If you’ve been on social media for a bit, chances are that you have a little over bazillion fans, contacts and communities. The speed at which new social networks have come into our lives has also meant that each brand is typically on at least six major networks. Social gurus will always tell you that the holy grail isn’t in the vanity metrics, but in how you engage.
Building a loyal following and an engaged community is what gets you business results. Yet, if you’re sifting through so many platforms with so much content created each day, how do you find your true north? I’ll share some tips that will make you re-evaluate how you engage with your fans. This isn’t a 500 pager to-do list: this is how you make your life easy!
1. Choose Your Platforms and Don't Be a Robot
Choosing platforms merely based on what others are saying isn’t enough. Most brands fail at social because they spread themselves too thin. The idea is to do your social research and understand your customers, and know where they hang out.
It’s okay to be transparent and share with your community on how you use various platforms. For instance, if you’re answering customer care queries on Twitter, then direct them to that platform. This is far better than having customers leave you comments all over the social media space, without receiving any response from your side.
Once on your preferred platform (decide based on your community), ensure that you answer all comments, respond like a human being and carefully manage both planned and responsive content. Automation is your friend, except when talking to people.
Do not sound robotic. That usually gets people riled up against your brand. A recent example is from ASOS, UK, which had most people convinced that it was run by a robot. Here’s the story, have a look:
2. Use Analytics Before You Go on a Posting Spree
Many brands have a single agenda- to constantly be visible. So much so that they bombard everyone with multiple posts a day, without worrying about creating a large amount of noise themselves. Many consumers can in fact unfollow and be disengaged with your content if there’s too much of it.
I am a big fan of the native analytics on most platforms but it’s a complete productivity killer when you go from one platform to another checking insights. Recently, I have used Zoho Social which consolidates analytics for each platform that I link it with on one single dashboard. Specifically, for higher engagement, here are some features that I really like:
- Smart Q: This tells you what percentage of your followers you will reach if you schedule a post at a certain time- this is key when you're trying to ensure your organic reach is maximized and you give yourself the best chance!
- You can easily sift through and check your most engaged followers on each platform – also by activity types like messaging, likes, comments etc. This is so important to keep a note of when you’re tracking and fighting hard to keep your loyal followers close to your brand.
- For planned posts, you can use automation and features like bulk scheduling (Buffer/ HootSuite etc. also offer this), and repeat posting (similar to Buffer).
- You also get the demographics for your audience and set up automated reporting (customized) as per your needs on the tool. It’s really nice to get a simple and visual dashboard to track performance of all channels at one place!
3. Listen More Intently
There are no shortcuts to building good relationships. You need to pay attention and create a culture of listening. Social media is a two-way channel and you can’t just assume you will have a great relationship unless you try and understand what your customers and community needs. I already shared a post on social listening to get you new business.
But, an authentic brand community and the commitment to listening is above and beyond just sales. It is necessary for you to understand the brand perception your customers have of you, your competitors and for you to identify community needs.
To ensure that your brand is not the generator of mindless noise, it is critical to give the community what they're looking for. And there’s no other way to do this except being a gracious listener and constantly learning.
Responsive media can be hard, given how easily and quickly things can scale on social media, therefore it’s important to keep a track of how things are moving. Whether it’s by tracking a specific keyword that your community is connected with, or checking your own brand name or by following competition, the point is to be in the know. Being a brand that has a social media fail and only responds after hours of silence will be seen as unresponsive and you do not want your brand perception to be tuned so.
Use tools like SEMrush’s brand or keyword monitoring tools, which even allow you to check on Google per country. You could also use Mention, Google Alerts and other tools, which are your friends when trying to keep a lid over things (good and bad!)
What are some of your tips in ensuring that your brands create an engaged and loyal social community? Share your ideas with me in the comments below or on Twitter!