Here’s the state of Social Media Engagement in 2016. We’re in the middle of a social revolution. There are more social media channels than ever. Businesses have doubled their follower counts since 2015 (Source: Forrester). And brands are pumping out more content than ever before.
But ROI is not increasing.
For the huge number of businesses who operate online these days, this spells big trouble.
Social media engagement is still an important part of our SEO services package. After all, you can’t be on social media and not tweet/post. Your business still needs an online presence. But you should have noticed that the normal social strategies are changing. Simply posting heaps of content just isn’t enough anymore.
How do you fix this? How do you get your business back on track, connect with customers, and, most importantly, get them to buy?
Let SEO Inc. show you the way.
Why Your Social Media Engagement Sucks (And Why It Isn’t Your Fault)
Before we go into how you should use social to boost your business, you have to learn the context first. Go ahead and skip to the later sections if you want. But gaining a better understanding of today’s social landscape is definitely a smart move.
One of the main problems with social media engagement in 2016 is that there are so many channels. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat… The list goes on and on. People are on them every day, and for many businesses social media is their main form of reputation management. But social media in 2016 isn’t what it looked like six years ago. Heck, social media today doesn’t look the way it did yesterday. And things are changing every day, from how Timelines sort posts to the best social media image dimensions.
The problem is that social media is like search engine optimization—it’s always evolving. Which isn’t really a problem, per se. It’s a gradually changing process that happens naturally over time. And you can’t stop it. This process inevitably means the social sites of today may not be the sites of tomorrow.
Don’t panic. Facebook and Twitter, inarguably the two biggest social media sites, are still doing well. But it’s only a matter of time before they fall in favor of the next hot thing. Remember Myspace? Xanga? Friendster? Get your yuks out now, because these used to be the top dogs in their day. Well, maybe not all of them. But you get the idea.
The point is that at one time, a lot of people were creating and sharing content on these sites. And after a while, they weren’t anymore. And no amount of content you create can stop that.
There is some good news. Social sites are committed to keeping users on their platforms. Features like autoplaying videos, animated GIFs, “shop now” Instagram buttons, and Facebook Instant Articles are all keeping users invested in their social site of choice. Now it’s up to you to take advantage of it.
Here’s how you can increase engagement on your social media channels.
Decide Which Social Channels to Stay On
The expectation that you need to be on every social site is just plain wrong. You’ve seen how social media sites are forever rising and falling. Don’t fight it, because that is a battle you will not win.
What you need to do is choose your best social sites and stick to ‘em.
That’s right. Instead of trying to keep pace with all the new Snapchats and Instagrams, just stay on the platforms with your most engaged followers. Because, generally speaking, people are fickle these days. They hold the world in their smartphones—multiple worlds, even. They bounce around, from app to app and site to site, clicking on whatever catches their fancy. And then ditching it in favor of the next interesting tidbit.
We know what you’re thinking: “But if I make an account for every social site, and post even a little bit, someone is bound to see it!” After all, the more people bouncing around, the greater the chance they’ll see your posts, right?
Wrong. The key is to be active on the sites where people will actually care. You need a focused social media engagement strategy, not some in-vain, shooting-in-the-dark-strategy. So rather than shotgunning your brand all across the web, make your presence known on just a few. And we mean really make it known. Just be careful—if you focus on too many social sites, you’ll spread your brand too thin.
For example: Say you run the social for an insurance agency. You have a decent amount of followers on your Twitter and Facebook profiles. Users don’t say much, but occasionally you’ll see some traction from the odd post or two. But lately you’ve been hearing about this newfangled Pinterest everyone seems to be using. And now you’re wondering how you can get a piece of that action.
Don’t jump right into it—think about if you can really benefit from being on that platform. Will the needed effort to build an audience and engage with them on a daily basis outweigh the expected conversion and click-through rates? If so, that’s a platform you shouldn’t bother with.
You can and should check out the new social sites that come up. Do not by any means ignore the new, shiny stuff that comes out. Check it out and see if it’s a good fit for your brand. And if it’s not, fall back to your reliable platforms.
Look at it this way: Are all social media sites essential for every business? No, of course not. Your business won’t exactly benefit from Instagram if your products or services aren’t suited to the kinds of users who visit that platform. Of course, there are ways you can be visual even when your product isn’t. But that takes a certain kind of creativity, something only true gurus of social media optimization can achieve.
Which brings us to our second way to boost social engagement…
Build Focused, Customer-Centric Content
So you’ve determined which of your existing social channels you’ll focus on. And you’ve identified what new channels you may want to branch out to. Now all you need to do is dial up your posts to 11.
Boiled down, the idea is this: Your social media posts need to speak to your existing followers.
You have followers for a reason. Maybe they had a good experience with your business, or they’ve liked what you’ve posted in the past. And even though they aren’t saying much now doesn’t mean they aren’t listening. You need to figure out what made them stay in the first place. Then, continue to do that.
Creating a customer profile can help you figure out just what to say.
For example, for your insurance agency, think of what someone looking for insurance would want to see. You might try posting statistics that show how much money they’ll save with the right policy. Or, you could try to startle your users with a picture of a car with a minor dent and a $2000 repair bill, saying, “Is your insurance premium enough?”
Your message will depend on your audience. You could play the content guessing game. Or you can read about what kind of content actually works. The kind of content you post will depend on whether you’re mainly B2B or B2C. It’ll take time to tweak it just right, but if you keep at it, you should see some increased engagement. And it’ll be the kind of social engagement that matters—the kind that gets people buying.
We say “should” only because nothing is for sure. There’s no guarantee you’ll pick up on the right message. There’s a lot of content flying around right now. You have to make yours stand out far, far above the rest.
So how do you do it? How do you deliver social media engagement like a rock star?
How to Seem Like You’re a Socializing Pro
After reading all this, you now know two unfortunate truths:
- Customers are harder to reach on social media than ever
- You can’t future-proof your social presence
Things are changing even now. As of this writing, Instagram and newcomer Snapchat are on the rise. Twitter is shaking things up for its longtime user base, and Facebook is letting users react to posts in a whole new way for the first time ever. How do you juggle these new and emerging social sites with the changes of the old ones? How do you become a social master to drive users, engagement, and ROI?
Maybe you don’t have to. Instead, contact us and let our social media experts take on the colossal task of building you a successful social media platform. We at SEO Inc. have seen the rise and fall of many social sites, but we always stay on top of the latest social media engagement strategies.
Whether you need hired help to build a really knockout social ad campaign, or a specialized team to post frequent, engaging content—SEO Inc. is your full-service solution.
Let’s get social!