Social networking sites have changed the way that we communicate as a species. Many of us have more online friends than offline friends, and we’re increasingly turning to social media to solve customer service issues or to receive updates from our favorite brands and content creators.
In fact, nearly 70% of consumers have used social media for customer service issues, and customers spend 20-40% more with companies who engage with and respond to customers via social media.Engagement is the key word here, and it’s what we’re going to be looking at throughout the rest of this article.
Engagement isn’t something that you can fake, and it takes a combination of art and science to really nail it and to create customers who are actually interested in what you have to say and what you offer.
Here are just three of the most effective ways to captivate an audience and to drum up engagement.
1) Tell their stories
Stories of any kind tend to do well on social networking sites, which is why more and more companies are turning to storytelling to make a profit. We’re not talking about making false claims and lying to your customers, though. All of the best stories are grounded in truth, and brands can use this approach to sell their products by positioning them as part of a lifestyle. For example, Red Bull underscores its commitment to extreme sports by sharing the stories of professional athletes, simultaneously selling more product in the process.
But for best effect, you don’t want to tell just any story. Instead, tell the real stories of your customers, preferably by getting them involved in guest posts, talking head videos and other types of content that allows them to speak to your audience about your product on your behalf. People are much more likely to listen to a satisfied customer when they sing your praises than they are to listen to you telling them how great you are.
2) Show what’s in it for them
If you want people to engage with you on social media and ultimately to buy your products and services then you’ll need to make it clear what’s in it for them. Jamie Nalts, a professional copywriter from aussiewritings.com, says that “every piece of writing is shaped and defined by its target audience, whether it’s the new Stephen King novel or the FAQ section of a website.”
This need to focus on your eventual audience is also carried over to your blog posts and to your social networking presence. Everything that you share should be designed to add value to your potential customers, and they should be able to see at a glance what’s in it for them if they decide to follow you. In some cases, that means competitions and special offers, while in others it means sharing exclusive content and information. Find out what your target audience wants and then provide it.
3) Take them behind the scenes
People love to take a look behind the scenes at how their favorite companies really operate. You can cater to this curiosity by sharing photos, videos and written updates that highlight what really goes on at your company. Give your employees a voice so that they feel empowered to talk to your customers about something that they’re passionate about – their job!
On top of this, people find it easier to relate to other people than they do to relate to a faceless corporation or a logo. By showing the people who work at your company in their natural environment, you’ll build trust while picking up engagement. It shows that you’re more than just a name and a product.
People’s expectations are changing, and it’s no longer enough to build a great product and to wait for customers to discover you. Instead, you need to start to develop a community around your brand by engaging with your customers and making them feel like part of a family.
Social networking sites offer us an unprecedented opportunity to do just that, which is why it’s currently one of the easiest methods there is to reach and to interact with both current and potential customers. Your audience is out there – and they’re waiting for you to jump on into the conversation. What are you waiting for?
About the author: Olivia is a young journalist who is passionate about topics of career, digital marketing, and self-development. She constantly tries to learn something new and share this experience on different websites. Meet her on Facebook and Twitter.