By now, even the most old-fashioned of businesses have come to see the need for a social media presence. However, with a combination of more and more brands using social media, platforms changing algorithms and a general lack of loyalty from today’s consumers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep a community engaged on social media.
The good news is that although difficult, it’s not impossible to keep and grow a brand following. There are a few things that can be done to combat this, but first we need to understand the extent of the engagement crisis.
Output V ROI
It seems that as more companies adopt social media, there’s a clear improvement in output and content for the customer, but not as much return on this in line with the amount of effort given. Whilst both the number of channels and volume of content are growing, the level of engagement has steadied or decreased.
The reasons for this vary across the social platforms, but for the most part it can be attributed to the following: content saturation, falling organic reach, and paid ads.
Overcoming the Obstacles
To combat these three culprits, we have to first of all understand the digital landscape. As this changes constantly over time, we must be able to adapt and move with this. Rigid strategies and formulas don’t work forever, even in a static environment, so it pays to keep your eye on consumer trends and follow where your customers are going.
For instance, Instagram now has a bigger active user base than Twitter, making the former a more popular destination. Yet depending on your brand, that may not be where your community or user base are conversing. It’s almost impossible for brands smaller than regular household names to master all available social media tools and appeal to everyone at every level. And really, you probably shouldn’t need to, depending on the product or service offered.
Paying for Prominence
Although the age of the free social media lunch is almost over, organic reach and growth isn’t completely dead. Of course social networks want to make money from brands, and that’s why they have monetised visibility across platforms. Whilst there’s no denying that this can be an effective way to reach people, it doesn’t really boost your engagement or brand loyalty with your current community.
Rather than paying for prominence, brands looking to keep an engaged and loyal community should focus on those followers/fans and what they already know about them. Assess what they like and what they don’t like, and create content that appeals to them. After all, most social media algorithms are based on content that is popular, or which members of your community have already shown an interest in, so by getting to know your customer well, your engagement levels should start to go up.
The best free and easy to use tool in social media engagement is simply listening. In order to effectively engage with your community, you need to be listening to what they are saying. Regularly posting content they can agree with, share and discuss is great but communication and relationship building is a two-way street. Are your fans or followers concerned about a particular facet of your product or service? Address the issue (on social media if possible) and ensure they remain a happy customer. Social media today is just as much about customer service as it is about brand building. With such high levels of transparency, it becomes easy to see when you are not responding to an issue, or failing to take control of a situation.
One type of marketing you can use to your advantage here is influencer marketing. We have previously stated the importance of using influencers to increase brand loyalty, following and, in some cases, conversions. Influencers are also particularly good at keeping your community engaged as they can create a starting point of discussion about your brand, by simply blogging or mentioning your products/services on social media. From there, you can join in the conversation and keep the community engaged and involved in your product.
If you want to know more about how to improve social media use for your business, please get in touch with Kyle on 0141 427 0727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org