What can brands do better on social media, to truly connect and engage consumers?
I think that it starts with brands recognizing that consumers are actual people. Overall, I think the tendency is for brands to still look at social media as another marketing channel where we just get to tell our audience all about our products or how cool we are. While we are starting to see a slight shift away from that mindset, most brands are still treating social media as a digital billboard or a mobile print ad. The first step in engagement is to stop looking at social only as a sales tool.
I have long agreed with the quote from Craig Davis where he said “We have to stop interrupting what people are interested in, and be what people are interested in.” When a consumer follows a Facebook page or a Twitter account and all they see are posts that say “buy this” or “do this” or “look how great our company is” they will tune you out.
Here’s an example… if you are an insurance company, what you sell is insurance for people’s homes or cars or lives. But the name of your company probably tells people what you sell, so you don’t need to have a profile full of posts talking about all the services you have available to purchase. At that point you are just interrupting what people care about and they will not engage with you. On the other hand, what people who need insurance care about is the safety of their home, car and family. They care about how to care for those things well. So a profile full of tips for those things or quick videos from the agents on their gardening tips then becomes the thing their consumers are interested in. It makes the company more relatable and encourages people to engage. The ROI is that your consumers then share your content. Stories are created because they comment on it. Your consumer’s community gets to see your business because you have engaged your audience enough that they become advocates.
A few other quick ways to engage better?
- Make answering your consumers a priority.
- Recognize that people connect to people, and not to brand machines. Create content accordingly.
- Remember that social was always meant to be about connecting and not about selling. Use it to build your community of support.
As brands continue to put the human element back in and post things their community and consumers care about, the engagement comes as a natural bi-product. It’s time for us all to do better at that.
As Vice President of Client Services for Marketing Support Network, Meghan helps clients grow their brand. She oversees the Inbound Call Center team, as well as the Digital Marketing Team.
Follow: LinkedIn | Twitter