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The 5 R’s of Social Media Engagement

We’ve talked a lot recently about the buyer’s journey and how to engage with your buyer throughout, and one of the simplest, most cost-effective ways to do this is via social media. But, as with any marketing initiative, taking the wrong approach to social media marketing can do more harm than good. Let’s take a look at a few best practices for engaging with your audience through social channels:

Remain Neutral.

Ok, so remaining completely product neutral on social media is a tall order, but do be mindful that social media outlets are a great opportunity to get your name out there as a thought leader — not to pack your follower’s feeds with endless pitches for your product. If you use social media strictly for self-promotion, you risk losing your credibility as a thought leader within your industry, so be sure to talk about non product-specific industry issues as well. If you see someone Tweet about a problem for which your product would be the perfect remedy, point them in the direction of a non-biased industry expert. This communicates that providing prospects with information is your first priority and helps to establish trust.

Respond.

Sounds pretty obvious, right? But it’s something that marketers too often forget: social media is a dialogue, not a monologue. Look for opportunities to interact with clients and prospects whenever possible: follow them back, thank them when they “reTweet” or “favorite” your Tweet, and always respond to both positive and negative feedback. Also consider setting up a search trend on your name as well as key terms in your industry. Responding to a Tweet from a client with a concern about your product is impressive; responding to a question or concern without being directly addressed is even more impactful.

Relate.  

Your social channels provide your business with an important opportunity to be human and relatable, and show your customers that you’re listening — and this means admitting when you’re wrong. Social gives consumers a chance to vent their frustrations with a brand, but it provides businesses the opportunity to turn this experience from a negative one to a positive one by handling it transparently. Reminding your followers that there are people behind your brand who are working on their issue allows them to relate, and greatly increases the likelihood that they’ll be patient (and even sympathetic) when issues arise.

Relax.  

Speaking of showing off your human side, remember that social media marketing is just that: social. Don’t be afraid to add a little life and fun to your posts. Social media is a great opportunity to show off your company culture and give your company a more personable feel. Leave the dry, factual writing to press releases and white papers and add some personality to set your company apart. Just be careful that your social media activity is consistent with the personality of your brand.

Report.

Following the best practices above should greatly increase engagement levels on your social channels, but there’s no way to be certain unless you’re measuring your success. Even if you don’t have the budget to invest in powerful social monitoring tools like Radian6, you can still start tracking simple metrics to get a sense of how your engagement levels are changing over time (see Making Social Media Measurable: A Beginner’s Guide, for more information). Experiment with different factors, like adding images to your Tweets and switching up your messaging, to see how these changes affect how followers engage with your posts.

What are some other best practices for engaging with prospects and customers on social media? We’d love to hear from you in our comments section!

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