For small business owners trying to save money, what is one cost–effective way to increase engagement with customers on social media?
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Think About How You Can Pull People In
If you’re wanting to connect with your customers, then I would stay away from anything that is one directional. Instead of thinking about what messages to push out, think about how you can pull people in. Be vulnerable. Take on a listening posture. Show that you care about them and that you want to help them succeed.
2. Ask Relevant and Engaging Questions
One of the most efficient ways to engage a live audience is to ask relevant and thoughtful questions, and online social audiences are not much different. By asking a question, taking a poll or inviting folks to share experiences, we can promote bi-directional conversations of significantly more depth. The increased engagement will also keep the post higher in news feeds, thus fueling more attention.
3. Hold a Giveaway With Sharing Incentives
This method combines two of my favorite cost-saving measures: First, in giving something away, you are capitalizing on the perceived value of your product versus its actual cost. Second, you utilize the exponential power of making mini-evangelists, who will share with their networks to reap the reward. Together, there is a double layer of cost-effectiveness and, when done right, exceptional results.
4. Always Ask for Follows, ‘Likes’ and Reviews
Small businesses should make asking for engagement a priority in interactions with customers. The restaurant that promotes servers asking for reviews and follows, the chiropractor that passes out reminder cards and encourages reviews, the local shop that includes the request in their email signatures — low-cost actions that, if performed consistently over time, grow social engagement.
5. Use Video Content
Tape yourself as much as possible. Thirty-second videos that go over various elements of your product or service and related subject matter gain followers and sustain exposure. Keep the content and location varied, however, and make sure that your branding is never lost in the production. Invest in having a certain element of the video displaying your branding, such as a logo on the bottom right or left.
6. Encourage Social Media Engagement When Customers Visit a Physical Location
For small businesses with a physical location: When customers visit you, encourage them to post to your social media hashtags. Rather than relying on your employees or printed collateral to encourage social media posting, add a TV screen that displays real-time posts to your hashtags. People love seeing themselves on the big screen!
7. Take the Time to Nurture People
One of Facebook’s biggest goals and one Mark Zuckerberg is continually reminding us about, is that Facebook seeks to enable the growth of communities. The majority of their updates, products and offerings to businesses, both big and small, are centered around community. Follow the standards of what it takes to grow a community. Take the time to nurture people and their comments.
8. Remember That Different Audiences Require Different Approaches
Giveaways are like Groupons: They only really work once to attract deal hunters. For B2C, use Facebook and Instagram. Visual engagement and customer experience are key here. For example, Seven Lions, a restaurant in Chicago, created a $15 dessert designed for Instagram, with great results. For B2B, LinkedIn and Twitter are best. Focus on content, preferably blog posts written from your domain knowledge in the space.
9. Tap Into Facebook Advertising
Boosting your Facebook content on your company page is very affordable and can provide your brand a wide reach when targeting your demographic. Engagement activities, such as a ‘like’ or a share, can cost as low as $0.01 each. The targeting capabilities of Facebook allow for a very flexible and highly targeted marketing strategy.
10. Outsource Communications
Being an insider who is entrenched in every aspect of your business may deter you from communicating your ideas to your audience in a way that they understand and appreciate fully. By hiring a social media freelancer who is experienced in this field, you are ensuring better quality content for your social feeds. This, in turn, encourages higher engagement rates from your community.
11. Ask Yourself, ‘Would You Read You?’
If you want your audience to engage with your content, your content must engage with your audience. There’s a reason funny memes go viral so often: They’re engaging and they aren’t difficult to create. First, work hard to understand your audience. Really put yourself in their shoes. Now take a look at your social media posts. Are they laughing? Are they interested enough to stop scrolling?
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