Engaging with your social media audience

Social media allows you to engage directly with your customers, potential customers, and brand representatives about everything from products to challenges, wherever they are.

Treat social media like a telephone, not a megaphone — this is the secret behind business success on these channels. By using engagement to reach beyond your walls, you enrich all of your marketing efforts with value and authenticity, giving you an agile platform to make business decisions, solve problems, share ideas, and have a two-way dialogue with your community.

Consider the following ten tips for engaging with your community online:

1. Be transparent

You don’t have to give away all of your business secrets. Take customers on a behind-the-scenes tour, actively solicit feedback, and introduce employees.

2. Build trust

Transparency is a big part of this. Other ways to build trust include being a helpful resource, like on your blog, and showing genuine interest in your community.

3. Stay on pulse

Talk about things that are relevant now. On the flip side, know when, as a brand, you should not talk, such as in the case of a national tragedy, or even a holiday.

4. Don’t overshare

Stay in the loop, but remember that posting too often can turn off your audience. Make a schedule so you share throughout the day and when most of your audience is awake.

5. Tell a story

Share how a customer solved a problem with your product, or link to a story about a hometown hero. This also ties into the content you create for your blog which you can share on your social channels.

6. Contact influencers

Start reading and sharing their social media content. This will give you background for establishing a relationship and the chance to eventually ask them to write a blog post for your blog, or to host a webinar for you.

7. Respond to feedback

Thank fans for kind feedback. Return the favor by sharing their original content. Don’t delete negative feedback. Treat it as constructive criticism and communicate respectfully around it. Get back to everyone within 24 hours, even if it’s just to say, “We’re working on a solution.”

8. Have a clear focus

Look for conversations around those searching for a recommendation, those who prefer your business or brand, or those who imply you have room for improvement.

9. Show your personality

No need to be stiff. You are just talking to people, not putting out a press release. Responding like a normal human being goes a long way.

10. Follow your following

Not only is this a kind gesture, but it will grow your overall following. When you follow back, chances are you will get public responses, giving you added exposure.

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