Drooping Customer Engagement? Social Media To The Rescue
Customer retention and repeat purchases don’t have to be a myth. All your customers, or at least 80% of them, are merely hungry for a personalized experience. If you can give them that, you can crack the code to higher engagement.
As for the channel of engagement, while a blog and a customer support team help, you still need to proactively reach out to your customers on platforms of their choice. Not yours.
On that note, social media boasts of humongous monthly usership. Take Facebook; it has recorded a whopping 2 billion monthly users. Instagram enjoys 800 million, and LinkedIn follows with 500 million monthly users. Perhaps surprisingly, Twitter is 4th in this list, with 336 million global monthly active users.
Irrespective of which niche your company operates under, or what services and products you offer, the majority of your customers can still be found across these social platforms. So focus your efforts on this social side of the internet. However, just ‘posting this’ or ‘sharing that’ may not cut it.
Every second, millions of posts are made. Yours would just be a needle in the haystack. We put up this guide to help you apply a method to the madness of the internet.Proactively reach out to your customers on platforms of their choice. Not yours.Click To Tweet
Posts That Tell a Story Are 2x More Effective Than Promotional Updates
Marketing is personal. Excelling on social media platforms and reaching out to new customers is a matter of how well you can tell a story. Studies have shown that brands that connect with their customers on an emotional level generate twice as much impact as companies trying to sell their business’s functional value.
So before you begin generating content for users to consume, pause and think about what your company has to offer. What are you doing for your audience that is different from what they may have seen before?
Package your story and vision into the content you create for your social media posts and updates.
While building an online presence, keeping things natural and organic are key. You don’t want to run the risk of coming across as too promotional. Everyone already knows you must be selling something, so there’s no need to rub it in their faces, right? Humanizing your presence keeps customers open to what you have to say, and builds a credible brand image.
Network: The More The Merrier
The madness of social media is only seconded by its reach.
Partner up with influencers to launch campaigns. Connect with the top-dogs in your field – the brands that complement your business or have a target audience the same as yours.
Find a common goal between your company and another, and collaborate to create incredible content for social media consumption.
This involved a regular sponsor for extreme sports, linking with a company specializing in portable and highly versatile cameras. And these are the types of partnerships your company should target. Since teaming up, GoPro and Red Bull have hosted several events and made big splashes online. In case you forgot about one of their first joint ventures, here’s the full story around Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s jaw-dropping atmospheric skydive.
Yes, stunts and showbiz are one way to fuel your social fire. And yes, this level of collaboration is well beyond the pockets of almost all companies. But the little things, if done properly, can count for a lot too.
One error companies tend to commit is getting caught up in their ‘brand’. Enforcing your brand’s image online (both visually and contextually) is important. But in order to sustain your customer base, you must partake in mindful discussion.
Let’s assume you are in the fitness business; you manage a few gyms and also sell your own merchandise (fitness gear, nutrition supplements, etc). Going online and flexing your fitness brand is a part of the process, but it cannot be your only move. Join groups like the ones below and figure out what your customers feel, what bothers them, and how you can help them.
Ask questions, absorb information; be engaged, and the customer will be engaged as well. The branding will figure itself out.
Try An Assortment of Visual Content to Grab Attention
Of course, content on Snapchat and Instagram exist for our eyes’ consumption. But hardly anything is posted on Facebook these days without a visual accompaniment.
Generating captivating content and sharing it online is perhaps the best thing you can do to boost customer engagement. Don’t stick to just text updates or blog feature content. Social media platforms support a myriad of visual content formats, with video on top and GIFs, memes, and infographics following close behind.
Infographics are in fact said to get 3x more likes and shares on social media than other any other type of content. And, Giphy, a platform dedicated to GIFs, actually serves more than 1 billion GIFs each day. Go figure.
But don’t just post without a strategy. Here a few tips you should keep at the back of your head.
- Who is my target audience? Is this photo/video/GIF/pop-up banner/infographic going to appeal to the people my business caters to?
- Timing– When it comes to videos, the ideal duration to aim for is between 30 to 90 seconds. Anything less than 30 is just to trigger interest. It doesn’t give you a chance to really establish a background and deliver a pitch to your audience. 30 seconds is best for social media ads, 60-90 seconds works better for any educational or engagement video. But anything more than 90 seconds will hurt your engagement chances, since viewers may not sit through it all.
- Hook– If you decide to post an infographic it must be eye-catching. If you share an article it must grab people from the start. If you create a video, don’t forget that the human attention span has dwindled over the years. We’re getting by with an abysmal average of 8 seconds!
In short, your online content should be killer all through. Don’t put the best part at the end. On social media, nobody is going to give a chapter’s worth of their time.
- Thumbnails– You have to cut through all the white noise online; ultimately you’re just another business. Thumbnails provide a solution to this problem. Once you have completed producing your video, skim through and find the one shot that is either the most appealing or the most intriguing. This still-frame shot will appear as the image under the play sign (barring that the video is on an auto-playing platform). It will pop up every time your video is shared.
A thumbnail is not what you want the viewers to see but what you want the viewers to notice. Once you feel that your business has garnered enough traction, you can replace thumbnails with a custom image of your company’s logo, and reap the benefits of branding. See this advice from Facebook, to learn how to customize your own thumbnail for your company’s Facebook videos.
Consider Paying: Spend Some To Earn Some
Think you have got a great post on Facebook but don’t have as many followers yet? Then boost it! It doesn’t cost much to boost your posts, and the returns are well worth it.
You can define your audience and the budget, and the number of days you want to keep the ad running. Note that any post can be boosted for up to 7 days.
Then there’s sponsored ads. Every social media platform has its own ad opportunities. Try that to grab even more eyeballs and direct them to your social page or website.
Live Stream Your Events or Important Happenings In Your Company or Outside
On most days, you may ignore tons of videos or skim through them real fast. But if a video is live, something clicks. You feel like you cannot miss out on that. That’s the appeal of live videos.
Facebook Live was a game-changer. Now people are going live across all social platforms. As a business, you can host live events or interviews. Or post a “day at your office” video to show the company culture.
Even the initial releases of your creative content should be broadcasted live, and later saved as videos on your social media handles.
The amount of time people spend watching live videos on Facebook is three times the amount they spend consuming regular content. Perhaps it’s a phenomenon of our psychology – the fact that what is happening right now tends to be more exciting than what has already transpired.
Online garment retailer ‘Kohl’ headed a Facebook Live campaign with fitness gurus ‘Tone it Up’. What better way is there to promote fitness to a generation bereft of motivation. The #GetActiveWithKohls live campaign was a success, with Kohl wisely hosting the event just a few days before the release of their new collection. Had they posted a simple text update, languidly reminding their customer base about their latest release, not too many people would’ve cared for it.
Don’t Leave Them Hangin’
Engaging your customers is all about being proactive and following through. After sharing your content online, your audience should never feel like they’ve hit the end of the road. Rather, the onus is on you to ensure that the journey continues. Create a funnel strategy to make it easy for your followers to jump from one post to another, or from your Facebook channel to Instagram or Twitter… or to your website product page.
So better link your Facebook page to your Instagram handle and your Twitter feed and so on and so forth.
Use Calls To Action.
Give your audience something to do. For example, if you are an environment-based NGO, challenge your customers to not use plastic for a week or ask them to begin categorically separating their waste at home. You must be involved with your customer base. It’s a two-way street. People will only give their time to you if they see that you have put in your time for them. Encourage your customers to review your efforts and do your level best to accommodate all the changes they recommend.
Accessing your customer base online is not a challenge. The real challenge is what your company will do in the limited amount of time the average user spends entertaining your ideas.
Don’t miss out on your chance of converting a viewer to a loyal follower.
Hire the right people or partner up with a suitable vendor to design your infographics and direct your videos, because, in today’s day and age, gifs, infographics, memes, animation and video content is leading the engagement.
Keep in mind that you want to tell a story. You want to display your product or your service through real-life examples and campaigns that humanize your business, adds excitement and value, and resonates with your target audience.
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