Some internet marketers are calling this the 'Era of Engagement'.
We've all heard of it and many savvy online marketers and brands are engaging with their audience on Social Media with great effect, but how do they do it?
Let's break down one of the most powerful persuasion techniques into a way that everyone will understand.
Grab your pens and take special note... There's one powerful persuasion technique that indirectly contributes to social engagement. That is to show your customer that you care about them.
Deadly simple, isn't it!
I'll use this quote by the famous American Poet, Maya Angelo, to clarify:
People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
- Maya Angelo
How can we apply a more caring approach to our Social Media Marketing?
The key to social engagement lies not only in showing how knowledgeable you are through your Content Marketing efforts or showing your 'Authority', but more importantly to show how much you care. Caring is shown through consistently and authentically utilising the right social media channels for your business and audience - and showing a more human and more natural side by being genuine in your efforts to engage and reach out.
This is not done by making up fake stories, testimonials or reviews, or by overstating your ability to deliver your product or service or exaggerating the experience that your target audience can expect from you. An easy way to do this is to utilise your three Ps... People, Passion, Personality... Your people, aka your staff are now your best engagement tools! (You may want to TWEET this last statement!)
The Era of Engagement insists on the release of 'Personal Branding' and 'Brand Advocates' to empower business growth online. Let your people show the 'personality' of your brand, and their own 'personalities'. Naturally be sure to educate your people so that they fully understand and can appropriately speak about and apply your brand's 'message' - you'll need to establish guidelines such as a 'Staff Policy for Social Engagement' to protect your online reputation... but once you've done that exercise, let them speak freely and passionately about your business.
Just as an aside, you may first need to identify exactly who your customers are.
According to Hubspot, buyer personas are a crucial component of successful inbound marketing, particularly for the sales and marketing departments. After all, the marketing team needs to know to whom they are marketing, and the sales team needs to know to whom they are selling. We highly recommend Hubspot and this very useful worksheet to hep you develop your buyer personas which you can access by clicking here..
The 8 key interrogatory questions listed on the worksheet for developing Buyer Personas are:
When you're crystal clear about who your intended customers are, you can confidently proceed to connect and engage, nurture and ultimately convert.
3 Top Tips for Posting
1 - Create an Engagement Strategy and Schedule your Posts
You need to plan your posts and comments, i.e. your marketing communications online. Do not post randomly but rather set out an engagement strategy to mention topics in a sequence that will peak your audience's attention, build rapor and create a buzz, in an informal way that allows them to comment and engage with you easily and openly. The results that follow will be genuine responses bringing goodwill, awareness of what you do, awareness of your care factor, and the continuation of building a relationship of trust. Your audience will get to know you and hopefully, like you!
2 - How often should you Post and how long does it take to build trust?
All social engagement relies on the building of a trust relationship over time. We advise that it takes at 9 - 12 months to build a community of followers or fans on just one platform alone - applying daily consistent actions. You also need to determine the frequency of your message and test what times of the day or night are best for posting. However, do remember that if you post content of great value to your audience, leave that post for a day or so in your news feed before posting a follow-up. This will give your post time to gain momentum and be seen a little longer in your Facebook news feed.
3 - Always MENTION people by name
This is perhaps my most EPIC tip as far as the mechanics of engaging on a social media platform go.
People love to hear their own name, this is not ego, it's just plain good old human nature and shows an extra small measure of care. I never fail to use the MENTION feature included on all social network platforms. This is how it works:
Start typing the person's name, their Facebook profile name link will appear, when it does click and highlight it. This will insert it into your status update or into the comment box or into your message box. If you don't see the name appearing, it may be because the person you want to highlight is not one of your Friends. You can also highlight a person who is not your Friend if they have commented in the same thread of a post you are interacting with on any page. You can also try using the @ symbol before typing the person's name. This works well if you want to highlight a celebrity such as @robertkiyosaki.
You need to always type + immediately followed by the person's name. They'll need to be in your circles or a person commenting in in the thread of a post you are interacting with.
Twitter calls it their "mention" feature. Do this by typing the @ symbol in front of the person's name. You can mention anyone on Twitter. If you want everyone to see you are calling someone out, make sure to type the dot and then the @ symbols together, e.g. .@nat_vanveen. If you don't place the dot before the @ symbol then only I will see the tweet.
Do you have questions relating to Social Engagement? If so, why don't you take a moment to drop me a line via my contact form below and let me know. I'd be happy to hear from you and help you out.
Leave a comment below... Do you have experiences similar to those I've described in my blog today? If so we'd love to hear about them. Please share your experiences by commenting. Perhaps you have some insights you'd like to share on what makes your Social or Facebook engagement techniques work so well.
I shall leave you with this thought:
"People do business with those they know, like and trust."