for you. But what are you doing with it?
Just being present on social media is not enough. People are overwhelmed with the amount of content available. Unless you’re actively engaging with customers and potential customers, your efforts probably aren’t generating much attention, much less conversions.
Despite a significant 3-year decline in social media engagement, most marketers still believe that social media is an important part of their marketing strategy. This is understandable, since social media marketing shows a lead-to-close rate that is 100% higher than other marketing methods.
What can you do to increase engagement and show results from your efforts?
- Engagement is a 2-way street, so engage! To build significant connections with your audience, you must consistently respond to comments and messages. Many brands on social media have a mostly one-way presence, but not responding to comments and messages can imply the brand doesn’t really care much about its audience. Responding on social media in a quick and authentic manner (no boiler-plate responses!) can increase organic reach and improve visibility on news feeds.
- Showcase your organization’s personality. If people don’t like you on social media, they won’t follow you. Think about some of the brands you follow on social media – what is it about them that appeals to you? Is it quick, upbeat responses to questions and comments (like Publix or Starbucks) or a cheeky broadside to competitors (like Wendy’s)? Find the style that engages your audience that is also consistent with your brand.
- A picture is worth a thousand words. Well, maybe not a thousand words, but it is well established that social media posts with images or videos perform better than non-visual posts.
- Social media = a virtual focus group. Why go to all the trouble to set up a focus group when you can ask questions and solicit feedback on social media? This is a great way to get feedback on a particular service or product. You can also solicit ideas for future content. Be sure to respond promptly to comments, though. Light-hearted polls can be fun, too, and create engagement. For example, every Friday, Goodreads posts the question “It’s Friday! What will you be reading this weekend?” Each week, there are hundreds of responses from followers and many followers use this post as a way to get ideas for new books to read and to weigh in with their comments about books and authors.
- Use today’s news and views. Seasonal topics such as holidays, weather and much more easily lend themselves to social media posts. But also be aware of so much more that your audience is interested in, such as a local high school debate team winning the state debate championship or a successful community service project organized by employees at your organization. And don’t overlook opportunities for agile posts, like Oreo during Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
- Don’t be ambiguous or misleading. Be clear with your messages. If there’s a call to action, be specific: say “call,” “download,” “follow” or a simple term for what you want the reader to do.
- Give props to your followers. Most people like to be recognized for their efforts. User-generated content is a good way to recognize fans and get more content for social media. Facebook has recently added a “Top Fan badge” feature, where followers of Pages who interact the most can add the badge to their posts on those pages. If you have “top fans” among your followers, be sure to interact with them directly and acknowledge their loyalty.
- Plan, plan, plan. An organized, documented social media calendar is key to consistency and timeliness with posts. Planning your social media content weeks and even months ahead will help to ensure you cover all the topics desired and in a timely manner. A calendar can also help you strategize with a variety of platforms and formats. Be sure to take advantage of each platform’s metrics to see what’s performing best and when, and adjust your schedule as needed.
- Listen and react. You can thoughtfully plan out the most comprehensive social media calendar ever, but if your audience isn’t engaging, it won’t do you much good. As stated above, you need to look at your metrics to see what’s resonating with your audience.
How well is your organization’s social media strategy performing?