A vast majority of companies use social media for marketing purposes. But what does that mean?
Your company’s social media campaign should include creating a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, a Twitter profile, and maybe a few other profiles depending on your industry. The next step would be deciding how to present your company on these networks. Finally, once you have completed these steps, comes the most important part of strategy: engaging your audience. Without engagement, there will only be a one-way communication between your company and the audience, which makes your services less likely to stand out. Engaging with your audience helps you understand consumer behavior, needs, and wants, so why deprive your company this valuable knowledge?

Engaging in social media isn’t that difficult, but it does take a lot of time, effort, and dedication. It also means that you really have to listen to what your audience is saying. Here are some tips you could use to do this:

–          Organize a contest: Companies commonly have contests on social media to increase brand visibility. Your fans can ‘share’ the contest with the people in their networks. You can add a ‘like’ requirement on the contest page, which leads to an increase in your company’s ‘likes’. Be sure that the prize seems like a great incentive to enter the contest.

–          Announce an event: People like to meet people with the same interests because the emotional connection is already there. Offer the users in your community the chance to not only meet new and interesting people, but also to experience something new. Provide a good reason for them to be there. An event could include workshops, activities involving your brand, or perhaps live performances and free giveaways. Don’t be afraid to collaborate with other companies you have a relationship with, because this can add value to the event. If you invite people to the event via social media, people can click on ‘attend’ and this way you can measure the popularity of the event in real-time.

–          Ask for opinions: People like to share their opinions with the rest of the world and the Internet makes it quick and easy. You could ask your audience for feedback on a new concept or product, or even a past campaign. You will give the people in your network the opportunity to have some input and the sense that their opinions matter to your company. To further strengthen this emotion, you should respond to their comments. The tone of your responses should be professional, appreciative, and personalized. Don’t give a canned response that’s the same for everyone. Make them feel like they are actually contributing a lot to the quality of your products and services, which is true, and they’ll be happy to help.

–          Interact externally: By this I mean that you have to find ways to communicate your message outside your own social network profile. Weighing on a trending topic, as long as the topic concerns your industry and you make sure you add value. This will create brand awareness and if you mention your social network presence, it will lead to more web traffic as well. It’s an indirect method for direct customer engagement.

–          Appreciate brand advocates: Active participants on your profile are irreplaceable. Acknowledge their value and appreciate them. Why is this so important? Because according to Onenineninety.com, 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while 24% trust brand advertising. Moreover, they choose to act as a brand loyalist and do it for free. Many companies  propose special offers to brand advocates.

–          Frequent updates: Keeping your audience’s attention requires regular updates. Once a week is not enough to keep your community captivated. However, all updates about your company products should be interesting, so don’t post an update that has no meaning to your online community. Posting different kinds of updates (pictures, video, links) can also keep an audience engaged.

I hope you will find these tips useful and that they will lead to an increase in web traffic to your company, stronger customer relationships and loyalty and an increase in brand visibility. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment.