Question: How can we increase our return on our social media efforts? We are constantly finding and sharing great content for our audience, but we are seeking to build a more loyal community. Any ideas?
The first question you ask is a whopper and while I would love to answer that here, I think that question would need to be answered by a whole series of articles starting from defining strategy to developing tacts to measurement and agility. So while I’m not ignoring it, let’s jump to the second part of the question about building a more loyal community. If you follow this advice, you may find your returns increase by default. (However, I still recommend a full end to end strategy).
Over the past couple of years what I have noticed is a massive swing toward brands becoming publishers. This started with the Red Bull’s and American Express, but the concept has filtered its way down to micro-brands and B2B companies that many wouldn’t typically think would benefit from such a strategy. However, in a world where people are doing their research online, the gap between big and small and B2B and B2C have shrunk. Today we just have people, and those people are consumers, influencers and social beings that impact brand success online.
So, with that in mind, if you are looking to build community, the next tactic is actually going back to an old tactic; that being a little more conversation.
With so many brands just littering the social sites with links to content (relevant or not), I have actually been watching a migration back toward more conversation. People are growing weary of all of the content that is out there and they are starting to look for things to be better contextualized and also for brands that are a little bit more “Human.”
Here is what we recommend.
- Add Context: Link dropping has lost its mojo. With every brand on the planet dropping links, take the time to tell your audience why you are sharing content and why it is relevant to them. These are precious minutes and seconds that can yield much higher engagement rates.
- Have Conversations: Try to actually start and finish a conversation. I can’t tell you how many times I have attempted to engage with a brands content only to get crickets. So they shared something, I responded and they never came back to take the relationship to the next level?
- Social Employees: Having employees who are social can be a huge add for most brands. While I don’t have hard evidence in front of me, I do believe that people prefer to engage with people rather than brands themselves. There is something about talking to a logo that isn’t the same as talking to a person. Either way, brands that encourage social employees create stronger communities than those who do not.
The next wave of social business will be rooted in conversation and context between people. How is your brand preparing to get closer to your customers and prospects online in the coming years?
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