Build customer engagement with social media

by Lee Hopkins on September 2, 2011 · 1 comment

in blogging,marketing,micro-blogging,podcasting,strategy,tools,video

Guest post by Matt Polsky.

The five categories of social media measurement, courtesy of Nichole Kelly

YOU’VE STARTED YOUR social media campaign using the major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now you’re blogging and maybe even podcasting too. So what now? You want to reach potential customers and establish expertise in your field, but how do you go about doing that? Offering quality content has become necessary for all levels of business; however, finding, creating, and distributing content that will get you noticed and foster engagement has become a problem for many businesses.

Establish Your Target Audience

The first step in social media planning is to determine who your customers are. Questions to ask yourself are, who are the users of your product service? What niche do you serve or any specific niche at all? What aspects of your product or service attracts your target audience? You need to determine what your followers want to learn from you, what they like or dislike, and how they like to engage with your business, whether that be online or in person.

You also need to speak your customers’ language. Is your clientele college students or Fortune 500 executives? Prepare a basic profile for your most common types of customers. Classify your customer base by more than demographics; include education, age, hobbies, and ability to adapt to new technology.

Quality Over Quantity

Conveying a consistent image across all your platforms is very important. Some feel they can do this by using the same content for every channel or by blasting a single blog post across all their channels, but in fact, customers want to see unique content for each social network. Twitter users are different from Facebook users who are different from LinkedIn users and all respond better to platform specific content; while using a scheduling program for your Twitter is a good idea, it rarely looks good when your Facebook update has a logo at the bottom saying it came from an automated source.

It is important to keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity. If you aren’t the best writer and want to produce a quality blog post, it is best to hire a freelance writer who is able to turn your ideas into an article worth posting. Remember, you don’t have to post every day to create an effective presence with your social media campaign. Find the frequency that works for you and your readers and stick with that. However, don’t ever neglect your accounts. A neglected account is worse than no account at all and can lead to nothing but negative press.

Content Cycles

Some content planners find it easiest to establish a set schedule: Monday for news, Tuesday for product/service reviews, Wednesday for personal experience stories or guest posts, Thursday for a controversial topic for engagement, and Friday for fun or a weekly roundup or something similar. You should realize that a great deal of the content we respond to, whether by creating our own posts about it or directing readers to what someone else has reported, happens as breaking news. If you post your content on a schedule, be sure to leave space for an instant press release if need be.

Quality interviews make for solid content as well, and because they occur less frequently, you can target individuals for a timely segment. Don’t forget about video. Share clips from the interviews you conduct and be sure to post them to YouTube.

Your main goal with your social media campaign should be to build brand advocates and not just another one and done sale. Businesses looking to use social media as a lead generation tool or those expecting a quick boost in sales will most likely be disappointed at first. Taking the time to foster engagements through high quality content and open-ended dialogue will continually keep customers interested and coming back to see what is new with your business.

Matt Polsky is the Senior Content Manager for VA Mortgage, providing insights learned from the social side of business.

  • Ben Teoh

    Great summary, Lee. In terms of managing multiple channels and scheduling, I’m a big fan of HootSuite (as you know!). Might be a handy tool for your readers.

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