Customer Engagement

Take some time to think about your social media marketing strategy.

The social media landscape has gone through some massive tectonic shifts in the last decade. Even though the prominent names and channels in the world of social media have remained the same, the rules of the game are nowhere close to being what they once used to be.

When marketers and brands first realised the value social media could bring to them, and started using it to reach as many people as they possibly could, there was way less content, and less noise than what you see today. Users were more prone and willing to click on almost everything they came across on their news feed. As a result, brands were witnessing a high number of leads and impressive sales being driven by social media platforms.

Today, we are living in the world post the content shock.

There exists more content on your social platform than anyone can consume. So, users have much more choice, and much less patience to dig into something that doesn’t look interesting in the first glance. The result? Clicks are becoming harder and harder to come by. Even harder if you are looking at organic results instead of running paid promotions on these platforms.

Unlike the early days, when social media used to be a one-to-many channel, today it is one-to-few, at best, and in many cases, even one-to-one. The brands that have survived this massive change, and are actually thriving are the ones who have been able to make their presence deliver a more personalised social experience to their audience.

Today, social media is more about conversations than anything else, and as time passes us by, it will continue to grow further as a conversation channel rather than a revenue driver.

To ensure your business has a leg up when it comes to its social media strategy, you need to have a better understanding of … And that is what we are gonna talk about today.

Why understanding the challenges of social media is critical to your growth

Businesses, especially early stage entrepreneurs and solo founders do a lot of different things on social media without giving it much thought. This includes lambasting the same kind of generic messages, or an incessant flow of marketing and/or promotional messages. The rationale I have heard most often is :

It can’t hurt. If anything, it will bring in some traffic. And at this stage, I’ll take any traffic I can get.

While I am appreciative of that sentiment of wanting and needing traffic any which way possible, it is not entirely true that it won’t hurt your business. For one thing, your customers have gotten really good at filtering out noise in their content stream, and if they can isolate the source of that noise, they will often exercise the option of cutting it at source. And with that you start losing your audience.

Then there are the engagement numbers. As you would have read countless times, every social media platform has been cutting down on the organic reach your content can have. (Facebook does it most prominently and to the largest extent, but it is by far not the only one doing so.)

While it is true that your organic reach today is nowhere close to what it could have been once, you hurt it furthermore (and to a much more exponential level) by pushing out content that sees less and less engagement. And engagement matters in this game. The social media businesses want their users to spend as much time as possible on their platform. The more time they spend, higher are the chances of them taking actions that make money for these businesses. So they think about engagement much more than you and I do. As a result, in an effort to keep their users glued, they prioritise content they believe their users will engage with. And if you are low on the engagement scale, your content is going to face the heat for it.

A blind social media execution is the surest way to kill your gains - both today, and in future. So take a step back, think about what you are going to be doing, and how you ought to be doing it.

Social media is not the master key to unlock all doors

Social media is often seen as the solution to every marketing challenge. Whether you look at content distribution strategy or referral marketing, social media seems to be the keyword. But. Like any other marketing channel, whether or not you are going to get good results out of your efforts is contingent on what you do, why you do it, and how you are doing it. You have to know the landscape if you want to win.

The first thing you need to remember is that it is not going to help you achieve every business objective or marketing goal. While social media is great for certain aspects of marketing, such as brand awareness, it is not so for others. So, you shouldn’t try to cram up social media in the strategic plan for every marketing move you make.

For example, social media is no longer a blind traffic driver. You can’t and shouldn’t expect blasting links and marketing messages across different platforms to generate traffic for you. And this change is a good thing. It will help you come up with ways in which you can foster deeper, more meaningful connections with your audience, which in turn would bring in massive returns to your business in the long term.

What are the existing opportunities social media presents you with?

Delivering an incredible and enviable customer service is the absolute first thing. News travel fast, and bad news faster. While all the good you, your product or your business does for your customers may never see the light of the day, a bad customer experience most certainly will. So make it a point to deliver irresistible customer service via your social channels. This will also help you build social proof. When potential customers on-the-fence see how you take care of your customers’ concerns and problems, the confidence they have in transacting with you will increase manyfold.

One-on-one conversations. While you may be using social media to promote your product and address customer concerns, you are probably overlooking the value it adds to formulating your marketing strategy, deciding your marketing communique, and even refining your product design and future roadmap.

Engaging in conversations with your audience will help you understand how your customers use your product, why they use your product, and maybe how they should be using your product (to gain the most value). It will help you understand the challenges they face, the issues that matter the most to you, and what they do and should be expecting out of a solution to these challenges.

It helps you develop a personality. You look at the brands that grew quickly to a cult status and you’ll almost always find social media enabling that meteoric rise. Not because they were pushing out marketing messages that other competitors were doing. One of the factors aiding their social media growth was the fact that they were unique in their content approach and methodology, and they topped it up with a personality that best defined their brand. Look at Casper, Allbirds or any other brand. Their content speaks. It doesn’t disseminate marketing messages, it speaks to you! It has a tone, a style, and a shitload of charm, jazz and charisma.

​​ allbirds ​​ casper

If your social content is not entertaining, useful or unique, your audience will tire easily. If your content doesn’t invite and nudge your audience to respond and is just a pathway to your website, you will keep on seeing lower and lower engagement numbers till you get to a point where your audience has gotten so numb to your content, they don’t even notice it anymore.

Social media was always about engagement. Even if it took a long time for the theme to emerge with prominence.

The future of social media is engagement. You will find many who say this. But I argue that it has always been about engagement. That has always been the underlying key to success all along. It is just that the lack of content in past was masking this true nature by sending traffic and revenue your way. If a brand had been producing content their audience was engaging with, no amount of policy shift and algorithm change would have been able to suppress its growth. And the brands that have stood the test of time with respect to their social presence are the ones who have been driving engagement all along.

Use social media the right way. Use it to cultivate, nurture, and deepen relationships with your audience. Don’t push out marketing messages. Earn their love instead. Earn their loyalty. The revenue will follow.

Tomorrow, let us take a deeper look at the reasons that drive this engagement, the value this engagement has for your business, and what you can do to drive this engagement.

Till then, you should head over to the drawing board and map out your current social media strategy. What is it that you are doing and why? If you get stuck anywhere, or have questions as to how you should go about this whole exercise, you know I am just a tweet away for you. Ping me with your questions and concerns, and I’ll help you out.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.

Cheers

Abhishek

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