By Jamie Barlow, Managing Director, Hyped Marketing.
When it first became a ‘thing’, social media was seen as a place for people to connect with their friends and family. A place for them to share photos, videos and other snippets of their lives.
But those days are long gone, and social media is now so much more than just that.
Now, social media forms an integral part of both B2B and B2C marketing. The likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn have become retail platforms, product discovery platforms and even customer service platforms. These channels offer an affordable way to help you connect with your customers, build brand awareness, boost leads and, crucially, sales.
Given how essential social media is to your overall marketing strategy, let’s take a look at five ways you can improve engagement across your channels…
- Establish yourself as a thought leader
Social media is an excellent way to establish yourself as the go-to source for information and news on topics related to your industry. By promoting your thought leadership articles across your social channels, you can demonstrate your expertise, spark conversations and get your content in front of new people.
And if you seriously know your stuff, people are much more likely to comment on, like and even share your posts!
Channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter are also a great place to join in with other people’s conversations. For example, you can share any content that is relevant to your business alongside your own comment to add value. You could also connect with social communities such as Facebook Groups to seek customer feedback or gain valuable consumer insights.
April Young, Hyped Marketing’s Business Development Manager, says: “Social media isn’t just about being social. It’s about engaging with your audience and building your credibility amongst a community that comes to trust what you say. Plus, it pays to build online relationships with journalists, suppliers and other experts in your field by tagging them in posts and engaging with them. Reaching these people could be key to increasing the reach of your content.”
- Connect with relevant influencers
Consumers are increasingly seeking reviews from people they trust before buying products or signing up to services. Now, the circle of trust has grown to people they follow on social media, too — ranging from celebrities and industry experts to bloggers.
By sharing your content with their audience, these influencers can help you achieve a number of marketing goals such as lead generation, brand awareness and credibility. However, many small or medium-sized businesses don’t have the budget to go after the named influencers.
Instead, it’s worth connecting with a network of small, relevant and niche influencers who have built up a loyal and invested audience. These types of influencers get higher engagement rates and cost much less than the big names.
- Leverage user-generated content
If influencer marketing is completely out of your budget, then user-generated content provides a fantastic (free!) alternative. In fact, some brands rely entirely on user-generated content for their social media channels.
For instance, you could run a marketing campaign that encourages and motivates your audience to create and share content, tagging your brand for a chance to win a prize or be featured on your social profile(s).
User-generated content is considered much more authentic than branded content and offers a great opportunity to engage with your audience. So, no matter how you want to leverage it, you should have a place for user-generated content in your marketing mix.
- Get creative with ephemeral content
In today’s fast-paced world, people’s attention spans are short. They want engaging, bite-sized content which they can digest easily on their mobile devices. And they want it now.
This is why ephemeral content such as Instagram stories, which is only available for a short duration, has become so popular (and addictive). As the videos are often created on the spot, they provide viewers with more authentic, real-time insights. Plus, since stories disappear quickly, they’re a great way to capitalise on your customer’s fear of missing out.
Stories help to drive and instantly grow your engagement, and there is a huge range of opportunities in the format. For example, you can add polls to your stories or ask questions that can be answered with a simple click.
- Personalise your audience targeting
People are much more likely to engage with your content if they feel it is relevant to them. You can’t exactly personalise your social media content for different audiences. But you can customise your ads for as many target segments as you like.
Social media platforms have started providing advanced targeting and customisation options, so you can guarantee you’re showing the right ads to the right people at the right times. Remember, it’s not just about how many people you reach — it’s about who you reach.
If you don’t want to fork out for advertising, geo-tagging your social posts and stories is a simple way to reach audiences in your area. Users can search for posts from nearby places or specific locations, so your content will show up in their search results if you include your location.