Engaging Your Audience on Social Media

Remember that dinner party you went to where there was that one guest no one was talking to.  You decided to walk over and introduce yourself.  Once you get to talking he tells you about how much his house costs, how fast his car goes and it’s clear his haircut was expensive. Bored by his conversation, you excuse yourself to go get more appetizers but never return.  

Don’t be that guy left by himself next to the cocktail shrimp. 

Your social media audience behave much the way the guests at a dinner party do. Good conversations are started and continued by those that engage in a warm and accessible way. No one talks the inaccessible bragging guy with slick hair. 

Choosing the Right Content for Your Social Media Campaign

In the world of online promotional media, social media content is unique. The content and strategy behind your campaign must be real and authentic and focus on the biggest differentiator you have, your personality. Your website tells your customers what you sell, but your social tells your customers why they should buy it from you. 

When small businesses move into the social media arena they often try to build on the success they have seen with Search Engine Marketing by using the same content strategy they used in the performance marketing world i.e. Advertising full of call to actions…click here, buy here, etc. But when the audience engagement they expected doesn’t show up, they give up on social media as a marketing tool assuming that it’s not a right fit for their business.   

But giving up on social is a big mistake. With 14 million Canadians on Facebook, their customers are online and they are expecting to engage. So it’s critical that you learn how. 

Let’s go back to the dinner party, more specifically the guest list. 

You invite guests based on the potential conversations they will have and the way you assume they will interact with each other based on their shared hobbies and interests. The main topic of conversation being their relationship with you. These are established relationships and the conversation will be friendly and warm.   Your guests expect this and your social media audience is much the same. 

‘Given the medium’s more personable nature, social media exchanges should certainly be more human than formal.’Mashable

Learning How to Engage with Your Audience

When following a brand, potential advocates expect the same friendliness of a dinner party conversation.  They expect content to reflect their reasons for following the brand, how the brand makes them feel, how the brand compliments their lifestyle.  

They do not follow brands that just talk about themselves; those brands get forgotten about much like the guy standing alone next to the buffet table.

Social media is a new digital marketing tool for small businesses.  The technology has a whole new lexicon of terms and best practices that are often confusing if you think too much about them.  

The trick is not to think too much about the tools, and more about the type of conversation you want to have.  

The dynamic of the dinner party can help with this:

Your Product

Instead of : Wow this food is great…tell me about the recipe? (Prep time, ingredients, menu features

Change to:  Wow I love your product…tell me about how it came up with the idea? (Product  origins, future goals, client success stories)

Exciting News

Instead of: You look good…what’s new? (Diet, exercise, hobby)

Change to: You guys are doing well, what’s new? (New brand partnership, new product best practices, new customer service models)

Your Team

Instead of : How is the family? (Kids success at school and community events, new relationships, renovations with the home)

Change to: How is your team? (Staff training and professional accomplishments, new partnerships, renovations with the shop)

The Holidays

Instead of: What are you doing for the holidays? (Travel plans, parties or events, who is going to water the plants)

Change to: What are you doing for the holidays? (Holiday specials, In store events, office closures )

Much like in the car drive home; your brand advocates will discuss with their friends the qualities that showed up in your conversations, the interesting stuff.  

It’s the interesting stuff that drives engagement and come purchase decision making time, it will be the interesting stuff that differentiates you amongst your competition and not just the price point.  

The Opportunity of Social Engagement

‘78% of respondents said the posts by companies they follow on social media impact their purchases’ – FORBES

Never before has it been easier for small businesses to control how their customers, new, old and potential, perceive their business.  

With social media, brand management can be made simple if engagement remains the goal.  Defining your social media strategy is easy and will come across in a warm, accessible and engaging way if you imagine the ideal dinner party conversation you want to have with your customers.