The ease of use and overall permeation of social media in consumers’ lives has, for businesses making use of the global channels, seemingly made marketing a breeze, but all too often business’ social media feeds are filled with one-sided, automated self-promotion rather than interaction and engagement with customers.
One thing that is certain is that consumers are loyal to their favourite brands, and if they are already following you, you have won the battle. However, their loyalty comes at a price: you need to respect them both by avoiding constant self-promotion and by showing them they are important enough to interact with.
It has become difficult to balance interaction with consumers with marketing the company, its products or its brand. Consumers have become less attentive, more choosy about who they follow and why, and possibly too easily swayed by other brands. To retain them, brands must show that they are listening to consumers, learning from them, and interacting with them in ways that are not only about making a sale.
This does not mean that a business should never promote itself. Sales are the target of any marketing opportunity and it would be insincere to pretend you’re not trying to sell something. However, through listening and learning you will discover what kindles your followers’ interests and how to appeal to their buying power through story-based promotions, since you will be able to discover how your content can add value and be useful.
It is important that, when it comes to your following, you learn what they are conversing about and join them rather than interrupt them with a promotion that has nothing to do with what they care about at the current time. For example, say you are an insurance company and your followers are talking about how much it has been raining lately. Share your own or others’ content about how they can safeguard their homes from leaks and floods, or even how they can store the rainwater to use in the garden.
Successful marketing on social media platforms has become difficult. While it is important to have a social media strategy and even a content schedule, it is more important that your social media timeline be focused on what your customers need at the moment. Engage with anyone mentioning your brand or a topic your company is affiliated with and be proactive in stimulating two-way conversations. Show your appreciation of follows or mentions. Impress your followers by sharing something they have shared that is relevant to your brand or a promotion. Answer every question.
For your strategy, aim for a balance between sharing your content or promoting yourself, sharing things about other people or businesses or links to external resources, and conversations with followers or others contacting you. Successful social media engagement balanced with appropriate self-promotion will result in a following that pays attention, trusts your brand and its expertise, and shares and enjoys your content.
By Roane Swindon