The last entry in our #GiftYourBusiness series focuses on giving your business the gift of engagement. While social media engagement does not necessarily transcend into sales or profit, an engaged audience is much more likely to pay attention to what you are saying. They are more likely to share what you offer with others. It builds the Like, Know, Trust that is so imperative in social media and is really the standard to measure whether or not social media is having a positive impact on your business. We all know that engagement is the goal for our posts – regardless of platform. Here are some concepts to consider when it comes to increasing engagement online.
Each company needs an established brand presence, especially when it comes to their interactions online. Branding helps the audience understand you, your business, and what you have to offer. Conflicting or undeveloped messages leave the audience confused and disengaged. If your branding has been neglected, the first step is to learn more about what branding is, what your brand should be, and how to best exude your brand on the web.
Those with an established brand concept should turn their attention to building brand advocates. A brand advocate knows nearly as much about your brand as you do and they are passionate about sharing it with others. A brand advocate is like having a #1 fan who does marketing for you simply because they desire to share your message with their world. Word of mouth, referrals, and free online promotion are the valuable side benefits of developing brand advocates.
About Me Page
What many businesses have discovered while paying attention to their Google Analytics, is that an overwhelming number of their website hits are due to their About Me page. This is the page potential followers and customers go to find out more about a brand, an individual, or a company. Way before they get to the point of deciding whether or not what you offer fits what they need, they want to find out more about YOU!
The scary reality about this is that most About Me pages are done as an afterthought. They are boring, un-inspiring and often don’t convey the proper message to people in order to get them interested.
Think about a novel. How important are those first two sentences? How many people open up a book to check out the hook before deciding whether or not to read it? Your About Me page is your opening, and if it lacks the right hook – you are hemorrhaging attention.
Building a Tribe
While having brand advocates is fantastic, having a community built around them and other followers of your brand is THE way to create engagement that lasts. Not only does it last longer, often it can work even in your absence. Seth Godin, The Marketing Guru, wrote a whole book on finding and building your own tribe.
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interested and a way to communicate.”
Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us
First, you have to find your tribe. This means understanding your target audience. It also means doing those ideal avatar exercises to discover who your ideal tribe member is.
Then you have to discover a way to not only communicate with them – you already do that with your newsletter, website, and social media channels – but a way they can interact with one another. This could mean a Facebook group, regular blab streaming, LinkedIn group, online forum, or some other avenue of communication. It might mean doing some investigation to understand where your avatars hang out online and then develop a communication channel to match where they already hang out.
Your Community as a Resource
Now that you have proper branding, your website is working for you, there are brand advocates and a tribe – it is important to realize what a wealth of information that is for your business. To keep engagement thriving and to continue developing products that maintain your tribe’s level of interest, regularly tuning in to what they want is essential. Assuming that what you are offering is what they want is the wrong way to go. Develop regular surveys, opportunities for commenting, and other ways to pick their brains. Don’t drop the ball here – track and analysis this information. You may find that it leads your business to places you would not have considered on your own. That, in turn, will keep your audience interested and engaged.
We all do it – we get so involved with the projects and the tasks that we lose the strategy. You know you need engagement but have you considered how to increase it and really make it work for you? Developing an environment where followers can more easily become advocates and tribe members is such a valuable investment of time and energy. Paying for ads and other marketing opportunities will attract more attention, but it doesn’t keep it. Only the right type of engagement possibilities will ensure that people stick around and then become supporters of your message.
Have a wonderful New Year and #BeAwesome today and every other day!
~ Social Media is changing the way people do business. Don't get left behind ~
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Hollie Clere, of The Social Media Advisor is a "#BeAwesome" Developer, Social Media Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn,Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+ , YouTube,Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.
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