Why Engagement Needs To Be The Focus of Social Media Marketing
What are the reasons why your business uses social media marketing? Most brands and businesses believe that the core of social media marketing is to publish relevant content that grows an audience, thereby generating user engagement. User engagement, however, is far more than clicks and likes. To be truly effective, engagement needs to happen on an emotional level. If you’re only seeing social media as an opportunity to promote your brand through visuals and words, you’re missing out on one of the most important and profitable aspects of social media marketing.
For starters, take up social listening, which can be thought of as an online variation on the concept of active listening. Every day, your target audience is collectively discussing topics that could be relevant to your brand, both directly and indirectly. They may not be commenting on your posts, tagging you in conversations or even discussing those topics of interest directly on your social media profiles, but they are having them.
By getting involved in these conversations, listening to what your consumers are saying and taking in the information to shape your products and services, and shaping the way you communicate with your target audience, you could transform the efficacy of social media for your brand. It may seem counterproductive to spend time browsing social media platforms instead of posting your own content, but there’s real value in social listening. Just look at Twitter as an example. On average, only 30% of the tweets that could be relevant to your business are directly written with your Twitter handle. If we break that down further, there’s more evidence to suggest that only 9% of written posts will actually incorporate the @ and your handle. This means that you could miss out on a staggering 91% of conversations relevant to your business. The only way to find these conversations is to spend time searching for them and get involved.
Consider this: Relevant content isn’t always promotional. One of the most positive aspects of social media marketing is that it gives you, the business owner, a means in which to advertise and promote your products and services directly to the consumer, effectively cutting out advertising and marketing agencies. However, the negative side of this is that businesses can be at risk of over promoting. Simply sharing endless photos and videos of your products or posts about your services is not going to stimulate or connect with new customers and could alienate current ones.
This past August, PokerStars, one of the leading online casino and poker brands, took advantage of Instagram users’ fascination with voyeurism to a great effect with #beyondthetable. Already the publisher of a highly visited blog that informs and connects readers to all aspects of the poker industry, the brand took things up a notch by sharing snaps of the pros in off duty mode on its official Integra account. This increased the reach of the brand considerably because they were able to engage a whole new segment of the market, particularly those poker enthusiasts who are unable to play the brand’s games due to country restrictions.
Lastly, embrace the fact that social media is a two-way channel. We’ve touched on how consumers will use Twitter to discuss or connect with a brand, but it’s also happening more regularly on that other social media giant, Facebook. With new developments in the Facebook Messenger app, consumers are just as likely to send messages and post on the pages and profiles of brands and businesses, as they are personal profiles. Major retail brands, despite preferring the simplicity and concise nature of tweeting customers, are starting to tune in to the potential that Facebook has for opening two-way conversations.
Amazon is one of the top brands to understand that consumers will use any available channel to communicate and how important it is to respond within a reasonable amount of time. Recent data comparing the response times of leading retail brands has Amazon coming out on top with a response of over 1,600 posts to users. This is particularly relevant when you consider the company received over 75,000 posts during that period, proving that businesses of all sizes can take the time to listen and respond to the needs of its customers online.
Social media offers business owners a plethora of possibilities, and interaction on a personal level is one that should be taken advantage of more. In addition to promoting your latest product or publicizing your offers, you can use social media to gain new insights into the needs and concerns of your target audience. This valuable information is key for tailoring future social media marketing efforts and has the potential to open up new areas of innovation that will better engage your target consumer.