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The Best and Worst Ways to Engage With Your Audience on Social Media

Each step you take into social media can offer new lessons and insights into how best to connect with your audience online. But there are some lessons you would rather not have to learn yourself! 

The Best Ways to Engage on Social Media

Even as best practices evolve along with platforms and user preferences, good audience engagement is built on firm standards of respect and meeting expectations. As stewards of business marketing and customer engagement, comprehending the subtleties of social media interaction is not just beneficial; it’s integral to fostering brand loyalty and achieving organizational success with an online brand.

Like many worthwhile pursuits, this one can be a challenge. Consider the following lessons before you start engaging with your audience online.

Interactive content draws eyes and clicks.

Think of your brand as an active participant rather than a performer. Starbucks offers a poignant example, asking for audience input with seasonal polls. In years past, their “Flav-off” competition pit new beverage flavors against one another as millions of fans joined sides and posted their support for a variety of delicious-sounding options.

For businesses and organizations, interactive content isn’t only about engagement; it’s a methodical approach to understand better and earn their buy-in on your brand.

Respond to Comments and Messages.

Timely responses play a pivotal role in the realm of social media. Glossier’s adept handling of customer inquiries exemplifies this. For businesses and organizations, responses transcend mere issue resolution; they are opportunities to nurture meaningful connections. Each comment or message is a thread in the fabric of a relationship with your audience.

Online reviews aren’t going anywhere. Brands that respond to negative feedback with well-timed solutions have the opportunity to demonstrate their customer service in a public way. Remember that users have access to your social media channels at all times, so don’t bite off more than you can chew when it comes to social media management.

User-Generated Content Elevates Your Audience.

Collaboration can strengthen a consumer relationship, as evidenced by GoPro’s reliance on User-Generated Content for marketing. Their product allows users to capture incredible video. Naturally, real video from users became a great way to market the camera. Using branded hashtags, GoPro has featured user-made videos on their social media feed to dramatic effect.

Businesses and organizations use UGC to encourage users to share their experiences. UGC transforms customers into advocates, fostering a community-driven brand narrative.

Seize Trending Opportunities.

Knowing what your audience is up to is a huge advantage on social media, as long as you’re willing to strike when the iron’s hot. Oreo’s timely tweet during a super bowl blackout garnered a lot of attention, all because they were clever and quick on the draw.

Being attuned to your audience is a nuanced art. Businesses and organizations should align with audience interests by monitoring trends. Strategic presence can give you a better return on your effort than just posting all the time.

The Worst Ways to Engage Your Social Media Audience

Automated responses can feel cold and lifeless.

While automation offers efficiency, businesses and organizations must exercise caution. Automated responses risk diluting the personal touch crucial for brand identity. Balancing automation with a personal touch is the key. 

Your audience won’t ignore negative feedback, so you can’t either.

Negative feedback isn’t always the end of a consumer story. In fact, it’s a chance for course correction. United Airlines caught some flack in 2017 after their Twitter account responded to public customer complaints by quoting company policy and linking to contract rules on their website. These responses were widely criticized as cold and tactless, and on social media, perception is everything.

To be fair, stories like this are often exaggerated and brands have strong options for winning back the trust and good favor of consumers. But the negative reaction to United Airlines’ communication strategy offers a free and valuable lesson for brands engaging with complaints online.

Don’t post so much. You’ll look desperate.

I decided to offer this lesson in the form of blunt advice, perhaps from an aunt or longtime friend. Consistent posting is absolutely essential for visibility. Social media platforms favor accounts that are active. But posting too much is a big problem.

How often should you post? Understand your audience’s appetite. Why do they follow you? If your brand produces lots of exciting, high-quality photo and video content, it may be best to post multiple times a day. Otherwise, it may be best to post once per day or even three to four times per week. Whatever you do, don’t just post for posting’s sake. 

Understand what your audience wants to see, define your marketing goals, create a plan and content strategy, and execute accordingly… it’s that easy!

In more ways than one, social media is about moderation. Bombarding the audience with excessive posts may lead some to unfollow your page. Businesses and organizations should focus on quality, ensuring each post contributes meaningfully to their content strategy.

Don’t pick fights you can’t win. Stick to your audience’s interests.

There’s actually a more succinct way to say this: Don’t pick fights (and keep it on-brand). Content that is potentially controversial or political in nature is probably not right for your brand. Not because you can’t have opinions, but because social media happens to be a pretty bad place to hash that stuff out and it might not be relevant to the consumer relationship!

That list of topics that might become controversial is, as always, ever-changing. But here’s the thing—if you talk about your products, your services, your people, your customers’ stories… You’re going to be fine. Work to understand your audience so you can speak their language and reflect their values.

When I worked for a company that sold motorsport gear, they posted about big racing events their audience cared about. Those posts drove engagement so ads and special offers were more likely to end up in their future feeds. If there was a controversy in the world of racing? Let’s let ESPN handle that.

Working to understand your audience on social media?

From interactive content to timely responses and user-generated content, the lessons from industry leaders underscore the importance of genuine connection. However, common pitfalls must be considered and avoided with care.

At Black Raven AFC, we specialize in crafting effective social media strategies. Whether you’re starting from scratch, seeking engaging campaigns, or need a little help fine-tuning your social media presence, our expertise ensures your brand resonates authentically. Reach out to us, and let’s navigate the world of social media together.

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