Find out how to improve conversations on your social media channels without using polls, contests, or questions.
According to a recent survey of 351 small business owners, the largest percentage of small businesses want to improve customer engagement across their social media channels.
Unfortunately, many of the most popular tips for increasing social media engagement don’t work well when:
- The brand hasn’t built much of an audience yet.
- The business hasn’t yet created an environment that fosters social conversations.
- Everyone else is using the same tactics, so people are ignoring them.
The key to turning fans into customers lies in a brand’s ability to create conversations with them.
Conversations allow customers to share more about themselves. These type of comments are valuable because they can help improve your product and communications. In the end, customer conversation is a valuable asset that helps to raise your ROI.
In this article, we’ll show you how small-to-medium sized businesses can dramatically improve their social media conversations. The 5 tactics covered in this article can have a dramatic impact on improving your social media conversations. They are:
- Make the most of social media review platforms.
- Offer customer service on social media.
- Post company job openings and freelance opportunities.
- Hire a micro-influencer to take over your social media for a day.
- Meet your audience offline.
1. Make The Most Of Social Media Review Platforms
Take advantage of built-in review systems like the one on Facebook. Encourage your followers and customers to review your business on social media.
This gives you the opportunity to thank customers for their honest input and learn from their feedback.
Before you begin collecting reviews and feedback, there a few things to learn about managing a social media review system, including how to:
- Encourage customers to write online reviews.
- Encourage positive reviews.
- Respond to negative reviews.
Instanatural Skin Care is a great example of how businesses can cultivate conversations on social media using the Facebook review system.
Not only does Instanatural respond to every single review, but they are consistently quick to respond with a cheerful message.
Fans love commenting on its page and are happy to make recommendations.
2. Offer Customer Service On Social Media
Using your social media platforms as a customer service tool can increase the amount of conversations you have with your fans.
Like review systems, it’s important to learn how to promote and manage social media customer service.
Social media customer service can be risky; 56% of consumers who have a poor customer service experience say they will never use the company again.
However, if you prepare and train your team well, the result can be a thriving community packed with meaningful conversations on social media.
In June 2010, @XboxSupport held the Guinness World Record for the most responsive corporate account on Twitter.
Thanks to a dedicated Twitter customer service team, Xbox replies to customers within an average 2 minutes and 42 seconds.
3. Post Company Job Openings and Freelance Opportunities
Whether your opening is for a full-time employee or a freelance writer, share it on your social media pages.
Posting jobs is a sure way to gain loyal followers. Even if the current openings aren’t a good fit, you’re sure to get bookmarked and followed by people with an interest in your company.
For example transcription company Rev posts colorful, attention-getting announcements when they’re looking for help. The image below is an example of how they get the conversation started.
Rev’s post earned the company 691 shares, 1.6K likes, and a very active conversation in the comments section.
4. Hire A Micro-influencer To Take Over Your Social Media For A Day
Micro-influencers are people who have between 500 - 10,000 fans. Most of them have built a fan base from the ground up thanks to a flair for engaging people in conversation.
Not only are micro-influencers affordable, but their smaller-sized audiences tend to be highly engaged. Because of this, these less-famous influencers can often deliver a higher ROI than their famous counterparts.
If you’re not sure how influencers work or how to get started, these “Tips for Creating Social Media Influencer Campaigns” will help you get started.
5. Meet Your Audience Offline
Cultivating relationships offline is a powerful way to improve conversations online. People who know you in real life are far more willing to communicate online.
There are a number of ways to meet your audience offline:
- Attend industry conferences and workshops.
- Attend meetups related to your industry and offer to give a presentation.
- Create your own meetup group and offer helpful training.
- Meet with local business owners.
- Engage with offline influencers like politicians and community leaders.
For example, the San Antonio Police Department’s 200,000+ Facebook followers are actively engaged in conversations with the SAPD and with each other.
SAPD encourages conversations by getting involved with the community offline.
For example, the Facebook post below shares pictures from their “Coffee With the Cops” event at a local coffeehouse.
Another example is a chalk art contest one of the police units held at a local elementary school.
The police department in San Antonio cultivates a relationship with the community on an ongoing basis. They visit schools, attend graduations, present local awards, and much more.
As a result, their fans feel connected to the police department and are active in conversation with them - both on social media and in person.
Another way to connect with people offline is by holding your own events.
Consider hosting regular events that cater to your customers or your industry.
If you have office space, take advantage of it by holding regular mixers, presentations, or training sessions. If you don’t have a physical location, you can easily set up events and build a community using Meetup.com.
In-person events are effective opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations with your audience. Just be sure to continue the conversation on social media.
If you own office space, consider renting it out for meetings on the weeknights.
For example, Geekdom CoWorking space in San Antonio, TX rents out their meeting space for community events that are related to their industry. Their meeting space is packed almost every night of the week. Their events include everything from SEO groups to a Hacker’s Association, and social events like “SA Nerd Night.”
By renting out their space, Geekdom has positioned itself at the heart of San Antonio’s “Geek” community.
There are many ways to create in-person experiences that translate to better conversations across your social media channels.
Consider adding a photo booth or hashtag selfies to your events, to encourage social media engagement.
Create Conversations Online
People join online conversations when the discussion feels authentic and welcoming.
Before you start creating more conversations:
- Be sure that your brand’s written guide to style outlines the voice and tone you will use across social media. This way, your responses can be voiced in a consistent and professional manner.
- Take the time to study how other brands succeed or fail at some of the tactics above. Learn the ins-and-outs of review systems and social media customer service before you add them to your page.
- Make a commitment to respond thoughtfully to comments and questions in a timely manner.
Now that you have plenty of proven techniques for improving social media conversations, you’re one step closer to creating a thriving social community that delivers a high return on investment for your business.