How to Engage with Your Customers on Social Media

Your business has a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and so on.  Maybe you even post or Tweet, and send out various messages, promotions, and updates on social media.  Perhaps you have customers who have followed or liked you, maybe they notice your posts, and maybe they don’t.  Yes, your business has a social media presence, but unless there’s actual engagement, does it really mean anything?  The solution is to engage with your customers, rather than that all-too-common practice of simply having a presence and feeding your customers promotions and bombarding them with ads.  And besides, it’s important to remember that brands themselves don’t really have that much control over their messages and branding, it’s based far more on customers’ responses these days.

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One important point is to be more personal with your target audience – this isn’t that difficult, you can get away with pretty basic targeting techniques and adaptations.  Don’t bombard your followers with daily messages, they don’t want that, and no one wants to think that a particular brand is stocking them just to get them to buy something.  You can’t engage with customers by annoying them or being creepy – that actually tends to alienate them, and that’s generally bad for business.  And addressing customers by name in ads definitely is something that falls into the category of being creepy and too personal.  Target their interests instead.  And don’t just rehash your sales pitch – there’s little point in engaging in such narcissism, especially when no one wants to hear it.

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People talk about customer experiences on social media, and it’s all the more true if they’ve had a bad experience.  And of course other people see their complaints.  So if you want to be effective at engaging with customers on social media, you’ll need to respond to their complaints – otherwise, where’s the engagement.  And no, that doesn’t mean offering some simple solution or disregarding their complaint, rather, you need to do this sensitively and based on the context (this need not entail being overly sensitive to customers who are genuinely out of line).  Don’t be arrogant and think that you’re the greatest brand in the world and that everyone worships you – having poor customer service these days is about the worst mistake you can make, especially if you have a social media presence.  Feedback is two-way street, after all, and should help your brand grow and better serve your customers.  So don’t use it simply to broadcast what your business is doing without interacting with your customer base.

Pay attention to how other brands engage with their customers on social media. It’s important to see how other brands respond to their customers on social media, because you can learn from this – pay attention to various strategies and how customers receive them, what actions could be seen as mistakes, and so on.  Maybe your ambition is to outdo your competition, but it’s good to look beyond your direct competitors and at the strategies that work for other companies generally.  Be innovative in your approach to how you do this, and you’ll likely gain more consumer traction.

Use giveaways generate customer traction, but don’t overload people with contests.  People will respond to a giveaway, and they’ll engage with you more on your social media pages if you give them free stuff.  But don’t overdo it – no one is going to participate in your hourly giveaways on Facebook after a certain point, because it gets boring and overly spammy.  It also makes you look desperate for publicity.

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Remember to make your social media presence accessible on mobile devices – These days, a large part of the population views Facebook and Twitter on their smartphone or tablet, not an actual computer.  That makes it a bad idea to try and design your pages and profiles in such a way that’s optimized for laptops, because what works on a laptop won’t necessarily work so well on an Android phone or the likes.

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