Engaging Customers with Social Media

Daniel Coxon

Intern

Social media dominates people’s online interactions everyday. It’s in the hands of those who pass you by on the street. It’s glued to the eyes of bowing heads on public transport. It’s even used by your mother who shares that embarrassing picture of you as a baby. With this level of dominance, businesses need to to harness this power to its full potential to stay relevant.

Increased Exposure and Brand Awareness

Social media is an extremely powerful means of communication that when taken full advantage of can greatly increase awareness of your brand or business. Just like anything else in life though, it needs to be used correctly in order for it to be successful. Just as you need to know your business audience, you need to know your social media audience. Understanding your target market in aspects such as age group or even gender increases the chance of them seeing your business online. Using the right platform is key. There is no point in having the world’s best Linkedin profile if all of your potential customers are teenagers and do all of their media consumption on Instagram.

Which platform should a business use?

Some businesses work better on certain social sites than others, but in general a combination of all the most popular platforms should be used. This way you can reach more people with your content and cater for those people who don’t use one type of platform but do use another. How a person uses these platforms should provide guidance to how a business should use them, but with some limitations. Those embarrassing baby photos are more appropriate to an individual’s profile than to a business one.

Facebook is a casual hangout where people go to chat and and do some light consumption of media. This should be kept in mind when using it to promote your business so your tone should be light and friendly.

Twitter is based around interaction with followers and revolves heavily around conversation. Be sure to follow people from your industry and they are more than likely going to follow back. It’s a community so don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to people.

Linkedin is more of a business focused platform. It can be thought of as an online CV where people can come and check out your work portfolio and your resume. This should be reflected in your writing style and tone when you are posting to LinkedIn and also in your biography.

Woman on phone looking at Facebook

Content

Once a business has figured out who their audience is, and where they are, it’s time to start thinking about posts. Engagement is a big factor when uploading content, so your followers should never be overwhelmed by blatant advertisements or promotions about your business. According to Chris Litster, the ‘one-in-seven rule’ should be followed to prevent this from happening, “this rule is where only one of every seven posts overtly promotes your business.

The remaining six should be focused on sharing valuable content, including posts from the community”. These ‘in between’ uploads are the perfect opportunity to give your brand some personality and connect with your audience in a different way. Start conversations by posting questions with a relevant edge but still relating to your industry, not only will this spark some activity and generate organic traffic, it will give an insight into the opinions of your potential customers.

Scheduling

So, after all that hard work of finding your audience, getting their attention and posting content that retains it, it would all be for nothing if your users aren’t online when you post. All of your uploads should be scheduled for optimum times throughout the day, where there are spikes in online traffic, to maximise their reach and engagement. This way there is a higher chance that your post will be seen and interacted with. Posting at times when nobody is online would just lead to wasted content that falls to the wayside and disappointment when tracking your online activity.

A simple Google search will give you an idea as to what the best times are to post to Twitter and all of your other social media platforms. Studies have shown that the best times to post to Twitter are between 12pm and 3pm on weekdays. For Linkedin the best times are said to be between Tuesday and Thursday either early morning, lunchtime or early evening. Facebook posts perform best when posted later in the week between 1pm and 4pm.

Analytics

Speaking of tracking your activity, keeping track of what’s working and what isn’t is key when it comes to a successful social media strategy. Success can be measured through analytics, either through useful tools such as Google Analytics or through tools built into the platform you are using. This will give a great understanding of what strategies are working for you and which ones you can abandon all together, and as Peter Drucker says, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all”.

To fully harness the power of social media, a business should also consider having its own blog. The advantages of this were covered by us in a previous blog post: Blogging is Your Business.

Here at Graphic Mint we utilise all of the social media platforms mentioned above. You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin.