In the past, businesses could run ads on television, put up billboards and place print advertisements in magazines and newspapers to get your message across. There were benefits to those method of advertisement and engagement, but there were plenty of negatives to those methods, as well. Social media is the same thing. There are plenty of benefits, but there are a few downsides.
The consumers of today and tomorrow don’t know, or care about the advertising ways of yore. The young adults, currently in college, have few recollections of not using the internet, not browsing the web on cell phones, and sitting through television advertisements. They have grown up in a world where they can turn something off if they simply don’t like the message. When Facebook status updates don’t contain anything useful, they will remove their “like” from the page. If a tweet is disagreeable, they will unfollow you. If a television commercial is boring, they’ll simply fast forward through it.
They have grown up in a connected world that can be turned on and turned off in the blink of an eye. So, how do you engage them? Through social media. Many businesses fail at social media engagement because they forget the social part. There is no “tried and true” tactic, so to speak. You have to socialize with your followers. Talk to them, listen and then talk about what they want to talk about. Engaging your customers requires you to pay attention to their likes, dislikes, wants and needs.
To be successful in social media engagement it is important to follow a few simple rules. First and foremost you must be consistent. Users will forget about a brand if they only show up in their feed once every three months. They will also unfollow brands that inundate their feed with mundane updates every thirty seconds, then disappear for weeks at a time. Set up a posting plan and stick with it. Make sure your updates and blog posts post at set intervals.
Secondly, make sure you are engaging your audience with something unique. Business rules still apply in the world of social media, and you need to show your consumers what is so special about your brand. Even well written content can fall by the wayside if 10 other brands are offering similar content. Make sure you are using a unique angle, and finish off posts by asking a question. People are more likely to feel engaged if they are being prompted to get involved in the conversation.
Perhaps most importantly, know the audience you are trying to reach and utilize the network they hang out on. Facebook offers a wide variety of users, and you can streamline your content to reach the users you most want to reach, but if you are targeting professionals, you might have better luck engaging your target audience on LinkedIn. If you are targeting the 18-25 year olds in your area spend some time on Twitter. Twitter, after all, is the young adults’ playground.
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