By Natalie Beach
If you look through your conversation thread on any social media channel, you’ll notice that a lot of posts don’t generate any response, conversation, or true engagement.
While research from Pew Research Center shows that nearly two-thirds of American adults use social media, that doesn’t mean they are actively engaged in social media.
Far too often, online conversations are more like a dissatisfying tennis match—you lob the conversational ball over the social media net, and nothing comes back.
There are, though, some things you can do to up the odds that you will successfully connect with your audience.
Tip #1: Know who you’re talking to and keep it narrow.
The more focused you are in terms of building an audience, the greater the odds that you’ll share messages meaningful to that audience.
Keep it too broad, and you’re not likely to engage with anyone.
Tip #2: Understand what matters to your audience.
Too often, marketers share information about themselves, their products, their services—the things that matter to themselves. Instead, you should seek to understand your narrowly-defined audience and share information that matters to them.
Tip #3: Listen and learn first.
Think of social networking as you would a business or social event where a lot of people are gathered. You’re not going to just walk up to a group and start talking, are you?
You’re most likely to walk up to a group, listen a bit to what they’re talking about and then decided whether (or not) to join the conversation.
Take the same approach on social media.
Whatever channel you’re on, take some time to get the lay of the land before jumping into the conversation.
Tip #4: Evaluate what works for successful online marketers.
One of the big benefits of marketing in a social media environment is that you can easily do competitive intelligence gathering.
- Who are your competitors?
- What are they doing on social media?
- How are they doing on social media?
Are they engaging an audience and generating conversations that, as in a tennis match, go back and forth for a while?
5 tactics that work well
Contests and competitions (make sure these are aligned with your brand and not just “attention-getters”). You need to make it meaningful.
Take a contrary approach to a topic, such as “Why we don’t want you to come into our store.” Be careful here, though, that you don’t inadvertently start a firestorm among your audience members. You want to engage, not inflame.
Crowdsource around a topic or issue of mutual interest and need. If you’re looking for new and creative ideas to connect, throw out a question like:
“Does your business send Valentine’s cards to customers? What does your card say?”
or “What’s on the menu at your company picnic?”
Stay on top of the conversations. Don’t just throw out a provocative question and then disappear. You need to be responsive and engaged if you want your audience to be engaged.
Finally, lay off the marketing lingo. Engagement in social media channels is social, not promotional. Keep that in mind, be in it for the long haul, understand what’s important to your audience, give it to them and keep the conversation going!
Do you know your audience is out there, but you struggle to connect with them on your blog and social channels? What one tactic from Natalie’s article will you put into practice this week?
About the Author
Natalie Beach is the Marketing Manager at Clutch, a ratings and reviews site for B2B agencies and solutions.