10 killer tips on how to engage with your audience online

If there is one word that encapsulates modern marketing it’s ‘engagement’. It’s what PR experts constantly bang on about, and what all businesses want to achieve with their customers.

With the rise of social media, engagement has never been more important. The number of users on social media in 2018 was a whopping 3.196 billion. That’s nearly half of the world’s population. You only need to engage with 0.5% of that figure to reach in excess of 1.5 million people. That’s a lot of potential customers.

What exactly is engagement?

Just as getting engaged to your partner is a commitment to marriage and a life-long relationship, engaged customers will develop a loyalty to your brand.

By building relationships with your audience, rather than aiming for a casual fling, you will gain their trust. This will enable you to guide them to take required actions, such as purchasing, signing up, or filling in their customer details.

On social media, engagement is measured with clicks, impressions, profile views, likes and shares. The more your audience engages with your social content, the more likely they are to trust your brand.

So how can you achieve the holy grail of social media marketing? Here are our top 10 tips on how to engage with your online audience.

  1. Invest in old-fashioned courting

Like marriage, social media engagement isn’t about hook-ups; it’s a serious, relationship. As such, it takes dedication, commitment and the ability to adapt, to ensure your audience is happy for years to come. Don’t expect instant results, but the long-term benefits are worth the wait.

  1. Develop social media personas

Developing a hypothetical profile of your ideal audience on social media will help you understand your potential customers’ needs, pain points, challenges, goals, demographics and interests.

Your customer might be a 45-year-old woman called Jill, who works in admin, has one horse, two kids, and a dog. She loves spending time with her horse, but struggles to juggle everything. She mainly hacks, but does some flatwork and sponsored rides. She would like to improve her confidence.

Understanding who Jill is will help you understand how to communicate with her, and the types of posts and content that will engage her.

  1. Join social media groups

Social media groups are great places to ‘meet’ potential customers, engage with those you already have, and promote your brand ­– if done correctly.

Make sure you do your research and identify the groups that are relevant to your market and audience. And don’t be in a rush to post too soon – take time to get to know the tone of voice used and the comments made.

By slowly easing yourself into the group you will develop a better understanding of the dynamics of the group, enabling you to engage with users and increase your followers.

  1. Create your own social media group

As well as joining relevant social media groups it’s a good idea to create your own. Creating a community for your audience, and inviting industry influencers and prospective customers to join in the discussion is one of the shrewdest ways to spread your brand.

  1. Network with industry influencers

An industry influencer is regarded as an authority on a certain subject, who people look to for advice and opinions. Think of the Kardashians (although we’re not sure what they are an authority on!), or health guru Joe Wicks. Thanks to their large and loyal following on social media, they have a large influence over potential customers.
If you can identify relevant social media influencers in your industry and form relationships with them, it can work wonders for your brand in terms of reach and reputation.

  1. Use visual content

It is predicted that video will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021. The fact is, social media users can’t get enough of visual content. Incorporating images and videos in your posts, which align with your social media personas, is a safe way to increase social media engagement.

  1. Educate and inform

While we all know social media is a powerful marketing tool, being too pushy with your brand is a real turn off. Sharing interesting, informative content that solves real problems will encourage users to follow you, share your posts, and trust your brand.

  1. Create social media polls

People love sharing their opinions in social media polls, which makes them an effective marketing tool. As well as encouraging your followers to engage with your posts, polls are more likely to be shared, which is another savvy way to increase engagement.

  1. Run a competition

Who doesn’t love a freebie? Running a competition, with a prize incentive, is a quick and easy way to boost engagement.

Don’t forget to ask contestants to tag your company when they submit their answer, as this will encourage social sharing and get your content seen by a new audience, who can then join in.

  1. Use hashtags

Used correctly, hashtags are a vital marketing tool for expanding your reach. Research has shown that posts on Instagram with 11 or more hashtags get nearly 80% interaction, while on Twitter posts with hashtags get twice as much engagement.

The more specific you are with your hashtags, the more targeted your followers will be – and targeted followers means better engagement.

You can read more about getting hashtags right here.

While increasing engagement can be daunting, adopting some of these best practices will help your business thrive and survive in an increasingly competitive market place.

Want to find out more? Get in touch to find out how we can help boost your business and make the most of your marketing.

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