Social media has become a necessary outlet for retailers and organizations alike to communicating with consumers. Through trail and error, the company I work for has honed in on 3 fundamental and relatively cost effective rules for engaging consumes through the use of social media. I refrained from referencing the specific product my company offers to allow for easy adaptability across all industries and product categories.
Rule #1 – COMMUNICATE!
Consumers are demanding it. If you are seeking to engage your consumers the first step is communication. Assign this task to a single person or group. Once you’ve established ownership, dedicate time each day to respond to consumer questions and/or proactively respond to consumer comments on Facebook, Twitter, blogs or whichever social media platform your company participates in. Customers like to feel as though they are being heard. After making this connection with consumers be sure to keep up the momentum with frequent communication. Consistency is key here. Fans will notice if you are not paying attention. Additionally, keep your communication relevant. “Off-topic” information will clutter your page and dilute your purpose.
Rule #2 – Don’t get STALE!
Supporters will get bored of seeing the same type of content over-and-over again. Keep them guessing by posting unexpected content. Think of new ways to keep followers interested in what you are saying and make them want more. One way to achieve this is by using surprise promotions. For example, our marketing team recently surprised our fans by posting a coupon for free product. It took consumers off guard and immediately went viral. We posted a link to a landing page that allowed participants to download a voucher/coupon for free product. Follow this link for the details of this promotion.
Rule #3 – ASK and you shall receive!
Go beyond the question and answer format. Solicit fans to interact with your brand with creative contests. Fans will be more than willing to provide feedback, especially when a prize is at stake. For example, in the past we held a recipe contest where we asked consumers to submit an innovative recipe using our product. The winner had their recipe featured on our website along with accolades from the contest. The selected recipe also came with a year’s supply of product. The benefits of this are twofold. Not only does it engage consumers, it also provides very useful information to our company. Through this contest we found out just how consumers were using our product in the kitchen. Helpful hint: establish the questions you would like answered before determining the parameters of the contest. This will ensure the information you receive from consumers is useful.
As you can see, these aren’t groundbreaking concepts, however, they are simple to execute and highly effective in providing opportunities for fans, followers, and supporters to engage with your brand. During the process you might also gain some useful consumer information while potentially attracting new customers. I hope your company can also benefit.