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Do you enjoy being barked at by glinty-eyed sales associates? Neither do your customers. One-way promotional messages have taken a hard fall thanks to the interactive nature of the internet. This is especially prevalent with social media, which has made it possible for consumers to rapidly connect online and speak directly to businesses.

In order to enhance customer engagement through social media, businesses need to shift their tactics to focus on a conversational marketing approach. When customers had no forum to talk back to companies, marketers tended to promote their products and services by blasting ads at them. The internet has not only provided a channel for businesses to connect with their consumers but for their customers to pass those messages to other customers as well as the general public. This makes it even more essential to appropriately manage the social media channels that your business is using as marketing tools.

The Significance of Social Media Marketing

Even if your business doesn’t engage in online marketing it does not mean that it won’t be mentioned by consumers online. In fact, organizations that do not pay attention to their online reputation are at risk for becoming a target of online negativity. This puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to addressing a negative article or social media post and reduces your control over your brand.

Not only is social media a means to manage the reputation of your business, it can also increase your online visibility and search engine rankings. The dialogue that takes place on social media channels creates signals that are factored into the results of the search engine rankings.

These days, a company’s social media presence needs to be especially dynamic in order to build brand reputation and generate authority online. By making your online presence more conversational, instead of simply broadcasting messages about your company, your social efforts can considerably support your overall marketing strategy.

Conversational Marketing

Too many businesses, especially local companies, have a weak or nonexistent social media marketing strategy and do not interact with consumers online. The process of building up your presence online should begin with evaluating and setting up accounts on the social media platforms that are relevant to your industry. Consumers are searching for companies on popular social media channels more often so companies that do not engage on these platforms are losing out on potential business.

While social media sites can be used for distributing promotional material such as ads and press releases, they should serve as a forum for more than just pushing out company updates and brand messaging. You could, for example:

  • Search for posts that mention your brand and engage in the conversation.
  • Post content as well as links to outside articles and visuals that would be compelling to your audience.
  • Build your audience and online influence through activities that provoke interest and promote engagement from followers.
  • Monitor and analyze the results of your work on social media channels. You can do this by using various analytics tools or social media ranking systems.
  • Create a blog on your company’s website to communicate with your consumers and connect to your other social media profiles.

The person you choose to have as your social media representative should have the experience and knowledge to professionally handle customer interactions and successfully represent your brand online. Mistakes on a social media profile can reflect badly on your business and can even result in permanent damage. This makes it essential to manage your social media presence with great care.

Developing Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

social strategyWithout a social media strategy in place your marketing team is likely to waste their efforts on ineffective tactics. The popularity of social media has resulted in many organizations wasting money on scattered marketing efforts without taking the time to define their objectives.

If you are already active on social platforms then evaluate your current tactics and revise them to meet your strategic marketing goals. Otherwise start by developing your plan and matching it up with the appropriate strategies before you put it into action. The following points can be used to help you determine the most effective steps to begin with:

  • Focus on Your Audience

As you develop or tweak your plan, try to examine your strategy from the perspective of your audience. Social media is not the appropriate medium for broadcasting one-way messages. It was created to promote conversations, sharing and feedback, which is required to engage with your consumers and build your following. Think about what your organization can offer to benefit followers on these channels. Start conversations and share valuable tips with your audience. Take an interest and give them what they want as you develop your organization’s brand.

  • Follow your Audience

If you are not paying attention to your followers’ social media posts it can make it difficult to create relevant material for them and it also displays a lack of interest as a brand. If you do not have enough manpower to actively engage with your audience on multiple channels then it is better to focus on one or two that you can effectively manage rather than having stagnant accounts.

  • Graphics and Length

Attractive visual elements on your social media posts can make them stand out and gain the attention of a larger audience. Promoting content through high-quality graphics can increase traffic to your website in addition to enhancing your social media presence. Messages on your social media profiles need to be concise if you want to effectively reach your audience. Short messages with great graphics are an ideal combination on most social media channels.

  • Create Incentive for Company Fans

Social followers that regularly engage with your posts deserve something in return. If you want to increase your interaction, give away prizes and promotions through a creative social media campaign. This gets the message out about your company, enhances interaction and keeps your social fans happy.

  • Promote Brand Advocates

One of the most effective social media marketing tactics involves letting your customers express the message about your company for you. If a customer is willing to post a Tweet or record a video about your business make sure to share them. Running social campaigns that promote consumers to speak about your brand can be a fantastic way to gain positive exposure online.

Great social media marketing leaves a lasting impression on audiences and bolsters the loyalty of consumers. Don’t turn followers off of your brand with overly promotional messaging and one-way communication. It is possible to lead great interactions and build a strong social media presence in your industry without a bloated budget or big brand. Work to increase social media engagement and expand your influence to support the management of your business reputation and meet larger business goals.