There is a lot more that goes into fostering a strong social media presence besides regular posting and developing a budget for paid social media promotions. Sure, making sure that you have a solid and strategic content calendar is very important, and devoting part of your marketing budget to your social media channels seems like a no-brainer, but to truly grow a strong, loyal social media community, you need to set aside time to engage with your fans and other accounts in your industry.
Do you remember the first social media account that you ever created? Why did you open the account originally? If you’re like most people, the original reason that you opened your first social media account was to stay connected with certain people and to be social. Did you open your first social media account because you wanted to see more advertisements? Nope, probably not. So, why then, do brands forget to implement this original notion that brought people onto social media channels in the first place?
It all boils down to bringing value and engaging your audience. Does that mean only answering questions when they’re addressed to you on your own pages? NOPE. This means getting out into the online community that regularly interacts with your brand, and liking their posts, leaving comments, and following accounts that you find to be inspirational. BE SOCIAL.
Growing your social presence organically is time-consuming and can often seem like a challenge, which is why you find brands utilizing a budget allotted to social media advertising to help build a stronger social presence. But to truly build those stronger, loyal relationships, you need to develop a solid engagement plan. People buy from brands and people that they trust, so that’s why this piece is so important.
There are 4 important pieces that go along with a successful engagement plan. These include:
1. Liking posts: Taking the time to scroll through your social channels and “like” other people’s content shows your community that you are alive and engaged. It also portrays to them that you’re not on your social channels for the sole purpose of self-promotion. It adds extra life to your social media presence and gives the people in your community “warm fuzzies.” Isn’t this the feeling you get when your favorite brand “likes” your posts? You want to show your fans that you care about them and that you’re interested in what they do and think. Simply “liking” their posts can go a long way to demonstrate this to them!
2. Commenting on posts: Take it another step further by joining the conversations! When you share your thoughts about someone’s posts, or verbally acknowledge something that they’ve posted about your brand, it sparks a very personal experience with your fan. Sure, formulating a response can take a little bit more time, but it can work WONDERS for your online presence. Also, the more you comment on posts, the more free eyeballs you get on your account. So you’re not only building awareness of your brand, but you’re demonstrating that you are invested in your fans and that you want to be a part of their conversations.
4. Time allotted: This is probably the most difficult part, and the hardest to remember of the 4 important pieces to a successful engagement plan. Have you ever heard someone say “if it isn’t on the calendar, it won’t happen?” It’s the truth. You do need to make sure you’re blocking off pieces of your day to engage across all of your social media channels. Add it to your Google or Outlook calendar and ensure that it happens. Sure, it might only take 20-30 minutes out of your day, but block out 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon, and you should be golden! Like some posts, retweet some tweets, add some comments and follow some relevant accounts…then BOOM! You’re done til the next time. While it seems super simple, it’s very important. No one wants to look like a social media snob (i.e. those accounts with thousands of followers who only follow back a fraction of that amount)
Ok, now I’m going to make this whole idea even easier for you and provide you with some specific areas that your brand can engage in order to expand your reach and online visibility.
Unique places to engage:
Twitter Chats: These are typically easy to find. Take a look at some of the influential Twitter accounts that you are following. and see if they regularly participate in any of these.
“What are Twitter chats,” you ask? Check out Madalyn Sklar’s #TwitterSmarter community on Twitter, and you’ll quickly figure it out! These are a PHENOMENAL place to establish your own credibility and online reputation as an authority on a specific topic. Just join the conversation! (and again, block the time off on your calendar so that you’ll remember to participate.)
Live Broadcasts: Do you view many live broadcasts from influencers in your industry? If you don’t already, then the time to do so is yesterday!
“Where do they broadcast from,” you ask? Check their Facebook page or their Instagram account! (yes, you can now go LIVE on Instagram) “Follow” the accounts so that you’ll get notifications for when they go live, and then when they do, view the live broadcast and then go a step further and COMMENT during the broadcast! This makes you immediately visible to not only the influencer, but also to their community, which is most likely a community that would be valuable for you to become a part of. We can all learn a lot from each other, and being part of a collaborative online community can be very powerful.
Live broadcasts are in-real-time, and broadcasters truly appreciate it when viewers are participating in the live conversation and adding value to their broadcast. Ask questions! Comment with your own perspectives on the topic at hand! You’d be surprised how powerful this can be for your brand.
Instagram Stories: Did you know that when you comment on someone’s Instagram Story that it appears to them as a direct message? What’s more intimate than a direct message, guys? Practically NOTHING. I feel like there’s nothing more that I can say here except for “Oh my gosh, just DO IT.” View and comment on Instagram Stories that resonate with your brand. I promise you that you will not regret it if you are adding value and being kind.
Do not underestimate the power of the an engagement plan, folks. Being social on social media channels is the entire point of our efforts in the first place. These platforms are intimate. They’re where your fans hang out. Don’t miss out on some easy opportunities to connect with them and learn more about them because you don’t want to devote time and money to it. That’s doing your brand a disservice.
Thanks again so much for reading the Backspace Blog! If you have any additional thoughts or comments, please leave them in the section below or feel free to send me a message.
Have a great week! -Jen