Before we talk about how to improve your social engagement, let's define what it really means!
There is a lot of hype around social media engagement, some think it's about having the most followers or Likes possible, but there is more to the story.
Real social engagement is simple, it's the act of talking to your customers.
When you ask your customers a question, like “what should we put on sale next month?“, or, when you respond to a customer's tweet asking a question about your product, your engaging with that customer.
Engagement is really a fancy word for an old concept in business, being “present” for a conversation. In today's world of social media we simply use software “platforms” like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and many others to do it.
The key to effective engagement with your customer base is to remember that it's not how many you connect with, it's whom you connect with, that counts.
Imagine yourself going to a business mixer tonight, would you run quickly thru the crowd and hand out your business card to everyone in the room? Or, would you walk in and have great conversation with a few people about what you do and how you can help them?
That's the difference. Talking with the CEO of a company for 30 minutes and then exchanging business cards is much more effective than just handing him or her you business card and leaving.
One of the guiding principles in any relationship is taking the TIME to cultivate it. Your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, family, and friends take work! Social media platforms do not fix that problem, engaging with your customer’s takes time also.
A lot of people get on Facebook or Twitter and post a few things, then give up and say, “Social media doesn't really work“. Ask yourself if you spoke to your wife or husband for a week and then disappeared for the rest of the year, do you think you would get a Christmas gift when you came home?
You may come home to find your girlfriend is “engaged” to somebody else…ouch!
You have to give social media the time required in order to build what is commonly called “social currency” with your current and future customers.
Later, when you launch a new product and ask customers to buy it, you will have plenty of social currency in the bank to withdraw!
Some Helpful Tips
– Do respond to customer's comments and questions as quickly as possible.
– Do use fun (relevant) pictures and videos in your posts.
– Do be yourself and don't be afraid to have an opinion, you may polarize a few people who don't agree, but that's ok.
– Do post topics that are conversation worthy. If you want to be viral, then you must post something worth talking about.
– Don't schedule your posts or tweets thinking you can take a hands-off approach to engaging with your customers. When they comment or reply you won't be there to acknowledge them. They won't be happy.
– Don't create a channel on a social network and post a few times and disappear. A dead channel is a ghost town and worse than having no channel at all.
– Don't respond to some people and not others. If you respond to a few, take the time to respond to everyone. Be fair and you will get the rewards down the road.
Follow these guidelines and you will build a lot of social currency in your bank account that you can withdraw later for a big payday.