MARKETING: Top Tips to Successful Social Engagement; Secret Sauce Behind Social Media ROI
Column by Ann Albergotti
As it stands today, most small businesses are still fairly new to the "game" of social media. Using social media as a marketing tactic is what big corporations have been doing to increase market share and are now leading the way in in developing best practices.
One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make as they familiarize themselves in social media is one that top performers no longer make. That is just posting and not engaging online audiences.
Social engagement is the "secret sauce" behind getting serious ROI out of social media, and with the holiday season in full swing, incorporating these best practices is a sure bet to achieving a return on investment. If not properly implemented, however, zero is what businesses will see from their overall social media efforts.
Here are three top tips top performers in the marketing industry use today to successfully increase engagement for three of the top social networking sites:
- Retweets: Actively monitoring your followers' posts and retweeting their most interesting and educational content shows you're listening and are interested in engaging in what your followers have to share. By consistently retweeting what your followers post, they will reciprocate thus furthering the reach of your messages.
- Direct Messaging: This is most important when you have new followers and want to thank them for their interest in following your posts. By sending direct messages to new followers, you are telling them you are an engager. It's a message that your new followers will appreciate.
- Not Selling Upon Introductions: Having a captive audience on Twitter doesn't give you a license to sell to them like you would in a print ad. In fact, on Twitter, doing this is actually perceived as spam. When posting, offer value first (free of commitment), inviting them to your website, and let your website do the selling.
- Post Great Content: As with any social networking, posting great content is, above all else, essential to increasing engagement, building creditability and growing loyalty. Blasting a bunch of your advertisements in any social networking space is like walking up to a stranger and saying "Hi, now that we are connected, go to my website and buy my stuff." Think about what your target market wants, what challenges do they experience and post valuable information that will help them understand their challenge and overcome some of them.
- Keywords: Keywords are the catalyst to getting found online. In the case of LinkedIn, you'll want to add keywords in places such as your bio, experiences, summary and even in your posts. This will greatly help others find you and connect.
- Groups Participation: LinkedIn groups are where the magic happens and where thousands of people connect every day. After creating your valuable and educational content, you'll want to share it within related groups. You'll also want to share or comment on content within these groups as well. This form of participation, when done consistently, promotes increased engagement within your connections.
- Posting Valuable Content: As mentioned under LinkedIn, posting valuable information is tops when engaging your fans. Your goal on Facebook is to build clout, which in this case means you want people to share your posts, comment or mention you. Only great content will get this form of interaction and you need this in order to grow fans on Facebook.
- Asking Questions: As you continue to grow fans, a great way to keep them engaged is to ask questions. Survey your fans. Ask short answer questions (that don't require a lot of thought) and maybe throw in an offer or two to get the responses started.
- Incorporating Small Call To Actions: Sometimes telling your audience what you want them to do makes that much of a difference to increase click through rates, comments made or content shared. Your call to action could be something like "click here," "share this" or "read this." Implement this periodically and you're sure to see your engagement level increase.
What other tactics have you used to increase engagement in social media? I'd love to hear your input.