Social media means people, so the best way of engaging your fans is to come up with new ideas, not tools. Immersed in Buffer’s and Sotrend’s statistics, we tend to forget that emotions are responsible for human behaviour, not an algorithm. Below are 10 brand verified, techniques of engaging social media fans.
In order to satisfy people’s needs, one must first identify them. What do people look for in social media? Entertainment, information, recommendation, affiliation and aspiration. All these needs may be addressed by various brands, but to achieve its goals, a brand must also observe a particular Decalogue, namely the ten golden rules:
1. Listen before you start publishing
It is not wise to join a conversation in social media without any prior discernment. Before you start publishing, listen to what people are talking about, what is trendy and what is taboo. The best solution is to react to a post in which people mention you. If you join a conversation at the right moment, just as it was in the case when Virgin Trains reacted to a Twitter entry about toilet paper deficiency, you may gain the gratitude of your clients and have great, positive publicity in social media.
2. Appreciate all voices, even the critical ones
It is of no surprise that social media means conversation, but not everyone really talks. A genuine dialogue involves sticking to a few rules. First of all we must avoid appearing superior (boasting that we are a famous brand) and talk not only to our supporters, but also to our opponents. There is one exception: an aggressive and unjustified antagonist who is not worthy of our time. Try to give answers systematically to those people who devoted their time to get to know your services or products thoroughly before they criticized them.
3. Evoke emotions
Emotions are like a photographic fixer. Thanks to them, we are able to pick from the mass of information and pictures those that we identify with, as well as remember them. Find a character (ideally your client) and describe a problem you are helping them to solve. Good stories can be found everywhere – take for example, PGE, who used an untypical call to a call centre.
4. Bid on joy
From a panoply of emotions used by brands, one may express joy, anger, fear, irritation or disgust. The recipe for making content go viral? Bid on joy – as Johnnie Walker’s example shows. Joy makes us more willing to share our emotions with others.
5. Tell the stories that only you can tell
Avoid content that other brands may identify with. Do not post stock pictures and casual wishes for Mother’s Day, Children’s Day or other occasion. Christmas is coming? Say what this season means for you, for example an increase in orders from clients, or the process of preparing presents for your customers.
6. Ask for opinion
People love to give advice and express their opinion. Take advantage of it! If you do not know which solution is the best, ask your community for their advice, opinions, and make them choose for you. Some brands specialize in taking advantage of crowdsourcing knowledge. The Polish brand, Risk Made, in Warsaw, regularly asks its fans to suggest names for new models from its collection.
7. Show back stage
This is where brands have the advantage over traditional publishers, as production facilities or the concepts back office of some brands are fascinating for some recipients. Present the people responsible for design and the practicality of your products, what inspires them, how they create, how they organise their work.
8. Share your by-products
The authors of Rework Book made social media an important branch of their business by going public with their own system of projects management etc. By making known what applications are used by your specialist managers, and employing spoiler alerts on best sellers, fans are eager for more insights.
9. Carry out experiments
Fighting with an algorithm is not easy, especially when we react just as everybody does. Try to stay ahead of falling trends and do something differently when everybody does the same. Are pictures popular? Single yourself out with ‘copywriting’ statuses. Is video trendy? Make a black and white cartoon. Devote some money from your budget to the ‘research and development’ of your channel.
10. Measure the results
Building engagement is not just art for art’s sake but its role is to make your fans take specific steps. Make sure that after visiting your Facebook site they go to your main website and participate in activities – for example, sign up for a newsletter – that not only engage them, but satisfy your goals too.
Social media are like a party. Prepare many sweet snacks, check if the venue meets all safety standards, and enjoy yourself a little!