In less than a decade, social media has grown wildly popular. In fact, 78% of Americans now have a social media account, and for you, that’s an opportunity you cannot let go of. Social media is valuable – particularly as a content producer and marketer. No other tool allows you to remain directly engaged with consumers on a regular basis. It’s an incredible means of building and marketing your business. It sounds simple and is often treated as unimportant, but finding quality social media content is a lot of work – and it’s necessary work for your business. Here are some tips to provide you with social media ideas to help you engage your social media followers:
Tell Your Story
Every business has a story to tell – your mission, your core values, and the work your team does, but few see. Sharing your story can peak the interest of your followers and help you to gain new ones.
Show what’s behind the curtain
Whether you are sharing how taffy is made or a brainstorming session among your employees, letting your followers have a view of the inside of your organization can help them to better connect with you. For NASA, this was following #AYearInSpace with Astronaut Scott Kelly. For businesses this may be a feature of an assembly line; a bakery might show how bread is made. Large companies have some slightly larger opportunities – Amazon recently featured its trial of drone delivery on Facebook.
Feature a member of your team
Have an employee with a unique story to tell? Perhaps they always wanted to work for your company, or they were one of your satisfied customers and decided to join your team. Your employees connect you with consumers – engage them to be your cheerleaders.
Share a customer testimonial
Testimonials are very impactful. A compelling story from a customer who was changed by your product or service can help you to build trust among other potential customers.
Highlight a product or service
Share a product or service with your customers and show how it works. From tractors to tiny gadgets, you will find that you can engage followers by sharing a product or service that catches their attention. Lay’s engaged its social media audience with collecting flavor ideas, and then produced a product to sell.
You have won award, it’s okay to brag about it. Share your trophy, certificate or a representation of your recognition with your followers. I guarantee your team will share!
Use social media as your very own media outlet. You can share the latest news from your website to your accounts to keep your customers informed.
Are you a business with a long history? Consider sharing Throwback Thursday photos with some history. Your followers will love the nostalgia of yesteryear.
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) November 14, 2013
Ask questions that are of interset to your audience. It will increase your engagement with them and can become an interactive conversation on social media. You can also flip it and offer to answer their questions in the spirit of Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything).
Hold a contest
Running a contest or promotion can help you to gain followers, as well as share your brand or compaign. You should run promotions that interest your demographic. You should not run a promotion that violates your social media platforms guildeines or local laws. Every social media outlet has rules about contests – here is a link to Facebook promotion guidelines.
Ask for photo submissions
You have some loyal customers. Asking them to share their love of your brand on social media not only helps you to engage with them, but also extends your reach to their network. User generated campaigns are an incredibly successful strategy for brands. Starbucks’ white cup campaign yielded thousands of submissions and resulted in future cup design ideas further engaging its customers.
Invite your followers to caption a photo. This strategy can result in some humorous results, but be careful – it does not work for every brand as Shell learned in 2012.
External news (when relevant)
Sharing news from media outlets that mention you or your contributed to can legitimize your business, but it’s important to place the content appropriately. Facebook, for example, tends to push down lone hyperlinked articles in feeds. Make sure you include a post that engages followers and tags the media outlet to increase the chances that your post is seen.
Link to your company blog
If you want people to know about your service or product, you have to get them to your website. If your website lacks content, no one will spend time there. Linking to your company blog is one part of a social media strategy that works, but it also requires that you pay attention to the information on your website. Is there enough? Is it comprehensive? Do you have a call to action? Learn why content marketing matters.
Infographics take time to put together, but are incredibly effective in engagement. Users love to share them. They work well on Facebook and Pinterest, and it’s good to include them in your blogs. There are free browser-based applications, like Canva, that can help you to create captivating informational content.
Invite followers to sign-up for your e-newsletter
Facebook offers a sign-up button that you can direct to your newsletter. Building a e-mail list allows you to send valuable content that’s important to your customers. If you’re an accounting firm for example, you may have customers who vary from large business, small business to sole proprietors – you can build e-mail lists to reach and communicate each group with different content. Social media is just another tool to add more followers to your e-mail distribution. ConvertKit allows you to easily manage these lists and distribute content while maintaining compliance with electronic communication laws.
Announce upcoming events
Use Facebook to add an upcoming event for your organization and promote it on your feed. Sharing and boosting your event can help build engagement with your followers and can convert to attendance at your event.
Injecting humor into your social media content will result in greater reach, and often greater shares and retweets. Wendy’s social media management team has this skill mastered.
Quote images are incredibly effective with feed algorithms across social media platforms meaning your followers see your content more often. While you may not get more hits back to your website, you will get more shares through this type of content. It’s also useful to mass produce and schedule as you plan your social media editorial calendar.
Leverage upcoming holidays to promote your business. Tell a compelling story related to a holiday – take Valentine’s day, for example. Think about your business, your customers or your community. Is there a love story that led to the growth of your family business? Did two of your customers have their first date at your restaurant? Did your nonprofit giving show love for the community? Telling a story can help to connect with your current social media followers and gain more. People love to share a story. For several years, WestJet has used social media to tell touching stories and giving back to their passengers.
Many for profit businesses support nonprofit causes or even have nonprofit customers. Supporting a cause that is important to you can benefit your employee morale, and show your efforts to make the world a better place with your customers. Get your employees involved in a local food drive or share your business resources to benefit a nonprofit. Then share your efforts on social media.
Offer a discount or a deal
Announcing promotions are common around holidays, but consider offering discounts or deals to your social media fans at times throughout the year. You can also offer exclusive deals or coupon codes based on social media platforms. Free consultations and discounted prices are an excellent driver of leads and sales. But beware. While the social space is ideal for free advertising, too much promotion can lead to unfollows – keep a healthy mix of engaging content and direct promotions.
Talk to your followers
Most of all, it is important that you talk to your followers. You must communicate with your followers directly. Some of the most successful businesses in social media make an effort to engage and respond to their followers. Whether is praise, a question or a complaint, make an effort to respond as soon as possible.
Have other social media marketing tips? Tell me about it in the comments below or on twitter.com/nerdsquawk.