Social engagement is all about enticing consumers to stay tuned in to what your brand is doing – and advanced social engagement tactics keep them coming back for more. To do that you’ve got to always offer something fresh – so your audience is never bored – while making sure the focus is on what they care about most.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, here are some advanced tactics to try.
Be prepared so luck can find you
By definition, once-in-a-lifetime social “moments” are rare and unexpected. But if you track trends in real-time, you can capitalize on opportunities when they present.
Oreo and Arby’s were both quick on the draw when the lights when out during the Super Bowl, and when Pharell made a Grammys fashion statement. And both were the envy of every other brand on their respective nights.
The beauty of understanding how to respond to such moments is you put yourself in front of an audience you might never had had otherwise. That’s everything.
Ask and you shall receive
It sounds simple, but too many brands neglect to simply tell consumers what they want them to do.
A call to action doesn’t have to be complicated – like signing up for a Netflix account, for example. A directive to like, comment, or share can be enough to make those things happen.
Link to tweet: https://twitter.com/WholeFoods/status/915622414284976128
And the more people interact with your posts, the more those posts bust through pesky social algorithms and are seen by others. How many others? Ask McDonalds . . .
Don’t over-promise and under-deliver
McDonalds recently had one of those magical marketing moments that every company dreams of – and they blew it. Big.
The hit TV show Rick & Morty made McDonalds’ discontinued Szechuan dipping sauce the most sought after condiment on the planet, turning it into “a major fandom meme, one that included bombarding McDonald’s with requests to bring back the sauce, and snapping up jars of old sauce from 1998 for outrageous prices on Ebay — including a single packet that sold for almost $15,000.”
So McDonalds did what any smart company would: they brought it back. Only . . they didn’t bring back enough.
Fast forward to #SzechuanSauce Day and we see loyal fans lining up the night before, in scenes rivaling the next iPhone release or Black Friday shopping. The doors open. Fans rush in! And they’re promptly disappointed. Most stores had very limited supplies. Some stores didn’t have any – nor did they have any idea the promotion was even taking place!
People start yelling, jumping on tables, protesting inside and in front of the stores. Kids were crying. Online and IRL explode in ways that only superfans can. Complete. Chaotic. Nightmare.
McDonalds folks are pros though and rally, realizing they need to make this right for said superfans:
Link to tweet: https://twitter.com/McDonalds/status/917169818725384192
Let’s hope they do! Along with valuable lessons about accurately gauging target audience size and expectations, they’re undoubtedly realizing this kind of marketing can keep on giving for years to come, if they play it right.
Replay your greatest hits
Use social analytics to know which posts are most loved by your audience – and share them again periodically. Roll out the same post over a few days on varying social networks, or repost a few weeks later.
Regularly reshare evergreen content – with an update or twist if you like – and remind your followers why they love you. Just as they come back to rewatch favorite seasons of classic TV shows, they’ll come back to your best content over and over.
Video is a crucial content type for all brands – and there are several ways to use it.
Social networks like Instagram and Snapchat use short, looped videos, which can be incorporated into larger stories – something Facebook has also recently added.
Facebook also offers live streaming video and the option for longer video uploads as well.
And of course there’s YouTube — the home base for many brands’ video content, which can be shared anywhere.
Use your social listening tools to discern the video content your audience wants most: entertainment, how-to, behind-the-scenes, etc. Use analytics to nail down the sweet spot for length and channel as well.
If you don’t want to create your own video content, ask your audience to make some. Hold a contest, or offer some other incentive to get them to play along with testimonials, spoofs of your TV show, fashion shows or unboxings of your apparel or makeup – whatever you can think of!
Maybe someone talking about your product would be the next Chewbacca Mom.
Be a problem solver – or even a hero
Engagement is always better when it’s not about your brand or products – but about human connection and camaraderie. Taking care of customers when there is a problem is baseline, but you can take things even further.
Let your sentiment analysis lead you toward causes your audience cares most about, and donate to them, or raise money via a percentage of sales, etc. Show that you have a bigger place in the world than simply as a business with a bottom line.
You don’t have to take a boat and rescue hurricane victims – but if you did that you’d be as amazing as the Houston Chick-fil-A. And you’d get people talking as a bonus.
Give ’em what they want
Advanced social engagement doesn’t require extra skills or information, really. It’s about taking the information on hand and using it to serve your customers and their experience at all moments.
Whether that’s choosing an amazing headline (with a great payoff) they can’t help but be drawn to, or putting consumers in the spotlight by broadcasting their tweets in the middle of Times Square, it has to be about them.
When you get them talking about their favorite subject – themselves – consumers feel like you really care. That’s what makes them care back. So keep the lines of communication open, and experiment with all the ways you can keep them interested. They’ll always let you know when you’re on track – and when you’re not.
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Image from Spirit Fire