How to use social media to engage with your audience

Published: 05/10/2018

Social media is literally everywhere. The likelihood is you are using it; your friends are certainly using it and even the leader of the free world loves to use it. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or even more niche channels like Pinterest and Tumblr, there's a diverse array of platforms to suit everyone. It is estimated that by 2019, the amount of people using social media will be almost 3 billion (nearly half the world).

With such a huge reach, social media can open your business up to opportunities and exposure that it may not be able to get otherwise. But how can you talk to your customers through social channels in a way that they'll find genuinely interesting? How can you attract interest without appearing to be too salesy? Thankfully, there are many ways to create interest and delight your audience at the same time.

Content content and more content

You may have heard the phrase ‘content is king’. It is frequently used in marketing circles and can be somewhat overused. But when it comes to social media, one of the most effective ways to engage with people is by sharing your own original content. What can this be you might be thinking? Company blog posts, articles, videos, eBooks, infographics and even short press releases. Content is anything that you create which doesn’t involve direct selling. It’s about attracting interest in your brand, and social media channels are the perfect place to do this. Think about it: if your content doesn’t have a place to be broadcasted then it will have minimal effect, so the more places you post about it, the better.

Creating conversations

As discussed in the previous paragraph, company content can be great to share on social media. But to really perfect the art of engaging with people, what you need to do is talk to them. Pose questions that are relevant. Is there a piece of government law coming into force that will directly affect your audience? If so, ask them what they think about it. You could end up creating some really interesting conversations. Equally, you could reply directly to individuals who ask questions. This is particularly relevant for Twitter - which allows you to respond to individual accounts. If someone compliments your service then you can respond to that particular account acknowledging it.

You could also speak to your audience when...

Dealing with negative feedback

Alternatively, you may have to contend with negative questions. Someone in your team may not have dealt with an issue properly, or at all. The angry customer may go to social media to voice their displeasure. A quick response, and a promise to deal with the issue swiftly, will show how much you care about keeping your customers satisfied.

Other sources

It’s easy to think that because this is your company account, that all you should be sharing is your own content. After all, this is about your business and how you want it to be seen by others. This is not the correct approach. The point of having a social media channel is to not only show your own content but share other things as well. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing articles from other places across your social media channels. It shows that it’s not all about you and that you are happy to share informative material from other places. Think of yourself as an educator and the articles you share as the material where people can learn.

Engage with influencers

Sharing external content also presents the opportunity to engage with influencers in your industry. Perhaps a journalist in your industry has written an excellent piece on a subject very relevant to your audience. You might be tempted to not just share it but also tag the author to give them credit. Maybe they like the fact that you have done that and decide to retweet you on Twitter. This in turn will give you exposure to an even bigger audience.

Pictures

And last but certainly not least is images. Uploading photos can be incredibly effective. If you have something new to show off, like a new product, then share an image of it across all your accounts. When you give your audience the chance to see something, it can be incredibly powerful and effective. Look at the way restaurants zoom in on their food with a beautiful backdrop to make this more than just a photo. Think of pictures as creating an experience for your customers. If you do this, your photos will be truly effective.

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