Social media today is vastly different than it was 10 years ago. It’s even pretty different than it was 6 months ago. That’s because algorithms, platforms, and people change.
So, how can you guarantee success when the digital landscape is constantly shifting around you? While success may never be a guarantee, there is one thing you can do to give you a fighting chance: engage your audience.
No matter what platform you’re on, the one unifying purpose that brings everyone there is included in the term “social media.” People flock to social media to be social. They want to engage with others, share their thoughts, and have meaningful conversations. Here are five ways you can start engaging with your social media audience.
1. Ask Questions
A common mistake that social media marketers make is failing to ask questions. We often assume that if someone follows our page, they must want to know what WE think. In fact, they come for the opposite reason. They want to be engaged by us.
Think of someone you know that seems to only like to talk about themself. Do you enjoy spending time with that person or would you prefer to spend time with someone who asks you questions and genuinely cares what you think? Most people prefer the latter.
When writing post copy or responding to comments, think of interesting questions you could ask. Maybe you’re looking for ideas for a new flavor of ice cream. Maybe you want to hear about their favorite stories with Dad for Father’s Day. Anything you can think of that will get people talking with you will also get them talking about you.
2. Use Emojis
Written text is a tough medium to convey emotions with, especially in short doses. Even if you believe your words are clear and simple, they can easily be misinterpreted. A single exclamation point can indicate anything from excitement to anger to surprise! If you’re going to spend the time cultivating relationships with your followers, why not be as clear as possible?
Emojis give you the opportunity to visualize a plethora of different emotions in your message. Sure, they can be overly cutesy sometimes and a little annoying if overdone. Just be judicious in your usage and they can become a powerful tool for audience engagement.
3. GIF, GIF, GIF!
One of my favorite ways to engage with followers is through GIFs. They’re eye-catching, often humorous, and a whole lot of fun. I’ve found that when I use a well-thought-out GIF at just the right moment, my engagement gets a boost.
Because GIFs are often snippets of other media, they provide the opportunity for inside jokes with your followers. If you notice a commenter has made an image of Inigo Montoya their profile picture, it may be a good idea to respond to that comment with a GIF from “The Princess Bride.” This doesn’t just get a laugh, it makes your business relatable and human.
Another great benefit of GIFs is that it offers you that chance to be humorous. Not everyone is good at coming up with snappy wordplay and witty jokes off the top of their head. In fact, brands can get into a lot of PR trouble if they make the wrong joke. With a GIF, you’re borrowing someone else’s (likely tried and true) humor and getting in on the joke.
4. Broadcast Live
Live videos are a great tool for any business wanting to engage. It creates a forum for suggestions, questions, comments, and other congenial interactions between brands and their followers that’s invaluable. Real-time responses and a feeling of genuineness are what draw users to these videos and it’s no wonder that they’re taking over as the most popular post type on many major platforms.
The best part about them is, you don’t have to be an experienced videographer to shoot one. Most platforms have a simple interface that will allow you to broadcast at the tap of a screen. Just pull out your smart phone and start a conversation.
5. Be Prepared
Perhaps the most important advice I can give is to be prepared. When the moment comes, are you ready to engage with a follower who engages with you? Here are some suggestions to get yourself prepared.
First, build up your content bank. Regularly fill it with GIFs and photos that you can share quickly in various situations.
Next, Write the ready-to-go responses to frequently asked questions. Answer the same question multiple times in different ways and keep those answers handy. Then, when you get the inevitable question, you can answer right away without giving the same templated response every time.
Finally, invest in social media management tools. When you have multiple social media accounts across various online platforms, it can be tough to respond to everything. If you don’t currently use a software platform that lets you moderate all of your social accounts in one place, then you should start.
With a platform like Lava Surf, you’ll not only be able to post, schedule, and boost your content, you’ll also be able to bring all of your social accounts into one moderation dashboard. Instead of going to multiple web pages and signing into multiple accounts, you’ll save valuable time by logging into one single online platform.