So you’ve already built a pretty impressive social media engagement campaign for your business; but how do you know you’re doing it successfully? Keep in mind that the number of followers you have doesn’t always determine the effectiveness of the campaign- it’s about how many people in your circles who actively respond. There’s a wide range of responses you could get from social media aside from the usual customer questions and complaints. Aside from the comments, blogs, dialogue and re-tweets, look into this:
- Humanize the brand
- Manage perceived reputation
- Generate leads
- Create a few brand advocates
- Resolve problems with customers
- Handle crises effectively
It doesn’t matter where the conversation is at: whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or your blog, there are a number of ways you can generate good conversations. These conversations will solidify your relationships and customers will experience a more direct connection with your small business.
Engagement for creating awareness
One common purpose of social media is to create a public profile. Consider Canadian Olympian Sarah Wells; she started a campaign on Twitter where she hoped to engage Olympic fans and raise awareness of her quest for the gold, and possibly gain a significant number of followers. Just days into the campaign, Sarah had hit the 400 follower mark owing to the strength and enthusiasm of her friends and family. It’s one example of an effective grassroots social media campaign.
The benefits of creating brand awareness
One of the many benefits include measurability. Consider these key awareness metrics:
- Share of conversation – this is about how often you get mentioned in context of the conversations that are relevant to you.
- Share of voice – how often are you covered or mentioned in comparison to your competition?
- Mentions per time period – this describes how many times audiences discuss your small business in a given time period. It gives you a sense of overall chatter and awareness.
- Potential reach – followers, fans or eyeballs; this is seen as potential reach because those people won’t pay attention to you simultaneously.
- Inbound links – an indicator of audiences that are aware of you and are talking about you. To get a better sense of which types of media drive consistent attention to your small business, look at all of your active social media accounts.
Offer people choices
Perhaps Twitter does not reflect your communication style and you prefer Facebook instead. Learn how your audiences like to communicate and give them different choices by creating more than one social media platform for dialogue. Ensure that you post the same information- perhaps in different contexts- across all platforms in order to get a response. Tools, such as Hootsuite, will save you a lot of time when you want to manage and schedule posts across all platforms.
Whatever channel you like most, remember to give the audiences a 360° look at your small business. Use a communication style that’s consistent with your business to avoid confusion. You will be able to build those strong meaningful relationships with your audience if you learn how to initiate smart dialogue across all platforms.
Generally speaking, people enjoy being part of a business that is actively building an engaging community and multiple studies have revealed that customers prefer to purchase from businesses that have active social media pages. That emotional connection with prospects is what builds a positive business reputation.
Recognize community strength as a powerful force for a small business and employ all the features of social media in creating a massive community of happy and loyal customers.
Lessons in brand awareness
Branding tactics keep changing and marketers have had to learn an entirely new playbook- a playbook that keeps evolving with new social platforms and technologies to make it all work. Learn what you can from larger brands that have successfully implemented their social media campaigns and established themselves as trendsetters. Both YouTube and M&S started small and they now dominate social media today. YouTube was started by two friends in a small room above a pizza place and M&S begun as a market stall. Small can get pretty big.
Lesson 1: Think like a publisher
Innocent founder Richard Reed adopted the publisher model of marketing by publishing multiple recipe books as a way to expand Innocent’s growth. It has had a tremendous impact on the company’s overall reach and it also changed the general perception about the company- people don’t see Innocent as a brand trying to sell products for cash; Innocent is seen as a healthy company that encourages people to live healthier lives.
They also have a blog on which they post content that helps people make decisions that impact their lives positively, and this enables the company to engage with large audiences. In addition, 100% of Innocent’s profits go to charity, so the blog is also used to show how they are making a difference.
Lesson 2: Find your tone of voice
When you find a tone that works for your audience, stick to it and maintain it when creating content for all your platforms. You are marketing to people; not robots. Start by creating buyer personas and learn what their goals are and what types of challenges they face. It will help you get a better understanding of who your audience is, which can help you adjust your tone of voice to one that they can relate to.
Lesson 3: Make your content shareable
When you create valuable and engaging content it makes you a great resource to your audience. Give your prospects what they need and it will help create an organic audience who engages with your company and follows you across multiple platforms.
Always consider how shareable your content is. Just ask yourself whether or not you would find it engaging enough if you were the audience, and whether you would consider sharing it with your own circles. If the answer is no, then you need to go back to the drawing board and figure out where you went wrong.
Lesson 4: Create headlines that attract people
When you’re trying to come up with something that will get you maximum exposure, you have to nail the headline. Most successful small businesses come up with dozens of possible headlines for each piece of content then settle on the one they believe would get the best response. If you can come up with something that grabs people’s attention, it will expand your small business’s reach and make your content more engaging.
Lesson 5: Never be boring
You’ll be surprised how many small businesses keep posting the same dull material on social media channels. In order to ensure that your customers don’t opt out of your social networks, you will have to come up with content that’s not just interesting and shareable but also remarkable. The only way this can happen is by making sure you don’t create the same content as your competitors. Make your small business stand out in a way that makes it unique and original.
Want to show off the personality of your small business? Do something quirky and experiment with info-graphics, videos and other visual content and see what you come up with. Keep in mind that 90% of all information transmitted to the brain is, in fact, visual, and the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text.
Lesson 6: If possible, hire journalists
Whether they’re working in-house or for a large traditional media outlet, journalists have the same job; figuring out how to come up with the next interesting story that will make people want to read about it. The best journalists asks questions and challenge common assumptions, and not just in terms of what business your small business is into, but also other businesses in the same industry. That’s how great content comes about and people can’t help but share it.
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