To catch someone's attention and occupy their interest is not easy; It involves an understanding of what they're interested in and creating content that's engaging enough to hold their attention. Additionally, you'd also want them to interact with it.
Engagement on social is particularly hard because of the competition, the sheer concentration of content on social is enough to drown yours; but the question is, will you beat it and surface?
Three fundamentals of creating active social engagement –
- Ditch the blanket approach – Define your high-value target audience and tailor content to best-enthrall them.
- Pick the right platform – Leverage unique features of each platform to optimize your KPIs
- Build relationships and communities – Develop an active, enthusiastic community for long-term engagement
- Design all content for SEO – Irrespective of where you put out content, ensure that it is helping your SEO (The cardinal rule is to really try to help people and do it with smartly worded content)
If you have the basics nailed, here are 5 unconventional approaches to initiating social media engagement:
1. Develop An Amplified And Humanized Voice With Employee Advocacy
This is one of the questions that were on it last Thursday.
After hoards of tweets with promotional links, teems of Facebook ad posts and barrages of blogs with super-excited titles, the world is sore with social marketing bruises.
There's a gap in the social sphere for genuine engagement and it's waiting to be filled. The more accurately you portray your business and the better you develop it to truly serve people in your area of expertise, the more successful you are bound to get on social media. This is also an important part of what Google tells you about ranking high on their search results.
Social profiles do show up on Google searches, and you'd be smart to optimize them for both SEO and your audience engagement. Also, social platforms have search engines too.
An interesting way of amplifying your brand content and mentions on social is by getting social brand advocates, and who better than your employees? (See also: How to Choose an Employee Advocacy Platform for Your Organization?)
Your employees put together have multiple times the number of social connections that your brand accounts have, giving you extensive reach and views. Your brand messages coming from them will also gain a humanized voice and additional credibility.
2. Capture Your Audience With Perceptive Content Curation
Curate content to assist your audience in finding what they're seeking. Do it so they turn to your social page to discover content instead of looking elsewhere on the internet.
But more importantly, look at content curation like bait. Wield it as a tool to attract your high-value target audience.
Step 1: Employ the right tools to monitor your social audience – Like Audiense. This social analytics tool provides you with a picture of who your audience is, what they discuss, how they react and what drives them. Construct an audience description that you can bank upon for content strategy.
Step 2: Select a content curation tool to simplify your search. Feedly is a great news aggregator for industry based updates. Flipboard is another interesting tool that helps with content curation. The idea is to find one that best suits you
Step 3: List out interesting subject matters in the industry niche' that your brand exists in and that your audience is interested in. Curate varying, informational and entertaining content that is likely to directly aid your audience in matters that concern them.
Aim at being relevant and exhaustive, if your social posts directly answer issues that your audience is facing, there's nothing like it.
Social media managers would be compelled to click on that title. In fact, I always want to click on and share Sam Hurley's posts. That's the kind of reaction you should aim at receiving with the content you create and curate.
3. Participate In Or Host Twitter Chats For Increased Reach
Like #TwitterSmarter, there are a host of chats out there focused on both specific and broad topics. The biggest advantage of Twitter Chats is the reach. It is arguably the largest chat platform there is; where your audience isn't limited by a group and each re-tweet you get during that period of high activity can amplify your reach further.
Most Twitter chats associate themselves with a unique hashtag. The hashtag works for discover-ability and as brand identity for that Twitter chat.
So if you're looking to connect with a large but specific audience quickly, a Twitter chat is the way to go. Chat platform Nurph allows you to discover and jump in to conversations on Twitter that you might be interested in.
It also lets you redirect chats to a contained environment to read more like a free-flowing chat with no interruptions.
Additionally, Nurph generates after-chat analytics for hosts so you can identify the most active participant or the most influential participant so your can better manage chats in the future. @brandchat organizes its chats on Nurph, and has done that quite successfully with the platform.
Twitter chats are well-known ways of making connects and gaining followers quickly.
The best part is that the followers you earn via Twitter chats are more likely to be relevant to the topic discussed and therefore relevant to your niche'. So you've got to pick your chats carefully. If you're hosting one, you've got to name, describe and market it such that you attract the most relevant audience.
4. Target Mobile Users With Compelling Email Marketing
Mobiles are now inseparable from people's lives. Most of us begin the day by checking on mobile notifications and there's no larger or more focused audience than people on their mobile phones. Mobile pop-up notifications are one of the most effective ways of catching people's attention.
When your email lands in your audience's inbox and pops-up on mobile screens, in that second, you are presented with the unique opportunity of initiating a private conversation with each of your viewers.
Seize that second and you could convert marketing attempts to potential leads.
Begin by personalizing emails. People love it when they're acknowledge and directly spoken to. You could insert names from your contact lists into email templates and address each of your readers by name. But, in addition to that, your writing style will have to be personalized.
Although you're pulling contacts off of a subscribers list, you shouldn't write with that in mind. Imagine you're writing to one person and do it genuinely, enthusiastically and in a fun manner. You don't have to make it fancy, really. Just personalized with a clear value proposition for your reader.
Second, you could add visuals and interactive elements to create a bright and lively read rather than a flat, text-dominated one.
It doesn't matter if you can't spring for visuals. If that's the case you could employ simple visual tools like Canva – for your posters and offers or Piktochart – for inventive ways to convince your audience with numerical support (graphs and infographics) to help you cover your visual requirements.
Finally, for targeted email you could capture emails via your blog or product site. You could also give away free E-books in exchange for email ids. This way you have permission to send your audience content, and they're exactly your target demographic.
5. Leverage Interactive Contests And Discussions To Bond With Your Audience
Marketing is actually a simple conversation between you and your current and potential customers. Owing to the evolving platforms used for marketing, and the stress being heard and responded to on all of them, companies tend to push more than they converse with their audience.
While push is required to an extent, and it is debatable to what extent, engagement and conversations are a definite necessity.
If you looked at your brand's social pages through your audience's eyes, what would you want to see? Would simple brand information keep you engaged?
Contests are an excellent means of opening a dialogue with an audience. Especially if the idea is exciting enough and is represented such. The contest mechanism doesn't even need to be complex. You could make it rally simple for your audience to participate by asking them for something really easy to do – example follow you on Twitter or RT a tweet.
You could also simply ask people questions. Although, you have to ensure the questions are something they really care about and want to talk about.
If you've got something exciting to giveaway, you could also just ask them if they want it!
Tell them something funny, related to your industry or niche'.
The idea is to initiate a conversation, like you would if you were conversing with a friend. The challenge is in tying that up to your brand in a way that it boosts your sales. But think along those lines, and you'll have great ideas soon enough.
En route implementing all of these ideas, you should keep SEO in mind. While it is debatable how much social media has an impact on SEO, your search-ability on social media platforms certainly depend on how you title, describe and create content for the posts that you put up on social media. So remember to always optimize your words and images to best relate to your business. This is something that I like to refer to as Content Search-ability Optimization, and it plays a vital role in helping you attract and engage with the most pertinent audience for your business on social.
Your audience is key. They're who you're attempting to engage. Always bear that thought in mind, and you're all set to create brilliant, effective content.
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* Adapted lead image: Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com