In today’s marketing landscape, simply having social media profiles is not enough. Actually, optimizing your social media profiles and posting regularly is not enough. Social media is not a promotional channel; it’s an engagement channel. Read on to understand why encouraging audience activity—not just performing your own activity— is important and how it impacts the growth of your business.
Related: Social Media Pocket Guide (free download)
Benefits of Social Media Engagement
Social proof is a powerful tool in marketing. When your business has a lot of likes and followers, prospective customers get the innate sense that you’re doing something right. They use the size of your audience and the amount of engagement with your pages to gauge how much confidence they should have in your business.
Greater Marketing Reach
The more engagement you get on social media, the more people who will want to engage with your business. They won’t want to miss out! Plus, when they see that you engage back, they will have greater incentive to interact with you and their satisfaction with your business will increase. The more engagement, the bigger your audience. The bigger your audience, the greater your reach.
If your focus is solely on obtaining followers and not engaging with them, a few things are destined to happen. Either you won’t get more followers, you’ll get too many followers for you to keep up with, or you’ll get a lot of low-quality followers. Focusing on engagement with your audience helps you to pace your social media growth so that you build a quality following of users who are most likely to become customers.
More Marketers for Your Business
The beauty of social networks is its exponential effect. If just 10 new followers or fans like, comment, or retweet to their own networks, your messages have the potential to be seen by an additional 100+ or more potential customers.
Larger Ad Audience
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter offer low-cost advertising to reach all of your friends and followers. These social networks let you use your audience for advertising to others with similar characteristics. The more engagement you have, the more fans and followers you have, and the more people you can also reach through advertising.
Studies have shown that consumers who like, follow, and interact with businesses on social media form an emotional attachment to them, visit that business more frequently, and tend to spend more money there as well.
You’ve probably heard how Facebook chooses who sees your posts. If more of your audience engages with your posts, then Facebook will continue to show posts to those people. This is based on an algorithm that aims to show those posts to Facebook users that are of most interest. If your fans don’t engage with your posts, Facebook will show fewer and fewer of your posts to these fans. So keep engaging them!
Customers Come Back to Your Business
Studies show that increased engagement directly correlates with return visits to your business. This makes sense because consumers stay informed and build a connection with your business.
How to Get More Social Media Engagement
Promote Social Media at Your Business
When people come to your business, make sure they leave knowing—or at least having seen—your social media info. Display business cards by your check-out with your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter handles. Add your social information to your daily specials chalkboard, bulletin board, or menus. The same goes for your website. Make sure your handles are easy to find on your homepage and blog.
Encourage your customers to take pictures at your business and post them (aka user-generated content). The best way to encourage images is by having something fun and unique on-site. This could be art, a cutout of a celebrity, unique dishes or decor, etc. Or, simply ask if you can take a picture of everyone. Then encourage them to share the photo to Facebook and Instagram—with your location tagged.
Join the Conversation
Your business needs to become part of the conversation. By searching your location or custom hashtags, you can see all of the images that are tagged with your business location. Be sure to engage with these posts, with likes, emojis, and comments such as “We’re glad you had a great time!” or “We’d love to have you back… maybe for our Friday night Happy Hour!”
Check-ins are great for word-0f-mouth marketing. Remind your customers to check in on social media, or try offering them something in exchange for checking in, like a coupon, small gift, discount, or free item.
Post your promotions to your social media profiles to remind your customers of the deals and specials that are out there for your business. People love discounts, and they love talking about their discounts. If you have a one-time-only spa package promotion, or a two-for-one dinner special, you’ll bet your customers will be telling their friends.
Create a hashtag for your business, and tell your customers to include it in their Twitter and Instagram posts. You might say, for example: “Don’t forget to include #BBQJoes in your posts for the chance to get a free pulled pork sandwich!”
Use and encourage your customers to use daily hashtags like #freakyfriday in their posts, including your twitter handle (@yourtwittername) for the opportunity to win something. This gets your foot in the door for getting people talking about your business.
Social media is a powerful tool to create some positive buzz about your business. As a business owner, you can let your customers do most of the marketing for you. It’s just a matter of making engagement with your business a positive and rewarding experience for your audience.
For more tips on social media marketing, download our free pocket guide below: