"Hello, it's me.
I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet to go over everything."
I am sure you are familar with these words as this song has been played almost 640 million times on Spotify. You might also relate to these words when you are trying to engage your audience on social media - as if you are talking to people who are not there anymore. ;)
This year, you might have decided that you will revamp your social media efforts. You will be more active on social media. You will share more. You will write more. Those are all fantastic (and I have the same goals), but hold on a second.
Before you start putting more stuff on your page, before you start making more noise (which can turn off more of your fans and followers), let's take some time to really think about the meaning of social engagement.
Most brands want to be LOVED by their consumers, but struggle with it. Why? The answer is simple: brands take what I call “Tinder Approach” to consumer relationships. They want something quick, a large number of followers, and no investment/commitment. But the immortal brands who are being loved continuously by their previous, current, and new consumers, they know that it takes time, money, and effort to build and sustain long-lasting, meaningful, healthy and profitable relationships.
So, if you really want your new year’s resolution to make a big impact on your brand, there are a couple things that you must do before putting more money into Adwords, Facebook Sponsored Posts, and Instagram Business.
1. Have candid and fruitful conversations with your audience:
The only way we really can get to know other people is to meet and talk. This is how we understand each other. Looking at their backgrounds can get us only so far. But, having candid conversations can lead us to meaningful insights that serve as the bedrock of long-term relationships with consumers. It would be great if you could host proper online focus groups, and we would be happy to help you set up and moderate the sessions. But, if you can’t for whatever reason, don’t let it stop you from having meaningful conversations with your audience. You could host Google Hangouts, Facebook Live Q&A sessions, or use web conferencing tools to invite your people, chat with them, and really get to know them.
2. Be friends with their friends:
Think middle and high school. You have a crush on this smart, cute girl, but getting her attention seems so daunting because your nerve gets in the way. So, you decide to talk to her best friend. You know where this is going. This move has been around for decades because it is effective! The best friend is the influencer, and you are leveraging the trust between them for an opportunity to build a relationship with the girl you have crush on.
How do we apply this to branding online? Influencer engagement. There are lots of influencers online in every subject, product category, and field. Their voices are trusted, and they can put in a good word for you with consumers you want to reach. The more influencers you can find and engage, the better. But, if you are new to this, start with a few, refine your approach, and expand your effort. And, don’t forget to think about what’s in it for the best friend (the influencer).
3. Value them, cherish them, and appreciate them:
My husband comes home around dinner time, opens the door, sees the dinner I make, and goes nuts. Everyday (almost!). It might be spaghetti and tomato sauce. It might be roasted duck. It might be bread and hummus. It does not matter. He beams and says “Love, this is so gourmet! So fancy! Ooh! I am a lucky man!” I am not exaggerating. And I EAT it up. I eat up all the compliments. I know that he very well knows this is how he gets more home cooked meals. Like most married couples, we see each other in the mornings and evenings. The little time we have together, he makes it meaningful, joyful, and fun. He makes this time count. Whether he knows this or not, this definitely grows and strengthens our relationship.
Ok. What does this have to do with social media strategy? User generated content! Hosting a UGC contest is sooooooo yesterday, last year, not cool anymore. Brands must integrate UGC strategies and tactics in daily practices. Not to get all technical about it, but consistent flow of UGC is much more beneficial to your brand than one time big UGC initiative. And, only when brands value them, cherish them, and appreciate content creators' efforts - then, comes a robust UGC program that can fuel brand growth. This is not limited to UGC, but it applies to comments and feedback you receive on social media. Let them know you value them, cherish them, and appreciate their effort. The little time you give them your attention, you must make it count.
Speaking of my husband I love singing Adele's remake of “Make You Feel My Love" to my husband and kids. Some people think that it is a sad song, but I disagree. I think it is a honest and truthful song about love (you have to give to get), and the words so accurately reflect how I feel about my people.
The song goes like this.
“I know you haven't made your mind up yet, but I would never do you wrong.
I’ve known it from the moment that we met, no doubt in my mind where you belong.
I'd go hungry. I'd go black and blue. I'd go crawling down the avenue.
No, there's nothing that I wouldn't do to make you feel my love.”
Make your audience FEEL your love. Love to be loved - this will be your winning strategy in 2017.
Listen to her song here for an inspiration.
With love, ;)