Social

Brand to Customer Engagement – How to make Social Media Work

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Over the past few years, social media has completely changed the way we work and communicate. From sharing photographs via Instagram to tweeting news stories, this fast-paced method of communication has become part of our everyday lives. As a result of this, businesses have begun to utilise these platforms. Last year LinkedIn reported that 81% of small to medium sized businesses used social media for growth or promotion. This method of engagement is expanding quickly, here we consider the best ways to ensure social media can help you engage with customers on a daily basis.

Regulate posts

It is important to ensure that your company uses social media on a regular basis. It is easy to forget smaller things such as tweets or Facebook posts, but it is these that help keep your customers and intended audiences engaged with your company. It can also be useful to repeat certain posts, such as those advertising events and YouTube videos. As social media accounts are constantly being updated with new information, it is likely that those reading your content will have missed your original post, meaning they will not have seen all the information you are posting. Social media management resources, such as hootsuite, can be a great help, as they allow you to regularly schedule and organise tweets and posts without having to post on a daily basis.

Keep posts short and informative

Research has shown that the optimum length of a Facebook post is 40 characters, as this ensures maximum engagement. Any more than this and prospective clients may lose interest, making your social media content obsolete. In terms of tweets, the optimum character length has been established at 100 characters. Luckily, Twitter’s 140 character limit prevents you from saying too much, but using just 100 characters has been shown to be the most effective way of engaging with clients and other businesses.

Video, keeping it short, engaging and to the point

In the same vein as the amount of attention customers pay to tweets or Facebook posts, there is also a limit to the amount of information they are able to absorb via YouTube videos. Whilst tweets and posts are easy to read on the go via smartphones and tablets, videos take longer to load. As a result of this it is best to keep them as short as possible, whilst ensuring that you are delivering the correct information. This allows customers and clients to view your content in a verbal and visual manner, without having to take too much time out of their day. With practices such as video production, it is sometimes best to consult professionals. Ryan Stone from Lambda Films comments: “One of the first things people look at once they click play is the duration of the video – that is, if it’s evident on the player. A lengthy, epic runtime of 6 minutes onwards can be a huge cause for people clicking away early.”

Explore other social media platforms

Twitter and Facebook are often considered to be the most effective and traditional ways to interact with clients via social media. Businesses can directly contact customers, and quickly post information about new opportunities and services. But what about other social media platforms, such as Instagram or Snapchat? Vloggers are increasingly taking to Snapchat to communicate with viewers, as it’s a fast way to deliver both verbal and visual content. With over 100 million daily active users Consider starting up a Snapchat account for your business, and see how it increases the reach of your content and information.

Links between platforms

One of the easiest ways to increase the number of followers and subscribers your business accounts have is to include links between platforms. If you’ve uploaded a YouTube video discussing one of the services you provide, post it onto your Facebook and Twitter page. This will allow followers to see that you are producing content elsewhere, and encourage them to interact with your other platforms.

With the plethora of options available to you, it can be tempting try to engage with as many social media platforms as possible. But these platforms will not always be relevant to your business, and you may waste time that could be better used elsewhere. Think about your brand and audience when choosing which platform to use. Are you a funeral business? Perhaps a Snapchat account would not be appropriate. Do you provide information about life insurance policies? Maybe an Instagram account wouldn’t be relevant. It is important to consider your audience when engaging with social media, but it is also important to consider your brand. Think carefully about what content you want to deliver and how you wish to deliver it.

Follow relevant accounts for quality engagement

Everyone loves a good cat meme, but retweeting these can send a negative message to prospective clients, insinuating that you are not 100% focused on your work. Save the ASOS tweets for when you’re using your private accounts, and only follow those who share your business aims or services. This shows clients that you are completely focused on the job at hand, and not spending your time procrastinating on Twitter. This will lead to not just more engagement with customers but quality engagement!

Accurately represent your brand

In a similar vein to following relevant accounts, it is important to ensure that the language you use within posts, tweets and videos is appropriate for your brand. If you provide legal advice, for instance, using colloquialisms or emojis in your tweets is not going to send the appropriate message. This is also true of YouTube videos, particularly in regards to the attitude of the person delivering information. If you are a landscape gardening service, perhaps consider filming your content outside, to create a visual connection between your service and the verbal content your presenter is delivering. It is important to demonstrate the tone and style of your work from the offset, demonstrating professionalism to the client from the very beginning.

Create a dialogue

This one can be difficult, as you may not always have time to constantly keep an eye out for what customers are asking you, but it is still incredibly important. By replying to comments and questions in a timely manner, you are showing that their feedback is important to you. Be it positive or negative, it is always important to take on board what people are saying about your work. By ignoring this feedback, you are insinuating that the customer’s opinion is not important to you, which could dramatically decrease the number of new clients that your social media content draws in.

Imagery

Finally, the saying goes that a picture tells a thousand words which, whilst incredibly cliché, this is very true of social media. Many prospective clients will be interacting with social media via smartphones and tablets, meaning they are likely to be reading on the go, or quickly glancing at their phone screen during their lunch break. By including imagery within your posts, you can create a visual stimulus, encouraging people to read your content. Furthermore you are also enabling prospective clients to understand what your business can do for them, without them having to stop and take the time to read your content. Visual content gets 94% more total views across social media, so if you want engagement you can’t go wrong with video and pictures

Social media can sometimes seem like an unprofessional way of engaging with new customers, but it is being used more and more by businesses of all sizes to draw in new clients. Providing you consider the ways these services can deliver information to your audience, it can be a quick and effective way of drawing in new clients.

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Rebecca D'Souza is a freelance writer covering all aspects of business and technology.

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