In today’s business world, we are always connected. This constant connectivity and access to information and social networks brings, along with an abundance of opportunity and diversity, certain challenges. With social networking, you face the challenge of identifying how to use each unique social networking platform to ensure maximum benefit.
Each network will have its own specific nuances requiring a tailored approach. One of the most important aspects when it comes to managing your social media though, is to keep your following engaged. With so many platforms and offerings available, this becomes a real task and something which you need to devote resources and above all, skill, to solving. Following these simple steps will help ensure the best results to align with your goals and help to keep your audience engaged.
Use a Professional Profile Photograph or Business Logo
The importance of this point cannot be overstated. Social Media, is your opportunity to showcase your offering to the wider public. This could be as an individual trying to use the likes of LinkedIn to boost your employability, professional career and character or as a business using Facebook or other platforms. Like it or not, many peoples first opinion is based upon looks, therefore it is essential to get off to the most professional and positive start possible. First and foremost you want your audience to be immediately clear on your purpose. As a business, this means having an attractive and alluring logo which clearly defines your business and an introduction which is clear for the consumer whilst also highlighting any competitive advantages you may possess.
As an individual, increasing nowadays Social Media platforms of all types are put under an intense microscope by both your social circle and potential employers. It is therefore essential that you adopt a professional and approachable mindset to assist with growing your following and keeping them engaged.
Be Selective in Choosing Your Market
Undoubtedly, it’s fantastic to expand your network far and wide. The opportunity to market yourself and your company to such a vast amount of contacts is one which should be embraced. That said, being selective in who you choose to connect with is not a negative choice. You want to ensure that the people you are connecting with both welcome your connection and more importantly, add value to each your audience. As an example, a financial consultant would be best served focusing on building a network broadly connected to that sector.
In terms of a company, the ethos should be the same. You will have a much easier time in successfully engaging an audience whom are already willing and receptive to your ideas. In many cases, lots of social media users have a tendency to blindly follow many businesses and products with which they have no interest. This brings us back to the first point of ensuring that your purpose and offering is as clear as possible from the outset. This more selective approach may lead to a slower uptake at the outset, however, it will ensure you retain a far more interested, engaged audience whose opinion ultimately carries more weight in the direction of your company.
Engage Meaningfully With Your Network
At all stages of building and retaining your audience, it is essential to interact with them. This is your opportunity to communicate with the world around you, who, in turn can shape the direction of your business or career. It is vital that you find a good balance when it comes to communicating with your network. In the case of every social network, users do not want to be bombarded with a constant flow of needless information. This is where you need to provide a consistent but not overbearing flow of interesting content to your users. Typically, once a day should be enough to publish some material in order to keep your audience engaged. Similarly with face to face interactions and starting a conversation, you want to be sure of a number of points:
- The content or direction of the material or conversation is relevant to the audience
- You are providing some form of value to your audience. This value could be immediate or future value.
- The content is a starting point. Something which makes your audience ask questions and peaks interest. This is true engagement.
As a more professionally concentrated platform, you should have higher selection criteria for what you do choose to share. Industry related articles or reports which you can speak authoritatively on when questioned are always a good starting point. Even better if you are the author of these pieces.
Regardless of your target audience and platform, the real key when communicating with your audience is knowledge and research. This interlinks with the previous point s to why it is so important to be selective when building your audience. In order to provide engaging interaction, you must be aware of the key issues and factors which drive your audience.
This is another area where you can set your social media profile apart from the crowd. By putting the time an effort into requesting suggestions, you help to build and solidify your offering in a manner which you know is approved by your following.
This is something which is akin to modern day market research and should in no way be equated with weakness or lack of knowledge as some may have you believe. Requesting suggestions both as a business and an individual has a number of positive effects.
- It can indicate in which direction you should take your social media content.
- It provides a very meaningful interaction with your audience. This helps them to feel valued.
- It can help to foster a sense of community, togetherness and ultimately, brand loyalty if you are a business.
- It helps to remove the “Corporate” feeling or tag from your page or company.
When requesting recommendations, it’s important to request suggestions in useful areas where your audience both feel that they are making a real impact and can perhaps see and quantify their impact in the future. On the note of seeing their impact, it is very important that if you request direction, you can be seen to implement the suggestions in the future.
Always Strive to Improve Your Offerings
Having an engaged social media following is about more than just targeting the correct market with and aimlessly continuing to replicate the same content and atmosphere. This can be said regardless of if your actual strategy is working or not.
At all points you should be seen as striving to improve yourself. This is true in life as well as Social Media. The mentality of adapt or die is key in every walk of life. The vast majority of users will gather behind to support your changes and continue to grow your potential when they see you are investing time, energy and belief into a new idea.
These changes may sometimes be radical in terms of business direction but will have benefits which are two-fold. They will work to keep your existing audience curious and engaged with the new changes as well as helping them to also evolve; secondly, they will help in attracting a whole new audience who may have previously been outside your catchment market. Either way, change, even for a highly successful brand, is a positive thing. Constant and naturally flowing, subtle change being far more productive to the core of a business.
From a business perspective, social media is a highly valuable tool for growing your network and expanding the reach of your company. This should inevitably reflect on your bottom line. This, as we have learned though, can be highly dependent on both building the correct audience and retaining their interest. This alone can propel or sink your company, at the very least having huge implications. For these reasons, keeping your audience active and well engaged in your social media platforms is vital.
Using a combination of the techniques which we have outlined above can assist you in making a strong start and helping to get the initial difficult decisions correct when it comes to building your audience. This is only the beginning when it comes to the relationship between your business and social media. Though, it is fair to say both in a business and personal sense, if you can retain your audience and most importantly keep them engaged, the opportunities of reaching your desired outcomes can be greatly enhanced.