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30 May 2014

A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Engagement

Posted on May 30, 2014 by

If it’s been said once, it’s been said a million times: if you’re not online, you’re offline. Well, something along those lines anyway.

Seven years ago brands that had a presence on Twitter and Facebook led the new digital movement, viewed by their peers as forerunners pioneering this new, innovative and edgy technology.

Skip forward to today, with a plethora of social media platforms for brands to communicate to consumers on, and billion dollar deals for social media apps, it’s clear to see that traditional ways of communicating are becoming more and more passé.

Not that there is anything wrong with traditional communication, but for any brands that haven’t incorporated social media correctly they run the risk of being left behind, unable to embrace their consumers’ behaviours and needs to communicate to them in an effective way.

What was once innovative has now become the norm. But that’s not new news; certainly to marketing professionals who have been driving changes in social media interaction with consumers for years. It’s not just the fact that businesses need to adapt their communication strategies to implement social media; it’s the fact that, in their haste, they are doing it incorrectly – simply broadcasting messages to an uninterested audience, which is of little value to anyone.

So how can brands who are relatively new to social media implement an effective social media campaign that will deliver a meaningful return on campaign activities and sales? Well firstly, it’s all about driving conversations and encouraging engagement with consumers on social media platforms that can, in turn, lead to building an online community of brand adorers, resulting in sales.

But just like in person, true relationships on social media take time to build over the long term. But once you have established a relationship with your audience on your chosen social media platform, you can start to build brand loyalty through meaningful engagement.

Admittedly it’s easier said than done, but when it comes to interacting with your audience and building a relationship with them; ultimately it’s about the five key points below.

Here’s our beginner’s guide to creating meaningful engagement online:

  • Know your audience – Understand who your audience is, and what your audience’s passions, needs and behaviours are
  • Add value – create content and post updates relevant to your audience that will inform them in easily digestible chunks – such as videos, images, memes and links to articles or blog posts
  • Quality not quantity – only post when you have something to say or show. Ask yourself ‘does anyone care about this’, otherwise you run the risk of being disruptive, with your updates viewed as plain advertising, offering little value to your audience and weakening your relationship
  • Personalise – use language you would use if you were speaking to someone face to face. Speak in first person and use simple language that can be understood by any audience, refraining from using jargon
  • Give your brand a voice – More importantly, give your brand personality. Most brands will have a cemented ‘tone of voice’. This gives you licence to go out and speak to consumers in the correct way. If you’re a premium British brand, emphasise your USP with language and phrases that reflect your Britishness. By personifying your brand you will be more approachable, and more than likely encourage heightened levels of engagement with your audience

When you’re starting out, it’s important to understand that social media users want to engage with others online, that’s why they have social media accounts in the first instance. Most people use platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to share experiences and stay in touch with friends, or even to create new relationships – all with the aim to engage in social communication with their peers. When we share our discoveries online we have the expectation that we will engage in conversations with others, be it people or brands, receiving gratification that what we have to say is relevant, basically fuelling our need to feel loved and popular.

Overtime, brands that encourage positive interaction, using the insights above, are more likely to achieve higher levels of engagement with audiences. If you’d like to have a conversation on how you or your business can heighten its engagement with your audience, drop us a line on hello@aberfield.com.

 

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