weird world pictureAs I write this, I feel like I live in the Twilight Zone. My intention for this month was to highlight a cool marketing tool I found last quarter, but it currently seems so inconsequential – maybe that’s not the right word, inconsequential – there’s still value in employing new tools, but my headspace has shifted for the time being –  in the new landscape we face moving into Q2. There are so many adjustments to be made on so many different fronts. It’s time to dig deep and make it happen.

Social distancing in-real-life (#IRL) is our new world order for the time being, but in the virtual world you should be ramping it up and socializing more. You’ve probably already geared up on video conferences, attended virtual classes, and maybe even done a few happy hours with friends and family through group video. Those are all a great use of the modern technologies we’ve had available to us for years. And it’s about time our society started using them! In this time of social isolation, the video conference allows us to see each other’s faces, making us feel a stronger social connection and has wonderful psychological benefits. Social media platforms have similar benefits because they allow us to quickly connect to those who mean the most to us. Filling the gap for real-life social interactions, engagement in the digital world is now more important than ever. Did you know, your business can leverage social media in the same way? Now is a great time to humanize your brand and use social media to meaningfully connect with and engage with your audience.

Most of you already have some presence for your business on social media, probably a Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn account. You’re probably posting a few things from time to time and are trying to make sense of what that data is telling you about how the post performed using the platform’s native analytics. The first number most people are able to understand is Followers. How many people like or follow your page. Another number that you understand for the most part is Likes. That’s the number that represents how many people are fans of your page. The fans receive your updates in their feed and are counted in a public display of appreciation of your page, while the followers simply receive the updates you post. Another one you’ve seen is Engagement. This is the measurement of the level of dialogue between you and your audience. Some things that count for engagement metrics are likes, comments, or shares of a post. There are many more metrics to explore but the most important for your brand, especially right now is Engagement.

Let’s dive a little deeper into what Engagement means. Good engagement is basically active communication on social posts between you and your audience. However, you simply can’t publish a post and expect your audience to be automatically engaged; they won’t actively participate in, or initiate an online dialog with your brand unless you’ve set that precedence. Many, often older generations, forget the ‘social’ part of ‘social media.’ When they’re working at a computer the idea of socializing is sort of abstract. They get stuck thinking that social media is simply a new way to send an outbound message, like traditional media – a new tool to get the message out to a lot of people using a bigger and louder megaphone. While it does have an element of traditional advertising in that it is broad reaching communications, the big difference is it’s no longer a one way street.

social media connectionsWhat does it look like for your brand to engage with your virtual partner? Check it out, just like in a real life relationship, it’s a give and take two way street. And like in real life, there are a variety of ways to engage in the digital world. The most common action is to respond to comments from your audience on posts you’ve already done. Good brands will add another layer to this and regularly comment on posts made by their followers and those they are following. When you’re starting this, make sure to identify audience members and accounts who post complementary topics for you then make a thoughtful comment to contribute to the conversation. Now the great brands, they’ll take all of this a step further. They follow accounts of vocal industry accounts, personal and business. Often these accounts will have a large following. In the social media marketing world they are known as industry influencers. Smart brands share posts with related information from these other industry relevant accounts. This tactic happens a little less frequently, but done correctly, it’s a powerful way to boost your visibility and expand audience reach for your brand immensely. 

The value in social media marketing is a deeper relationship with your target audience. If you approach this virtual relationship with the give and take mentality of a real life relationship, you’ll build a solid foundation of trust in your brand. Building strong relationships with your audience takes time, and there is no better time to kickstart these relationships – while we’re all queued up on our own social media accounts and looking to stay connected to other humans. It’s a great time to take your social media marketing up a notch to improve your brand’s digital footprint, to humanize your brand, and gain market share.

If you need help with developing your company’s social media plan and creating content for your posts, our Guided Social Media Calendar would be a great tool for you to kickstart your program.