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Jan 28, 2016

5 Ways to Amp Up Your Brand’s Social Engagement (With Tools and Examples)

 With social media taking over every part of our daily lives, it’s easy to see why most brands and businesses are jumping on this bandwagon and using it as a major promotion tool. However, not all of them find success through this route.

Why?

Because, cold, hard selling doesn’t work on social media, engaging with potential customers does.

You can always amplify reach. But nothing can replace genuine passion for a brand. By focusing on the most influential and passionate fans, you will always have that brand love driving organic word-of-mouth and, with that, business success. – Mark Curtis

Instead of focusing on selling-selling-and-more-selling, your brand needs to focus on growing a loyal fan base.

It needs to talk to them more, listen to them more, and just be visible around them more to surge your business’s profits.  

Here’s how you can safely transition into ‘building authentic relationships with customers’ from ‘selling as much as you can.’

Boost your social media productivity by scheduling posts

Do you (or your employees) hate waking up at 3 AM to send a few tweets and upload a few posts because some of your customers from the other side of the globe are up and working?   Definitely.

As a marketing manager, your job is to post consistently on social media, but with several other tasks vying for your attention, you keep putting it off.

Enter social media schedulers – tools that save a huge chunk of your time and post for you across all your social media platforms.

Let’s discuss some of the best ones, shall we?

Buffer

Buffer is a favorite of marketing managers who like to keep it simple and easy.

Its features include,

  • A power scheduler (send out the same post at multiple times a day),
  • Ability to ‘rebuffer’ your most popular content,
  • Group different platforms together,
  • Integrate your account with super-productive apps like Tweriod to automatically set a tweeting schedule that reaches maximum people,
  • Great customer service that no query of yours goes unheard.

Related source:
The ultimate guide to Buffer - Razor Social
 

HootSuite

Hootsuite is a tool of many purposes. It’s a favorite of managers who deal with huge teams, as it allows you to act as a team and handle workflow effectively. 

  • Hootsuite displays all your social media accounts on multiple streams, 
  • Helps you carry out and monitor various campaigns, 
  • Through Hootsuite’s app, you can add additional platforms (like Instagram, Flickr, etc.), CRM integration apps, etc. 
  • It even has a mobile app to keep you up to date at all times. 
  • Its built-in analytics allow you to analyze the current state of your social media strategy and improve it.

Related source:
How to use Hootsuite for your business - Avion Communications
 

Sprout Social

With a mobile app available for busy managers, its incredibly simple and user-friendly interface allows you to manage, post and monitor your posts in a single newsfeed - no multiple streams and a million tabs to get lost into, unlike HootSuite.

You can use its Feedly integration option if you’re having trouble coming up with posts to schedule. And, let’s not forget the analytic reports you wake up to that help you determine your most popular posts and your best posting times.

Related source:
8 reasons your business needs Sprout Social - 8 Way Blog
 

But, how do you figure out the best times to post? Will Googling help?

Nope. Googling ‘best times to post’ will not help you pinpoint the exact times your target audience is engaging with your brand. 

Why? Because all brands and businesses are different. Different customers, different demands, different campaigns. 

So, what do you do?

You use these tools to determine the best times to post. The analytic reports they send you are not emails you can quickly delete and forget. You need to analyze these reports and develop your social media strategy accordingly.

Analyze the times when your posts are performing the best, and conduct A\B tests to optimize your social media strategy. Once you’ve figured this out, you can set these times in the scheduler and increase your brand’s visibility and engagement substantially.  

Show your brand’s human side by getting personal on social media

Customers like engaging with brands that show their human side. 

Find creative ways to tie your brand’s core message to your brand’s human side. Use visuals, pithy text, behind-the-scenes graphics, etc. to draw in and fascinate your consumers. 

Some of the ways you can establish sociable relations with your customers are by:

Uploading pictures and videos of the employees on social media

Customers like to know who they’re dealing with, and visuals allow them to take a glimpse in your brand’s work life. 

1. Display your humorous side. 

Show the entertaining side of your employees by posting their pictures when they’re having fun in the workplace and upload it on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and YouTube. 

Did a funny incident occur at work? Or have a great joke that your customers will love? Tell your customers all about it in 140 characters. Can you talk about your competitor in a friendly, funny way? Do it!

Create albums that customers can easily view. Promote these pictures all across the globe. Use a specific hashtag to keep track of your audience’s interactions with this media. 

2. Introduce thyself.

Upload pictures and short videos of employees introducing themselves.

Keep on top of all the latest happenings.

Empathize, cry and rejoice with your customers.  

1. Create shareable graphics and posts according to the current events (holidays, sports events, celebrations) to increase shares and reach out to a wider audience.

2. Introduce a hashtag according to the event so that you can determine how your audience’s response to them. 

Engage in conversations with your customers.

If your customers tweet something about you, participate in that conversation. This is the best way to increase engagement.

Create Facebook groups for your audience

Facebook groups are an effective way to engage your audience, answer their queries, provide the best customer service ever and keep a track of how your audience views your brand. 

 

Ask employees to increase your social engagement

10 employees mean 10x the social promotion. 50 employees mean 50x the engagement with consumers. 

But, how do you get your employees to happily promote the brand? 

Here’s how:

Make it easy for them

Create bite-sized content that they can easily share on social media platforms such as blog posts, snappy status updates of the happenings in your office, podcasts and webinars, infographics, case studies, etc. 

Use a unanimous hashtag that all your employees use so that you can track their progress and monitor their efforts. 

Shower gifts

Gift cards, paid-vacations (if your company’s doing REALLY GOOD), bonuses, etc. all make great incentives. Encourage your employees to promote the brand online by offering enticing gifts to the one who fetches the best results. 

A little competition amongst employees goes a long way in skyrocketing productivity levels.

Celebrate an employee day once a week or once a month.

Have an employee day, where one employee can take over Twitter and engage with customers throughout the day.  Audience can ask questions related to the work atmosphere, queries related to the employee’s department and general workplace trivia. 

 

Don’t ignore customer complaints  

According to a study by Maritz Research, 71% of people who used twitter to get their complaints across were ignored.

Use social CRM tools like Nimble, that help you keep on top of all customer activities taking place socially.

Here’s how you can smartly handle customer complaints without it turning into an ugly brawl.

Respond. Don’t Ignore. 

66% of consumers expect a response on social media within an hour.  56% of consumers want a response within 30 minutes - Ovum

Respond as soon as you can. And be courteous and polite.

According to the same research, 81% Twitter complainers said they’d be delighted to receive a reply from the brand acknowledging the complaint.

Therefore, by replying to these complaints, you’re not amplifying the brawl, you’re quieting it down. 

Turn them into lovers.

If you see things turn for the ugly or you can’t solve that particular problem, you can do the next best thing – offer an incentive to make them happy and show your customers that you value them. It can be anything from a gift card to a refund. 

71% of customers who experience positive social customer care are likely to recommend the brand to others, compared with just 19% of customers whose queries go unanswered - NM Incite

If your customers are happy, your business is on its way to success.  

 

Track your brand to keep on top of your brand engagements

Are your customers talking about your brand?

Are influencers in awe of your brand?

Who, where, why and when is mentioning your brand?

You can closely monitor your brand through the following tools. 

Mention 

Mention, a Google Alert’s replacement, provides you with two options – you can do an online search there and then or elect to receive all the mentions in an email.

You can also opt to receive the stats through a PDF or CSV file, so you can discuss them with your team.

Related source:
How to use monitoring to boost your brand's reputation - Mention
 

Hootsuite 

This is an excellent tool for keeping on top of mentions, hashtags, specific keywords, conversations taking place about your brand, and your customer and influencer lists. You can add content streams, profiles and keywords to track engagement around those keywords.

Super simple to use and providing dual features, monitoring, and scheduling, Hootsuite is a clear favorite of marketing managers who want a comprehensive report of their brand mentions.

Related source:
3 ways to use social media to 'listen' to the competition - Hootsuite
 

Talkwalker Alerts 

Enter your search query and receive brand performance report in your inbox. It gives you a detailed report on brand mentions, social mentions, areas in the world they’re originating from, influencers talking about it, demographic data, etc.

While easy to use and comprehensive, it doesn’t provide you with as thorough a report as Mention. So keep that in mind while deciding on the perfect tool for your business.

Related source:
How I use Talkwalker Alerts for journalist/PR outreach - Built Visible
 

The online world is a tight-knit community. Going into sell mode will not help your brand, building authentic relationships with your potential customers will. 

What problems do you face in increasing your brand’s social engagement?

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