Marketers worldwide know that social platforms are great for reaching and engaging customers as well as prospects, increasing brand awareness, generating new leads and making a sale.\
In fact, in the past two years, social media referral traffic to online stores has increased by more than 100%. However, simply sharing content on various channels will not likely result in sales. The key to ensuring your social media delivers results is focusing on building engagement.
To help you wrap your head around how to really make social media work for your brand, we have put together 5 practices to take your engagement to the next level and grow your business.
What to know before being social on social media
Increasing your engagement on social media can be a helpful tool for getting people interested in your brand and result in them actually making a purchase.
However, before diving into perfecting your social media engagement, you need to understand if there’s anything else on the way that could be the reason why you are not making sales. One thing to remember is that 91% of social media users browse social media on their phone.
Knowing this, make sure that:
- Your website is mobile friendly
- Your site loading times are not too slow
- You have a clearly worked brand strategy and your tone of voice is the same on every channel
- Your product pages are well executed – you have included product titles, images, size guides, prices, availability, return and shipping policy, etc.
In short, make sure wherever your customers are redirected from your social accounts, they will have a positive experience learning more about your brand.
5 tips for increasing engagement on social media
Once you are confident that your site can provide a great customer experience, you can continue building awareness of your brand on your social channels.
1. Social media shopping
Social media shopping enables merchants to sell their products directly on social media. This type of online shopping is gaining popularity and over 43% of internet users in the US are already social media shoppers.
So how does social media shopping work? Simply put, customers can tap on photos and videos shared on social media to be redirected to product pages of the items that they saw on the images.
Shoppable content also encourages customers to comment, tag, share and leave reviews for the products they have ordered as everything is just a few clicks away.
Let’s take a look at how shoppable content is created on Instagram, which is currently the most popular platform for social media shopping. This is due to Instagram’s image friendly approach and 70% of the platform users are already actively using product discovery.
If you wish to start selling directly on Instagram, you need to open your Instagram Shop. By connecting this feature to your business account, you can:
- Add dedicated product pages – share all the relevant information about the items you’re selling (e.g. description, pricing, etc.). Product description pages also help to drive customers to your website to complete a transaction.
- Curate collections – sort your products into themes to help customers find desired products faster. For instance, you can sort products by “new arrivals”, “gifts”, “seasonal” and more.
- Add an in-app Checkout – instead of customers completing purchases on your website, Instagram launched a feature that enables checkout in-app. This is currently available for US businesses and creator accounts.
Note: Besides Instagram Shop platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat and some others also offer shoppable content options.
2. Join communities and join in discussions
Creating content and sharing it on your social media feeds are great for informing people what your brand is about. However, without active followers (that starting brands often won’t have) getting off the ground can be challenging.
Here’s where social media communities with a shared interest can be of help.
This means joining groups related to your field that will help to spread the word about what you do. For instance, if you’re in the sports industry, you would want to join Facebook groups whose members would potentially be interested in what you have to offer and help you to grow.
How to find the right groups to join? Think of the keywords that would resonate with your brand. If you’re selling surfing gear, you would want to browse for surfing groups with active members.
From these options “Open Surfing Group” looks like a place to be. They have 10 posts per day and people are welcome to post anything surfing related as long as it’s not spam.
Not sounding salesy or spammy is the key to winning followers from such communities. Share your (or your customer) stories, tips and insights that people would love to hear about and that would start a conversation. And of course, join in discussions at other people’s posts as well.
Once users see the value you provide, they are likely to check out your Facebook page to learn where they can learn more about what you offer.
3. Track social mentions
Every interaction you have on social media helps to build your brand. Tracking your social mentions lets you know when someone is talking about you and you can reply to them encouraging conversation, like Wendy’s is doing here.
Keep in mind that every conversation you have on social media should go hand in hand with your brand image.
Besides, 70% of consumers claim to call brands out on social media to raise awareness.
Therefore, keeping an eye on your mentions is a great way to learn if someone has had a negative experience that needs attention.
Tracking your social mentions helps you discover when something has gone wrong, allows you to explain yourself and, hopefully, find a solution that fits both parties. SMoreover, other potential customers will see that your customers are not left unheard when they have a problem.
Some social media management tools for tracking social mentions are Hootsuite, Brandwatch, Talkwalker.
4. Share posts from your followers
It’s a good practice to share content from other businesses in the industry to provide your followers with relevant information and keep them interested. But also, it’s important to share and highlight what your followers and customers are posting (if their content is relevant).
Given that customers posting about you already have a strong relationship with your brand, they will likely be very excited to see their posts shared. And this means more exposure for you.
Firstly, they are likely to reshare that they got a shoutout from you. And secondly, this will also signal to others that your business values customers and can be encouraging for them to post about their experiences with your company.
For example, this is how Coca-Cola created more hype around their Cherry Vanilla Coke last year.
5. Talk about your employees on social media
People like to read about other people because such content is highly relatable. This is why using employee advocacy to enhance social media engagement works.
If your employees are happy to be featured and share their experiences working with you on your and their social channels, you will definitely be able to increase your engagement by encouraging their followers to interact with you.
Here’s how Adobe has approached this matter.
On average, people have more than 1000 social connections on various platforms. When your employees are tagged, when they share your posts or write a post about you, their personal accounts have 5 times more reach than business accounts.
Moreover, the followers of your employees are 7 times more likely to convert.
To wrap up
What works the best on enhancing engagement on social media is actually being social. And this means going beyond simply posting and sharing relevant content on your page.
By providing customers convenient solutions such as shoppable content, joining in conversations in your communities and with your followers, your brand will feel approachable and easy to engage with.