When it comes to social media, engagement is something of a mystery. Why do experts stress its importance? How does someone begin to get their online community engaged? What does audience engagement even mean? It can be daunting and somewhat overwhelming but let us help you to get started!
Social media engagement is considered a common metric for evaluating social media performance by measuring likes and comments for a business’ (or brand’s) social media efforts. Driving this metric upward is ideal although finding ways to do this can prove challenging. A key element of social media engagement is encouraging users to be involved by getting involved with them; slowly but surely a community will emerge, one that will inevitably include some of your biggest fans and brand advocates.
This online community is everything: your rock, your foundation, even your little online family. They are the ones who will spread your content far and wide, sing your praises, and applaud your work. Their voice is important and fundamental to successful community engagement. Talk to your audience and get involved in the community, respond to comments and feel free to even inject some humor into your posts. Work hard to interact with them because it will encourage them to interact with you. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it!
The brilliant folks at Sprout Social had a lot of insight on this and pointed to popular sneaker company Vans as an example. They created the #MyVans hashtag on Instagram which garnered more than 65,000 Instagram posts. Sharing images posted by customers wearing Vans products is a superb way of getting the community involved in your story and works well to promote your brand. This social media campaign is among those considered successful because of how effective it was at getting the fans involved and interacting with the brand. Sprout Social indicates that by sharing these posts, Vans showcases user-generated content while simultaneously increasing the brand’s reach. Increasing the brand’s reach also helps to encourage others to interact with the brand. Ultimately, the goal is that brand interaction will increase brand confidence and therefore encourage people to buy Van’s products.
This simple campaign translates a lot of ways – if your blog or website is travel focused, encourage users to share their own images of excursions they’ve taken. You can create contests or giveaways around your brand (most daring adventure vacation, for example) or as Marketing Land suggests try live streaming special events, how-to videos and more! Offering your audience a chance to gain knowledge and sharing information with them is also an excellent way to encourage interaction. Forbes indicates that live streaming is a great way to show your audience the great people behind the brand and it’s an excellent way for your audience to get to know you.
BigCommerce recommends incorporating captivating images into posts as well as creating partnerships with other brands. Co-marketing is defined as a partnership between two or more companies where both companies jointly market each other’s products. Some successful partnership ventures according to HubSpot include Uber and Spotify. This partnership encouraged fans of both companies to enjoy a better overall experience by integrating both services seamlessly. The application works by prompting you to connect with Spotify while waiting for your Uber ride to create the soundtrack for your trip. In addition to the fun experience integrating both brands offers, this strategy also encourages users to pick these brands over their competitors. Partnerships have been an age-old tradition in marketing and can be a great opportunity for both brands, providing your audience with some content variety in the process. It’s also crucial to monitor the metrics of what posts are successful versus those that are not, knowledge is key to evolving your online presence and getting better at engaging the community.
In addition to metrics, the other element that is commonly overlooked is the importance of knowing your audience. Understanding the community you’re addressing helps you to properly curate your posts accordingly, ensuring success and higher reach on your chosen platform. Remember to keep it real and be authentic, let the audience know there are real people behind the brand. The marketing experts at Mashable say not to be afraid to adapt your message to fit your audience, so pay attention to their interests and cater your message accordingly. Knowing your audience is of paramount importance when considering strategies on how to increase engagement. The community wants to know you’re listening and care about their input; be sure to consider what your brand means to them. HubSpot put together an awesome list of companies that get their audience and one excellent example is tech industry leader Apple. Apple has recently refocused their marketing campaigns to embrace the business professional and as such, knows that those users want efficiency, ease of use and suitability for work related activities. Naturally, new marketing campaigns for products like the iPad have been geared to such users by specifically highlighting those attributes.
The possibilities are truly endless in marketing your brand and engaging your audience. Pay attention to the community, be true to yourself and most of all have fun!