While it is true that social engagement can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your marketing and ultimately on the success of your business itself, it is important to remember that this engagement starts from within.
Companies which have a high level of employee engagement, as defined by BergHind Joseph, will ultimately be more successful. This is because their staff have improved morale and are highly productive. As a result they become great proponents of the brand they work for.
If a business has a high level of employee engagement it is easy to see this reflected in their social media profiles. The employees’ enthusiasm is infectious and results in social media campaigns which are vibrant and encourage the audience to get involved. A great example of this is The London Helicopter as not only do they provide beautiful images that their followers love to share but they are firmly rooted in their location and proud of their London links. This leads to considerable cross promotion of other businesses in the area, something which can only benefit all concerned. London Helicopter customers are also highly motivated to share their own experience of using the company and their positivity and excitement about their trip shines through.
If you want to increase the social engagement in your own business these key five areas can help you do so.
Visual mediums, particularly photos, work well across; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Images are more likely to be shared than other types of post and this interaction means that you will reach a wider audience. Where possible, tie the images to what you offer as a company but also don’t be afraid to explore related themes such as your location and current events.
As with employee engagement, social engagement works well when there is a level of gamification involved. Challenges, games, badges, polls and giveaways all increase audience participation. In turn, because the follower or fan is highly invested in the outcome, they are more likely to share it with their friends and followers. We as humans love to compete and so it’s only natural for your audience to spread the word to find others to compete against.
Any engagement in the so-called ‘real world’ starts with a conversation and the same is applied online. Encourage your followers to ask questions about your business and be proactive in providing answers and solutions if they should have any issues with your products or services. You can also pose questions to your followers and if these relate to your brand then that is ideal. You can learn a huge amount of information about whether you are meeting the demands of your target market by what is shared on social media.
We can only gauge our level of audience engagement and whether it is increasing or declining if we keep track of our results. There are various analytics tools for this and Facebook itself offers the ‘Insights’ information on business pages. ‘Insights’ offers a wealth of information including demographics and type of interaction, which allows you to hone your marketing further to meet your target audience’s preferences.
It is important that whoever manages your social media accounts should be highly engaged with your company vision as this engagement will make itself evident in the content updates.
Social media followers need to feel that they are interacting with people and not just with a corporate image. Social media needs to be a two way dialogue and your business will thrive in this arena if you not only acknowledge the comments, shares and likes of your fans but also actively engage in their conversations.
Before various social media networks played such an important part in our lives, customers who had complaints or compliments for a particular company had to write them a letter or make a phone call to the company in question. These days, all it takes for customers to pay a compliment or lodge a complaint, is internet access and a social media account, along with a few moments of their time to interact with the company online. Twitter has been a strong front runner for changing the customer service landscape and we think this is a trend that is not slowing down anytime soon.
Gone are the days where customers had to make a call and be placed on hold, sometimes for hours on end, when all they wanted to do was make general inquiries or lodge complaints about poor service. Social media has enabled them to chat online in real time with company representatives instead of being placed on hold. By having a social media account, queries, compliments or complaints can be dealt with in real time instead of having customers wait days or even weeks for a response in some cases. This means that the customer now saves a lot of time because of the fact that it takes just a few minutes to type up their query on the company’s social media marketing pages.
Because social media engagement is virtually an instant process, it means that customers usually receive responses to their queries online within minutes to perhaps an hour or two at most. This is because more and more companies are realizing just how competitive it is out there, so in order to keep growing their client base, they need to ensure that existing clients are kept happy while also using various forms of social media marketing to introduce new clients into their business network. These improved levels of customer service usually mean that existing clients will advertise on their behalf as well, which in turn will result in more business for them.
When it comes to social media engagement, it is very important for companies to realize that when customers interact on their social media pages, their responses, compliments or complaints are able to be viewed by everyone who frequents these pages. That is why these companies need to maintain a professional social media marketing image at all times and this means that no matter how small or insignificant a complaint may seem on the social media page, it is important for it to be dealt with as professionally as possible. Although social media is used by many businesses today, it should also not be the only way for clients to contact a company, as not everyone has access to these networks.
Many businesses today have realized that social media can be a powerful tool that has the ability to either build or break your company brand within a very short time. That is why it is important to ensure that it is utilized correctly by people who have extensive social media marketing experience.