How to Improve Your Small Business Social Media Engagement
Social media has become a powerful tool for business owners across the globe to connect with customers, build brand awareness, generate leads, and increase sales. Connecting with your customers is essential for the success of your small business. How we connect on and offline helps build relationships with customers, which, in turn, helps your business grow. This also extends to your company's social media presence. Considering your social media content's engagement can help you better understand your customers and how you can better address their needs.
What is Social Media Engagement?
Engagement is action and looks beyond metrics like follower count. Audience engagement is any interaction between people on social platforms that involves interacting with and sharing content, information, ideas, opinions, emotions, or experiences. These social media metrics include liking a post, commenting on a photo, retweeting a message, or sharing a link to another website.
Why is Online Engagement Important for Your Small Business?
Measuring your engagement helps you better understand how to connect with current and future customers and helps build relationships with customers, increase brand awareness, and create loyal followers. By understanding the type of content and formats they respond to, understanding your engagement can help guide your social media strategy and social post creation. This understanding can provide powerful insight into what customers think about you and your products or services, allowing you to make changes where needed and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly.
Look at your current engagement rates on various platforms using social media analytics. This data will help you determine where you'll start and how far you want to go. What's considered an excellent social media engagement rate? Probably less than you'd think.
Most social media marketing experts agree that anything between 1% and 5% can be considered a good engagement rate. (blog.hootsuite.com)
How to Create a Social Media Engagement Strategy
Developing an audience engagement strategy relies on several first steps to any other social media strategy. Building on a solid foundation of research and planning can help you increase engagement and connect with customers. The five steps below will help you build a solid engagement strategy and develop the content your audience craves.
Define Your Target Audience
Knowing your target audience is the most crucial step in crafting a strategy. Isn't this always step one? Yes, and for a reason - if you don't know who you are trying to reach, it's like throwing content at the wall and hoping something sticks. The more specific, the better, but it doesn't have to be too complex.
List out the details, interests, social media platforms, optimal times to post, and anything else that will help you craft content with a specific audience member in mind.
Get to Know the Platforms
When researching your audience, it's important to note which social media channels they use. Dive into the demographic information on social media platform users and tailor your content to post on those sites.
Once you know where to invest time and content, spend some time on your social media accounts to understand the various features and how they function. Then, head to Google and look into best practices and trends on that platform.
Set Your Social Media Goals, Including Your Engagement Strategy
Now that you better understand your audience and the social channels they use, it's time to set your goals. Using your current engagement rates as benchmarks, get clear on where you want to improve and what you plan to do to get there, making sure they align with your current overall social media goal and business goals.
Plan Engaging Posts
You will already have a great start on better social content that you've learned about your audience and what they want from you. Planning content objectives will help guide your strategy and take some of the stress off of the creation process. Think about the topics your customers ask you about, search for on your website, or talk about online. When creating content for social media, think about what you want your audience to get out of it. What are they going to learn? What do you want them to feel? This is the information they are looking for and a great place to start for your content plan.
Additionally, consider what types of content resonate with your social media audience. Does visual content perform well? Do they prefer video? Tailoring your content to their preferences is crucial to your plan.
Plan How You Will Engage
Engagement goes both ways, right? The social media golden rule is to be social on social. You may be pressed for time, but try to carve out a few ten-minute sessions while on the train or waiting in a doctor's office to engage with your feed.
Be Responsive and Consistent
The online world has swiftly changed how many businesses interact with their customers. You should be ready to respond to questions or comments, especially in the case of any customer service issue.
According to research commissioned by Twitter in 2016, 71% of their users expect brands to respond within an hour. (convinceandconvert.com) Can't manage your social accounts 24 hours a day? Set up automated messaging to answer frequently asked questions and more.
Posting consistently is rule number one for building a social media marketing strategy. Not able to devote a block of time every day or so for it? Use social media management tools to schedule posts in advance.
How to Create Engaging Social Media Content
Creating engaging content for a social media marketing strategy is everyone's goal, right? Nevertheless, anyone can get sidetracked and create ho-hum content that doesn't connect. You now know what you want to communicate, your audience, and how you will deliver your message. It's time to create your content.
What Makes Content Engaging?
It's authentic How would you address the topic if your audience member were sitting with you over a cup of coffee?
It delivers value If you're asking for a minute or two of someone's time, ensure you deliver relevant content that somehow brings value. Think about the content you engage with as a customer - what leads you to do that?
It tells a story This phrase has been everywhere, but it rings true. Even a single social media post can tell a story - a beginning, middle, and end or a main character, conflict, and resolution. Still trying to figure out where to start? "Start with why." - Simon Sinek
Engagement should be considered in every social media marketing strategy.
Identify your audience as a first step - and deliver content tailored to their needs and where they are on the customer journey.
Understand the social platforms you'll be using and how they work, research best practices and trends
Set goals specific to what you want to accomplish in engagement
Ensure your content is authentic, valuable, and tells a story.