Driving Social Engagement for Your Brand

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We often discuss the importance of social listening and its positive impact on your brand. But how do you translate that benefit and convert into engagement from your community? Even though it’s great to generate new content ideas from listening on social media, unless your audience is engaging with you in return, you’re losing out on a key part of social media. This week on #TwitterSmarter, we invited the founder of Arkay Marketing and PR, Lucy Rendler-Kaplan, to tell us about how she manages social engagement for her business and clients.

Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Lucy Rendler-Kaplan
Topic: Driving social engagement for your brand.
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: Can social listening help improve engagement?

It sure can. When you listen on social media, you consequently learn what your audience truly wants.

Apart from identifying the ideal type of content to share, as Brian told us, social listening also helps you understand your community’s terminology—which means you’ll become more aware of the kind of language they’re familiar with. You’ll also improve your communication skills, relating specifically to engaging with the varied group of people you’ll come meet on social media.

Q2: What are some ways to listen to your audience?

With Twitter, hashtags are the key. It’s such a great way to track conversations that even other social platforms have adopted hashtags. Hashtags help you find discussions that don’t directly mention your brand but are still relevant to your business and industry. Those are the conversations you should be paying attention to because they help you identify discussions and topics you can get involved in.

Another good way to listen to your audience is to create and subscribe to lists. As our friend from Biteable suggested, lists are great for categorizing Twitter users by industry, business, topics of interest, and just about anything else. Once you’ve created these lists, you can keep an eye on what the users in your list are tweeting about, even if you don’t follow them. Most social media management tools like TweetDeck offer an easy way to manage all your lists in one place.

Yet another effective social listening tactic is to run polls and surveys. As Lance mentioned, ask open-ended questions and encourage your audience to share how they feel about you and your brand’s social presence.

Q3: What role do social media algorithms play in driving engagement?

This is a bit of a touchy subject. According to our guest, if you have a clean social media strategy with a heavy focus on engagement, social media algorithms and constant updates won’t impact you as much.

What’s interesting, though, is how much algorithms determine what we see and what we don’t see. As a result, engagement rates also vary. As Vraj pointed out, most social media algorithms promote what they think are well-performing posts. However, the performance of a post is judged by vanity metrics like likes and comments. Most algorithms don’t consider the quality of engagement.

The best way to deal with this rather vicious circle is to share genuinely helpful content. Nicola said it well: unless you post content that your audience can resonate with, the algorithms won’t get you far.

Q4: Do you need a social media engagement strategy?

Indeed, you do. Lucy even said that it might be even more important than planning your posts.

She gave us an example from her business. They select a handful of people to follow and engage with them for up to three weeks consistently. This allows the user enough time to get to know them and engage in return.

Though this process is time-consuming, Lucy admitted that it gives them measurable results.

Suzanne shared a similar idea. She also emphasized the importance of building relationships with people. However, to do that, you’ll first have to understand who your audience is and what matters to them. Once you have that information, you can find ways to get involved in those discussions.

Q5: What are the key elements of a social media engagement strategy?

The most important part of your engagement strategy is your goals. Make sure you set tangible and measurable goals along with a list of people (or even demographic) that you want to follow and engage with your brand. And, of course, no engagement strategy is complete without setting time aside to engage with your audience every day.

All that said, as crucial as it is to have a thorough plan of what you’ll do, when, and how, it’s equally important to be spontaneous. Acknowledge the value of someone else’s content and current events or news, as Jennifer explained.

Q6: Does having a social media engagement strategy guarantee growth?

If you’re surprised to hear a yes, then well, don’t be. As Lucy said in a previous response, her strategy is to choose a few people to engage and build relationships with. And this, she told us, has been working for her for about 10 years.

As Alyx explained, a strategy is a plan to achieve your goals. But for your plan to go according to plan, you need to regularly work on it. Even a guaranteed strategy won’t help you much if you don’t actively implement it.

Q7: What are your top tips for driving social engagement?

Be sincere. Even though you’re a social media marketer and your goal is to drive engagement and awareness to your brand, treat every interaction as you would offline. Be helpful every time you participate in a conversation—address their issues and concerns truly. People can quite quickly identify fakery, and even more so on social media.

Our chat regular Rachel from Express Writers spoke about the importance of being present on social media. This helps develop brand trust, and once people know they can rely on your insights, they’ll start to engage with you more often and with more gusto. Just remember that it’ll take time to establish your brand. Overnight success on social media is never for the long term.

Q8: What are your go-to resources to learn about growing social engagement?

Nothing beats good ol’ Twitter chats. Follow hashtags relevant to your brand and check out events you can participate in and engage with on social media. And as our guest added, don’t shy away from asking lots of questions. That’s how we learn and improve.

Carla shared her favorite resources: Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner, content from the social scheduling tool, Later, and Mari Smith.

Other recommendations included Buffer, Neil Patel, HubSpot, and SproutSocial.

Well, folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading through, and for more insights from our chat with Lucy, check out this Twitter thread. If you enjoy our chat recaps, you’ll love the full-fledged ones. Come join us on Thursdays at 1pm ET!

About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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