Engagement is about creating a community, showing people what your company is about and giving your followers something to feast on.
Being engaging bolsters your online presence. Posts that are engaged with – whether through a like, comment, retweet etc – have a higher chance of being seen on social media. This is due to the way social media algorithms calculate what is worthy of being viewed by people. The higher the engagement, the more people your content will be seen by, and the more people it’s seen by, the more chance you have of gaining new clients.
Engagement is also a two-way thing, and this back and forth shows that you’re listening to and care about customers. If you get social media engagement right, you can dine out on it for a very, very long time.
You need to lay the table. Are you really on all the relevant social media channels for your business? Yes we all know about Facebook and Twitter but have you thought of Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube or even Snapchat?
Not all of these will be right for your business, and remember that the more social media platforms you’re on, the more engagement you’ll have to undertake. Streamline your social media presence to make the most of your time. If you’re an accountant, for example, weigh up whether it’s more worthwhile to be answering queries on Twitter, or picking a snazzy photo filter on Instagram.
You’ve been serving up platters of delicious content for your followers and readership to enjoy. They’ve started to respond with some thoughts and feelings, asking you questions, liking photos, commenting on posts, replying to Tweets and so forth. You’ll want to strike while the plate is hot.
Engaging with customers who are actively keeping your social media output alive is critical to success. You’ll want to be slathering your audience with great interaction. Ask open ended questions – for example, “What are your thoughts?” instead of “Do you have any thoughts?” the latter implying a more yes or no answer – to gain more responses.
This might sound like teaching a Grandmother to suck eggs but it’s surprising how many businesses don’t follow this simple tip.
Respond promptly. There isn’t any point gaining engagement and conversation on your social media channels if you leave it for hours before replying. A swift response will always help bolster engagement, and create a sense of community. People love it when they’re listened to.
Would you open a restaurant at 3am? No. Should you post content at this time? Definitely not. Think about whether you’re laying out content to be engaged with at the right times. Play around with a schedule and see what times get the most engagement.
It’s not just about how people are engaging with you, think about how you are engaging with them. Look at your key influencers, essentially people who already have the attention of your audience. Perhaps look to other people in your line of work who’ve been doing social media for a long time. Chat to them, comment on their posts and even share their content on your page.
You need to realise that with the sweet, can also come the sour. Not everyone is going to be engaging with your business positively.
Respond to criticism and really take on board the feedback that’s been given. Think of how a restaurateur deals with complaints, always with the customer’s best interest at heart. It’ll do wonders for your brand image and reputation to be polite and keep your cool. See how the situation can be rectified and, whatever you do, do not threaten to beat up your customers.
Claire Beveridge is a writer and content producer at Crunch Accounting.
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