Research shows that positive engagements with a business on social media, especially Facebook, increase brand awareness while reinforcing customer trust and loyalty. But fostering an environment for conversations to occur isn’t easy; people do not want to hear about your products day in and day out, and unless they’re already viewing your company as an entity they can talk to, they aren’t going to interact with a slew of marketing posts.
Simply put, people are not on social media to view ads.
The trick? Develop a brand voice, and then find ways to get, and keep, a conversation flowing with your followers.
Getting the conversation started
When you start posting on social media, it can sometimes feel like you’re talking into a void. Posts get passed by with minimal likes, the share button is growing cobwebs and the comment section is one big, blank abyss.
Change this by taking your marketing hat off and getting a bit more personal.
Make your content fun
The people you’re targeting on social media don’t view their time on the platform as a job like you do; they’re there for fun, and they won’t engage with your more serious or sales-driven posts if you don’t give them other reasons to pay attention when you pop up on their feed. Get a little sassy, create random trivia posts, share funny memes that you can spin to fit your brand message and throw in a solid, timely joke every now and then.
- Type “humor” into Pinterest’s search bar and scan through the funny quotes and memes until you find something that fits your brand voice to share.
- Click that trending button on sites like Buzzfeed and save images and screenshots to share for fun (not commercial purposes) when the timing is right.
- Screenshot funny comments left by followers on your page, or by influencers in your niche, and click that share button.
Ask direct, thoughtful questions
One of your followers scrolls through their feed, stumbles upon your well-timed joke and giggles a bit.
Then they keep scrolling.
While that giggle is important, and makes them pay more attention to what you’re posting, it doesn’t necessarily give them a reason to comment. But questions do—by 100%, according to Kissmetrics. While questions don’t get the same level of likes and shares, they do get people talking, giving you a chance to talk back.
Specific, yes-or-no, true-or-false and either/or questions tend to get the most responses. If you’re looking for something more in-depth that makes it easier for you to engage, ask for opinions on specific things or events, make up quirky questions that relate to your brand, request tips or play a game of fill-in-the-blank.
Throw a contest
Contests are a great way to encourage engagement and get your posts shared to attract more followers. Pick a prize and then make the entry requirements a little more involved than “like/share this to enter!” to pique followers’ interest. Heyo (formerly Binkd) and Strutta, two social media promotion platforms, offer fantastic options to create unique, appealing contests.
- Give away your top-selling product, with the requirement being that followers comment with how they would use it in a Zombie apocalypse.
- Ask followers to list their top three products or services that you offer for a chance to win one of them.
- Request funny pictures of followers using your products, offering up a gift card for the submission with the most likes.
Don’t be afraid of emoticons
Research shows that posts with emoticons get 33% more comments, 33% more likes and 57% more shares than posts with just text. There are probably numerous reasons as to why, but it boils down to this: People don’t want to talk to a business, they want to talk to a person. And emoticons make your brand seem more personable.
- Instead of responding to a comment with quick note of thanks, throw a in there.
- Use two to three emojis in place of words when creating a post.
- Create an entire sentence out of emojis and have followers translate it. For example: 🚫😭💦🍼
Keeping the conversation flowing
You’ve successfully enticed followers to start engaging with your posts at a rapid pace. What do you do now?
Skim through the comments on every post and provide concise yet detailed answers to any honest questions that followers pose, even if they’re just shooting a question out there and not specifically asking your business. This demonstrates that you care, are knowledgeable in your field and that there’s a real person behind your logo.
Or have followers help out with answers
Show followers that you value their input and opinion by screenshotting the broader questions you receive and asking for feedback from your community. “Crowdsourcing for tips” is not only a great way to get a better feel for who your followers are and to cast yourself as relatable, helpful and human; but, it also encourages a flow of conversation in the comments section.
Acknowledge kind comments
You’ll have to deal with negative comments at some point, but always make sure to send out a quick “thanks,” heart emoji or similar acknowledgement when a follower tosses a little love out there. It takes minimal time, but encourages anyone who skims the comments to leave their own quick note.
As with all forms of customer engagement, you have to keep your social media posts varied, focusing mostly on content that encourages interactions with just a few product or service plugs mixed in. Get creative and test out ideas until you find the perfect ratio of engagement and marketing, then watch your brand awareness and customer trust soar.