Authentically engaging with your social media audience creates connections that lead to trust, positive association with your brand, and, ultimately, sales. Understanding why someone is engaging with your photo, video, or story (and what platform they are using) is key to making the engagement authentic. But how do you do it?
Authentic engagement takes a thoughtful understanding of your brand, your audience, the platform you're utilizing, and more. Read on for 10 tips on how to authentically engage.
#1 - Understand the platform
We utilize social media platforms for different purposes. A retweet is different from an Instagram Direct Message (DM), which is different from a LinkedIn comment—be sure you’re considering the platform when you reply. The way a person interacts with you affects how you should engage with them. If they leave a positive comment on a post, responding positively in return will make the commenter feel good. If someone DMs you about an issue with your product, a prompt, action-oriented response will speak volumes about your customer service. Both result in a win for your brand.
#2 - Be genuine
Write messages with intention. If you are commenting on someone’s post, leave a thoughtful message. If they commented on your post, reply and let them know it means something to you. The more you interact with your followers, the more they’re going to want to continue interacting with you, and in turn, interact with your brand. Continued conversation with your fan base keeps your brand top of mind and makes you stand out when a client decides how to spend their dollars.
#3 - Be trustworthy
Be a voice that your audience trusts. When you’re engaging, make sure that you’re being factual and only spreading knowledge that you know. This way, your audience will know that they can trust you and your voice. Building trust with your audience is proven to build credibility, leading to customer loyalty and ultimately purchases.
#4 - Be interactive
Use your social media features to your advantage. If you’re on Instagram and you’re a specialist in a topic like Influencer Marketing, then host a Q&A with the “Questions” feature on stories. This way people will feel comfortable asking you questions without having to slide into your DMs, and you’re able to share what you know best. Having a weekly Q&A is not only an amazing way to stay in touch with your audience but also keeps them tuned in to your feed.
#5 - Be engaging
If someone leaves you a positive comment, reply back. Let them know that their comment has been seen and read. This will again help to keep a positive view of your brand when they are considering a purchase. Sometimes emojis work, other times you can leave a more thoughtful response. If someone leaves you a negative comment, remember what we said above: reply in a prompt, action-orientated way. Other users will see your response in-feed, reflecting positively on your brand.
#6 - Be patient
You don’t need to reply right away, so don’t let that make you anxious! If your position is not a full-time social media manager, take 15 minutes at the beginning and the end of your day to go through and respond to your audience. They will be grateful you did and, more likely, keep commenting. Engagement is important, but don’t let it negatively impact other important aspects of your business.
#7 - Stay organized
To stay organized, you can always use Creator Studio via Facebook and do all of your community management there. Or, try other apps like Agorapulse, which can work with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These systems ensure you never miss a comment or a DM, showing your audience that you are reliable and dependable.
#8 - Be consistent
Consistency is key! Whether you’re commenting on people’s posts, doing a Q&A, or replying to comments left on your content, be consistent. It not only lets people know what to expect from you, but it shows them that you care.
#9 - Be inclusive
People want to be a part of a community where they feel valued and appreciated. When engaging, remember to engage with all the “real” comments. No need to engage with spam. You should also consider how you are speaking to the person you’re replying to and be mindful of all walks of life.
#10 - Ask questions
Don’t know what your audience wants to see from your social media account? Ask! Often, this will lead to great engagement and conversation on the post itself. It will also give you insight into what your audience truly wants—giving you the ability to provide them with engaging content that they’ve actually asked for.
And above all else...
90% of customers said that authenticity is an important factor in deciding which brands they like and support (SocialMediaToday). Because of this, social media requires organic, authentic commentary. People are quick to point out canned responses and brands that shrug them off. Remember to speak to your audience the way you would want to be spoken to—and refer to these 10 tips for how to authentically and organically engage with your audience online.
Does community management overwhelm you? Part of the job description of a social media manager is to engage authentically with your brand’s audience. Consider a consultation today by calling 323.596.0606 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.