Often what’s hailed as a social media success story turns out to be just another social media broadcaster: shouting to the world and not caring if anyone is listening. But social media shouldn’t be a one-way conversation, it should be about social media engagement with your followers.
Replies, comments, likes, retweets, shares, clicks – in order to make social media marketing work for your small business, you need to think about your followers first. Only if you can interact with them in a meaningful way will your social media engagement deliver results for your small business.
Find out if you’re a social media broadcaster, how you can kickstart your social media engagement with your followers and see examples of companies who get it right!
Next time you look at your social media metrics, don’t just look at the reach and impressions of your content. These are mostly guesswork, anyway, as it’s impossible to tell if people have actually registered your post or just scrolled past it.
Instead, look closely at the social media engagement you have garnered:
- How many followers shared your updates?
- How many replied or commented?
- How many clicked the link or image to find out more?
Social media engagement is the real indicator of your success on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. (Just don’t forget to convert these people into paying customers!). Just remember that what you have to say should be relevant to people and worthy of their time.
Read more about how you can find the best content for your social media marketing.
Are you a social media broadcaster?
Here are some typical signs that your small business’s social media engagement needs a little boost:
1. Concentrated blasts
Have a look at your account: Does your Twitter account show lots of retweets in a row? Are your Pinterest pins always published in bulk? Were your last three Facebook posts posted within hours of each other? This behaviour is very typical, especially for busy small business owners.
Usually, it goes like this: Whenever you have some free time (which is not often!), you go online and take care of your social media. This results in you bombarding your followers with concentrated blasts of content before falling off the face of the earth again.
2. Robot posts
Does the following sound familiar? Your recent updates contain mostly links, images or news without any personal message. Your retweets don’t contain a comment from yourself, telling your followers why this is worth sharing and reading.
Additionally, you’re not in the habit of thanking people for sharing posts. You also rarely answer questions, reply to comments or add personal updates to your feed. The result is that your followers don’t really know if there is a person behind this account or a robot.
3. Me, me, me
This is another popular one (not!): You mainly talk about yourself, your business and what you have to offer. You share your blog posts, link to your website, post your newsletter sign up and share your other social media profiles.
You show everyone what you are working on and generally use social media to keep people updated on what’s going on in your company. While that might be interesting to some, this one-way conversation is often only interesting to a point.
4. Blinkered updates
And last but not least, you’re a broadcaster if you’re never really on social media. You’re so busy you simply schedule posts in advance through a third-party app.
You don’t interact and never use hashtags to amplify your reach and engagement. You also never react to the news, a fun hashtag or comment on the latest Twitter storm. You stick to your editorial calendar, no matter what.
If any (or all) of these apply to you, it’s time for you to step up your social media efforts and engage more with your followers. Here’s how!
Increase your social media engagement
The following tips can help you be more social on social media and boost your engagement:
1. A personal touch
Always add your own voice to updates; make statements or ask questions. You can even be silly from time to time.
Just show your followers that you are human and there to connect, help and communicate.
People connect with people – they respond best when they feel that they are getting to know the person behind the brand. Try showing what’s going on behind the scenes on your Instagram stories, or film a short video showing your passion for your brand.
Never promote your business in more than 20% of your updates, people will see it as spam and simply unfollow or mute you. Fill your feed with content that is relevant and interesting to your target audience.
Help them, give advice and share your expertise. Show them that you understand them and know what their challenges are. Give them an opportunity to comment and connect even when you aren’t directly pushing your own content.
Take part in Twitter chats, create a Facebook group or be active in a group on LinkedIn. Attend tweetups, where Twitter followers meet in real life for a chat and some networking, if you can. Live videos are a great opportunity to have your audience ask questions for you to answer in real-time, building relationships.
If there’s nothing out there for your audience, create a hashtag and start your own social media event. A personalised hashtag that your core followers can start using helps enormously in building a community around your brand.
Make sure you get notifications as soon as somebody replies to one of your updates or messages you and get back to them asap.
If someone mentions you or shares your content, say thanks and make conversation whenever possible. Also, ensure your scheduled posts don’t interfere with any current events or news.
To reach as many of your followers as possible, find out the best times to post for your social media channels and spread your content out accordingly.
To save time and get the best results schedule your updates, as this way you can be sure your content is taken care of and you can concentrate on engaging with your followers.
Build a Community
The bottom line? Community is key when it comes to building a successful social media presence for your business. In this day and age, our platforms are saturated, and the choice for consumers can be overwhelming. So many businesses exist in every sector, and new brands with similar offerings pop up every day.
The successful businesses aren’t necessarily the ones who shout the loudest or post the most. They are the businesses that take the time to get to know their audience and offer them a sense of community. Everything listed in the steps above will help you achieve this!
Numbers seem to be what people strive for, but they don’t automatically equal connection. Here are a couple of brands, with vastly different audience types and sizes, who are doing a phenomenal job of creating strong communities online.
Instagram Followers to date: 22.7 million
Industry: TV and Movie Streaming
As the world’s largest subscription service, it stands to reason that Netflix would have a decent social media following. What they have created, however, is more than just impressive numbers on paper.
They have developed a consistent two-way dialogue with their fans, helping customers feel involved not only in individual show or film fandoms but in the Netflix community as a whole.
Fans connect through Netflix’s social media with people across the world with the same interests and likes. The brand has created a language that has become part of our culture, which is no mean feat!
Their willingness to joke, have fun and respond to their customers builds trust and familiarity. Not only that, but this dialogue gives them feedback which helps streamline their service and work on their business to constantly improve it.
Independent Girls Collective
Instagram Followers to date: 6.4k
Industry: Business Coaching & Membership
What Julia has done with the Independent Girls Collective is a perfect example of why engagement is so important. Over the past three years she has steadily grown her following through her determination to make her online space a community, not just somewhere to push her own services.
Her consistent engagement, genuine replies to every comment and willingness to give advice and answer questions has helped her audience grow to completely trust her. Her honesty and regular chats on Instagram stories help any potential customers feel that they are buying from a real-life person.
Her community is strong, friendships have been created through shared experiences and people come to her account not just to buy but to feel connected and inspired. An excellent example of why having millions of followers isn’t the only way to be successful on social media!
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
9 Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses
How to Add Personality to Your Social Media Marketing
4 Types of Social Media Content You Should Focus on
Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses