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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

5 tips on how to engage customers using social media marketing

Have you decided to jump on the social media bandwagon (good for you) ? Do you find yourself complaining that no one comments on our posts, no one shares your updates or re-tweets your tweets, etc.  Without any interaction or payoff, it is normal to begin to wonder if social media is really worth the effort.

What’s lacking is ‘customer engagement’.  Without customer engagement, social media becomes tiresome and boring. Over time, people will stop paying attention.

Question: How do you stimulate engagement?
If you're a small business, before you throw in the towel, I’d like to encourage you read the following engagement suggestions and test them out with your social media audiences.

1) Is it all about You or them?
One potential reason could be that you are not tweeting or posting items that are of interest to their audience. It could be all about the business or the product and not about adding value.

The rule is to add value by sharing information that enlightens, educates, informs, shares and updates your audience.  Twenty percent (20%) or less of the posts and tweets can promote your business, products, store, but with care and not like a used car sales man. 

2) Remember, social media is about building online buddies. Take time to Buddy-up
Speaking of buddies, perhaps you are not taking the time to really make buddies with their fans, followers, connections.

What do I mean?  Going beyond just thanking someone for joining your social community.  In addition, visit their profile or website.  See if you can find anything of interest to share with others in your network.  Talk directly to them through the direct messaging tools that are available and become true buddies in the same way you would talk face-to-face if they were in your store or place of business. You certainly can’t do this with everyone in your social media community, but you can cherry-pick those who are already the most engaged. 

Start there and span out.

3) What do you want them to do?
Another factor that leads to a lack of engagement is there are few, if any, calls to action.  If you want your social media community  to take action, explain what you would like them to do, how to do it and give them a reason to do it.

Want your updates shared or re-tweeted? Ask them to do just that and explain why. You might be pleasantly surprised.

4) Ask first. Then deliver.
Few small businesses are asking members of their social media communities what they would like to know or learn about.  Instead, assumptions are made as to what folks want to hear about.

Ask and then respond.

5) Get them talking to each other
Create opportunities for them to interact with one another.  This could be some sort of collaboration or perhaps they could join forces to select a new product, a new color, etc.  Offer contests rather than discounts.  Get them hyped about some happening or cause.

Stir the pot with something controversial and get them to share their points of view.

If this has helped you think, share it with others so that they can increase their following and increase their audience.


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