This guest post by our friends at Toronto social media marketing company Spark Boutik lays down the rules to follow in order to truly engage your audience through social media.
1. Code of Conduct
Before you really get started with engagement, establish a code of conduct. Whoever you leave in charge of your brand’s social media accounts needs to embody the brand’s vision. Even so, they must adhere to certain rules and regulations to protect the brand’s reputation. For example, no swearing.
2. Be Authentic
This is an overused word among social marketing professionals. If you have to consciously try to be authentic, you’re not fooling anyone. The goal is to sound like a relatable person, not a corporate grouch.
3. Spark Conversation
Step one is sparking conversations. If you’re stuck, try asking a question, posting an interesting picture or tweeting a surprising statistic. Think of various ways to get your fan base talking about something relevant to your brand or industry.
4. Maintain Conversations
What good is sparking conversations if they only last a couple minutes? The idea here is to keep the proverbial flame burning. There should be constant engagement, so keep a close eye on your streams and stoke the fire when you need to.
5. Identify Influencers
Think of ten influencers in your industry right now. If you’re in the cooking industry, think bakers. If you’re in the fitness industry, think personal trainers. Build your list beyond the first ten and make it your personal mission to reach out to each one.
6. Get Involved
Creating and maintaining your own conversations is only half the battle. The other half is getting involved in conversations that you didn’t initiate. Twitter chats are a fun and easy way to do just that. Find one that’s relevant to your brand and join in!
7. RT and Like
Being retweeted and getting a ‘Like’ is exciting. Everyone likes to see that little boost of approval. So, use those two little letters and one little button to show your followers that you care. RT or ‘Like’ your fan base when they say something you like. Just remember to use “RT” instead of the Twitter retweet button.
8. Monitor the Streams
Social media doesn’t sleep. It’s important that you’re monitoring and interacting with your social media streams often. Use a management tool like HootSuite to keep track of everything. Be sure to add streams that track keywords relevant to your brand and industry.
9. Don’t Sell
Would you go to a party with your closest friends and spend the entire time trying to convince them to buy your product? No. Treat social media as a hangout session with your friends. You should not be focused on selling your product. Instead, focus on establishing relationships, creating brand advocates and sending traffic to your landing page (but don’t be too forward).
10. Provide Value
The key to social media success is obvious and, yet, extremely overlooked. You need to create value for your fan base. Whether you’re hosting a giveaway, providing killer blog content or initiating awesome conversations, be sure the value you offer is real and apparent.
11. Build Community
Social marketing is not lived campaign to campaign. It is about investing the time and energy into gradually building a solid community and a proud fan base. If you’re focusing on the short-term, social media engagement won’t be much help to you.
12. Be Consistent
Like all forms of marketing, social marketing requires consistent messaging. Having more than one voice on your social media accounts is fine, but be sure they share the same attitudes and vision. All of your social marketing efforts should sync up with your brand’s reputation and identity.
13. Don’t Hate
Don’t be a hater. And by that, we mean don’t play favourites or ignore anyone. Influencers and people with high Klout scores are great, but don’t leave anyone out. Respond to everything that comes your way (and in a timely manner). No one should feel overlooked or underappreciated!