The size of your audience matters. This is true for many things – West End shows, stand-up comedians, the hot new band – but none more so than for social media. Tweets, status updates, blogs – they all need readers, and the more the merrier. The future of e-commerce stands on it.
When people follow and like your business, it’s good for you. It creates a loyal army of customers who push your products and talk about your brand all over their social media profiles –often to hundreds of people at a time. But firstly, you need to get those customers to follow you, like you and tweet about you. So, you need to ask yourself – why would they do that? What’s in it for them? What value do I bring to their lives?
Your social media audience is a changing entity, and you must be responsive and proactive in your activity to keep your consumers engaged and interested. Here are our top 10 tips for effective audience engagement and retention:
1. Create a Channel Strategy. Less isn’t necessarily more, and more isn’t necessarily less. You need to examine your brand and any sub-brands and ‘personalities’, and ask yourself, ‘Are these likeable? Is there a clear reason to follow them?’ Don’t keep channels that aren’t contributing to the strength of your brand, and equally don’t ignore potential channels that could add value for your customers – such as Group Buy sites. Every channel you choose to develop should be backed by a clear strategy.
2. Have a Mission and Purpose. If you create a channel without a clear idea of what you want it to do and why – and crucially without knowing what audience you’re trying to reach – then you’ll never develop it to its full potential. Ask existential questions of each – why does it exist? Who does it exist for? What do I want it to do?
3. KISS it: Keep It Significant and Shareable. Your content should be engaging, relevant and encourage people to share it. Try and think outside the box – what piques your audience’s curiosity? What do they expect to see, and what would they like to see? Consider their specific needs and interests and develop your content accordingly.
4. Build frameworks to support your online ecommerce store. Listening frameworks monitor conversations about the brand and can pick up trends and flag issues. Conversational workflows mean there is always someone on hand to respond at crucial engagement points, and that all your representatives know where and when they take place. Decision trees make sure that every situation is foreseen and planned for: ‘What happens if….? Do this if…’
5. Timing is everything. Are you tweeting to your customers when they’re fast asleep? Are you using 40 words when 4 would do? Make every update worth reading by optimising your language and timing.
6. Cutting edge skills require training – and reward. Keep your reps sharp and focused through training. Every engagement needs to be top notch as it can add to or detract from the the brand experience. Social media is at the cutting edge of technology too – you don’t want to look like your brand is behind the times! Excellent reps can be nurtures and retained through rewards and incentives.
7. Find your voice. Define your brand persona, your character, your personality, your essence and make sure all your reps follow the same guidelines. This ensures the consumer experience of your brand is consistent. If you don’t have a style guide for your reps to follow, creating one should be a priority. This is true across all channels – even when sending out a short text as part of your mobile marketing.
8. Do you know what you Do and Don’t in social media? Get a policy in place. Data protection and employee rights are just a couple of the legal aspects to be aware of when operating in the social media arena. Your guidelines should be flexible enough to ensure your employees can operate effectively, but are still aware what the boundaries are.
9. Offer solutions. Your consumers’ expectations include problem solving. One of the easiest ways to engender customer loyalty is through helping them. Perhaps offering tips on social shopping or how to access your mobile shop through your apps. Make sure your channels add value in this way.
10. Monitor and evaluate. One of the most important steps! Don’t assume everything is working fine – watch it, test it, assess it. Check your SEO rankings and see how you can increase your web traffic. The social media world – and your audience! – is constantly changing. What works Tuesday might not work Sunday. Use some of the social media tools out there to keep on top of your channel performance.
That’s our top tips – what about yours?