15 Tips to Increase Your Brand’s Social Media Engagements
A 2018 report published by Hootsuite and We Are Social states that the number of internet users worldwide has passed the 4 billion mark, and roughly 3.2 billion of those are social media users. That means every minute, your brand’s social media content is competing with millions of Facebook posts, hundreds of thousands of tweets, […]
A 2018 report published by Hootsuite and We Are Social states that the number of internet users worldwide has passed the 4 billion mark, and roughly 3.2 billion of those are social media users. That means every minute, your brand’s social media content is competing with millions of Facebook posts, hundreds of thousands of tweets, and tens of thousands of Instagram photos. With those record-breaking numbers, you might be wondering how you can stand out in all that noise.Luckily, it’s very achievable. Here are 15 tips for strengthening your social media prowess and boosting your brand’s social media engagements:
1. Post Value-rich Content
It should be no surprise that posting more valuable content will result in higher engagement. Yet, most brands’ social media pages are filled with countless posts humblebragging about themselves and their products. But that’s the kind of content that pushes people away. Instead, your brand’s social media content should be useful and speak to the intended audience’s wants, needs, desires, fears, and pain points. Constantly focusing on your audience resonates, and shows that your brand is about more than profits. Try sharing surprising statistics, thoughtful quotes, or evergreen blog content. Before posting anything, ask yourself: “If I were the reader, how would this help me?”
2. Research and Emulate Popular Content
So many marketers simply guess at what content they think their audience would like – and then they’re surprised when it doesn’t perform well. Rather than playing guessing games, spend a little time researching what kind of content has worked in the past. Try browsing your competitors’ and industry-adjacent peers’ social media profiles to see what kind of content is working for them and driving the greatest engagement. Tools like Ahrefs and Buzzsumo can also be leveraged to see what kinds of headlines and blog posts perform best when shared via social media. You can find out total engagement, social media channel breakdown, and much more.
3. Use Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are easy wins for connecting with like-minded people. It’s good practice to piggyback on popular, relevant hashtags in addition to making your own. Opt for hashtags that are on the shorter side with easy-to-spell words or phrases. They should give the intended audience a clear understanding of the topic of conversation, and be memorable as well.
4. Use Giveaways and Contests
It’s no secret that people adore cheap and free stuff. But you’ve got to make your giveaways worthwhile and your contests entertaining and rewarding. Nobody cares about 5% discount codes or free shipping on their next order. They want that 20% discount, free meals, free trips, or exclusive gear. And they also want their rewards now, not next month. Instant-use discount codes and fast and free shipping are win-wins. Lastly, don’t forget to acknowledge the winner publicly so people see that it isn’t a gimmick. Better yet, have the winner create a post or video that you can share so it has a more authentic touch.
5. Host Q&A or AMA Sessions
Question & Answer (Q&A) or Ask Me Anythings (AMAs) have long been a staple of traditional interviews and sites like Reddit, but they’re rapidly becoming more mainstream across social media. For example, Instagram recently released a new story sticker that allows followers to ask questions within their stories, that many are using in an AMA style. Because these formats have a live or recent quality to them, they’re alluring to audiences of all types. Naturally, the more time people spend interacting with your brand, the more trust and rapport you can build – which inevitably will lead to more attention and sales.
6. Share Influencer Content
Blogger and influencer outreach is all about finding relevant influencers to align with your brand. Start by leveraging marketing tools to find what content in your niche is getting the most engagement, and determine who’s creating it. Then, get noticed by sharing their content, engaging with it, or directly reaching out with a short pitch or offer. Once you’ve established an influencer is a fit for your brand and goals, then you can simply invite them to share your content.
7. Ask Questions and Utilize CTAs
If you want action, you’ve got to ask for it. It’s truly that easy. A properly-placed call-to-action (CTA) will encourage readers to engage with you further. First, show prospects how you can make their life better or address a pain point. Speak to their emotions, and you can’t go wrong. Then, hit them with a CTA that’s simple, specific, and a gradual next step. Typically, these steps involve moving them from your social media page to interacting with your content or taking them to a landing page on your site.To build engagement, ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. These questions usually start with “why,” and the best are thought-provoking or slightly controversial to encourage people to share their opinions. Create “fill in the blank” or “caption this photo” prompts to engage your audience on a creative level that makes them feel involved. Futurism, a science and technology news site, famously does this on their popular Instagram stories.
8. Engage With Others
How you interact with your audience is a critical component of how your brand is perceived. A positive perception is typically marked by lots of engagement and a dialogue that’s positive and lighthearted. Thank them, compliment them, or offer assistance in some way.Naturally, there will be some negative comments and engagement, but the best way to handle that is to pick your battles, keep your responses short and sweet, and point them toward an FAQ resource or bring the negative conversation out of the public eye.
9. Utilize Images, GIFs, and Videos
Adding visual elements to your content is one of the best ways to make your post stand out in social media feeds, partly because people are better at remembering visual content. For example, if you hear a piece of information, three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. But if you add a picture to it, it can boost retention up to 65%. Visual storytelling is best served by ditching stock visual content and creating your own instead. People gravitate toward original content, and usually perceive stock imagery as spammy and distasteful. Even just snapping your own photos, adding a light filter, and superimposing text over it can create highly-shareable content.
10. Share Surveys and Polls
Posting surveys and polls on Twitter and Facebook is easy, and it’s a great way to stoke engagement and learn meaningful info about your audience. Plus, with enough of a reach, you can generate original content by surveying your audience (and sharing the results later). Instagram even has a sticker layer that allows users or brands to get near-instant feedback from their audience on ideas for new products and features.
11. Post Frequently and at the Right Times
According to a 2018 industry research report from Sprout Social, the best times to post on Facebook are Wednesdays from 12-2 PM and Thursdays from 1-2 PM. Twitter’s sweet spot is Friday from 9-10 AM or between 10 AM and noon most days. To maximize these guidelines, automate your social media posts using a tool like Buffer, or at the very least schedule them out in advance with a tool like CoSchedule.
12. Ask For Feedback
A fast and easy way to get your followers talking is to simply ask their opinions. People have no shortage of opinions, and are usually quick to share their feedback and suggestions when asked. You can also pair this with giveaways to really get people talking. Free shipping, free dessert, or a hefty discount code can go a long way toward getting people to open up.
13. Don’t Discount Live Video
35% of marketers are now using live video to reach their intended audience, partly because they garner more engagement than non-live videos. On Facebook, live videos have an average engagement rate of 4.3%, compared to non-live video content at 2.2%. That’s nearly twice the engagement – and the best part is you don’t have to do any editing or add any graphics; just point and shoot.
14. Partner Up and Cross-promote
One of the quickest ways to generate more engagement and simultaneously reach a wider audience is to cross-promote by partnering up with another brand. Obviously, you’ll want to find someone who isn’t a direct competitor, but is still industry-adjacent enough to have a similar audience. Once you’ve found a partner, you’ve got a few options:
Post content supplied by your new partner
Co-produce a piece of content that you both share
Create a post on behalf of your new partner
Besides partnering with other companies, you can also cross-promote other social media channels. Tweet a picture of your Snapchat page, or remind people on Instagram to check out your Pinterest page.
15. Utilize Paid Promotion
If you want to reach a larger audience and drive more engagement, it doesn’t get much easier or faster than paid promotion. The hard part is finding the perfect combination of ad copy, landing pages, headlines, and offerings. Luckily, the internet is riddled with “how to” guides on successful paid promotion.While all this social media optimization seems like a lot of work, remember, a whopping 94% of prospects are active on some form of social media, making the juice absolutely worth the squeeze. You can’t afford not to have some form of social media presence – and if you’re going to do it at all, you’ve got to make sure you do it right.How are you winning the war for attention and engagement on social media?Share your story and tactics in the comments below:
5 Customer Retention Strategies to Achieve Substantial Growth
All companies want to grow, but not all of them know the best way to go about it. Real growth is all about maximizing the lifetime value of your customers. But to do that, it’s essential to go beyond the initial conversion and take a comprehensive look at your funnel as a whole. Unfortunately, one […]
All companies want to grow, but not all of them know the best way to go about it. Real growth is all about maximizing the lifetime value of your customers. But to do that, it’s essential to go beyond the initial conversion and take a comprehensive look at your funnel as a whole. Unfortunately, one of the most frequently-overlooked sections of the funnel is retention. If you want to maximize the lifetime value of your customers and amplify your growth, you need to deploy an enhanced focus on retention. That means focusing equally on acquiring new customers and making more money from your existing ones. There are many benefits to this strategy. An enhanced focus on retention reduces marketing costs, boosts conversion rates, and increases profits. In fact, according to research from Bain & Company, increasing customer retention by even 5% can increase profits by 25-95%. Here are 5 top customer retention strategies you can add to your playbook to increase retention rates and achieve substantial growth.
1. Post-Purchase Email Automation
Email marketing is one of the best tools for acquiring new customers, but not enough companies are using it to market to existing customers. According to a report from Manta and BIA Kelsey, 61% of small businesses surveyed said that more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers rather than new customers. Who better to purchase again than those you’ve qualified and converted before? The goal of post-purchase email automation is to increase engagement and loyalty through calculated nurturing: ‘calculated’, because not all customers are the same. Besides buying from you, they may have little else in common, so the best way to stay in front of them is to segment your customer list. Segmenting allows you to send more relevant emails based on behavioral, demographic, and geographic characteristics. Arguably, the best way to segment customers is by engagement, because that allows you to customize the automation based on whether or not they have opened certain emails, if they have clicked on specific links within emails, or converted through specific emails. Having a “hot” or “cold” email list can really help craft targeted email campaigns so you use the right language and tactics to turn them into repeat customers. Some common campaigns include:
Follow-up campaigns, where you ask for customers’ feedback on their experience, check in to see if they have questions, or recommend helpful resources based on the products they purchased in the past.
Reactivation campaigns, which focus on turning cold or disengaged customers into active customers by sharing inspiring content like blog posts and case studies, or recommending exclusive or best-selling merchandise related to what they bought before.
“Hail Mary” campaigns, a last resort for extremely cold leads, which consist of throwing out large discount codes, free loss-leader products, or exclusive content they can’t find anywhere else, in the hopes that these deals are “too good to pass up,” bringing them to the warm lead list again.
2. Deploy Account Based Management
According to Forrester research, it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than to retain your current customers. One of the best ways to retain customers is through account based management, which is a tailored approach to customer service where each account has a single point of contact. With account based management, accounts get personalized service that focuses on individual consumers’ needs and goals. The role of the Customer Success Manager (CSM) is positioned not as a vendor but as an extension of the customer’s team. This approach has added benefits, such as:
Allowing you to stay in front of customer issues and pain points that cause churn.
Making it easier to upsell and grow average revenue per customer.
Better comprehension of the disparity of success among accounts by having a baseline comparison of data.
Account based management isn’t cost effective or scalable for all products and services, but it can be especially useful for high-priced products, subscription services, key accounts, and enterprise solutions.
Millennials are leading the revolution in customer success, and companies not conforming are suffering when it comes to retention. In fact, Business Wire found that 74% of millennials decide to switch retailers if they receive poor customer service. It’s no longer good enough to offer multiple ways for customers to vent their frustrations, make suggestions, and troubleshoot problems. You’ve also got to show that you’re listening and responding quickly. Tesla is one of a handful of companies leading the charge in delivering on their promise to provide timely customer support. For example, when one Tesla owner complained on Twitter about people leaving their cars parked in charging stations after they were fully charged, which resulted in long lines, the company responded promptly. In just six days, Tesla CEO Elon Musk released an official statement and policy update that included an idling fee, which was rolled out in order to make superchargers more available. That kind of immediate response to feedback sparks fierce loyalty and goes a long way towards not only retaining current customers, but creating new ones.
4. Continually Update and Innovate
Customer expectations are at an all-time high, and nothing kills your retention rate like a lack of innovation and growth. These days, companies have to reframe the way they approach serving customers by anticipating future needs and challenges. Once they have a good grasp of their customers’ pain points and needs, then they can go about finding innovative ways to solve them. Take the meditation app Headspace as an example. Headspace diversified its core product to include a partnership with 11 different airlines to offer in-flight meditation channels. At many airports, the company added phone booth-style relaxation pods so travelers can relax and meditate in high-stress areas. Now Headspace even offers a meditation app for kids and has partnered with Nike to offer sports meditation content. Dedication and innovation like that builds loyalty, facilitates growth, and creates an immensely enjoyable customer experience, one that’s skyrocketed Headspace to 500,000+ subscribers and an estimated valuation of $250 million.
5. Grow Your Ecosystem
Every company has its core product or service, but those companies that value retention are constantly looking for ways to boost the lifetime value of their customers. One such tactic is to offer multiple product lines and value-added features, which increases average revenue per customer and promotes stickiness. Apple is an excellent example of a company using an expanded ecosystem of products to promote retention. It does this with both its physical and digital products. In the last couple of years, Apple’s iOS loyalty has reached an astonishing 85-88%. Apple’s ecosystem is so large that the average American household has at least 2.6 Apple products. Loyal customers take it a step further by investing in specific iOS applications, iTunes music, storage space, and much more. Customers investing so heavily in Apple products also makes it much more difficult for them to switch brands. The amount of money and time lost by switching from Apple over to a competitor is substantial enough to make consumers think twice. That’s why diversifying across multiple products and services can not only benefit your customers, but also boost your retention numbers and facilitate growth. Retention is far from another word for loyalty. Retention is the measured frequency by which a current customer keeps on doing business with your company. Loyalty, on the other hand, is a measurement of that same customer’s predisposition to choose your business as their top preference. Attracting a customer a second time around means they are technically retained, but the real reason they return isn’t because of their loyalty to your company, but rather some other factor such as selection, shipping terms, or pricing. So, while the ultimate goal should be focusing strategically on retention and maximizing lifetime customer value, you should also seek out opportunities along the way to make your customers loyal as well. To do that, you’ve got to constantly innovate, listen to feedback and implement action quickly, expand your product ecosystem, and treat your customers as partners who you want to see succeed. If you master these essential strategies, you’ll continually earn their business, their respect, and their loyalty. What retention strategies have had the biggest impact on your business? Tell us in the comments below:
5 New Ways to Get a Better Pulse on Your B2B Customers
How to Uncover Your Customers Wants and Needs While Improving Your B2B Relationship Most marketers do a decent job at understanding their key customer personas and how to nurture these leads towards a converted sale. However, much of the knowledge about your customer demographic is formulated early on at your startup and hardly gets re-visited through the product’s life […]
How to Uncover Your Customers Wants and Needs While Improving Your B2B Relationship
Most marketers do a decent job at understanding their key customer personas and how to nurture these leads towards a converted sale. However, much of the knowledge about your customer demographic is formulated early on at your startup and hardly gets re-visited through the product’s life cycle, unless there are serious implications for revenue. But customer preferences, just like our own, can change on an annual or even monthly basis. You should pay special attention to customer preferences because user attrition (or churn) can make or break a business. This is especially true if your B2B, because the customer base is smaller and deal sizes are larger, which means that losing one customer can mean losing a significant part of their total revenue. Since B2B companies do not have the same level of social media engagement and feedback that B2C companies can deploy, B2B businesses need to be more strategic about capturing useful data and providing low friction methods of gathering customer feedback. So how do you get a better pulse on your customers? Here’s a collection of the top five strategies for understanding your B2B customers better:
1. Tracking & Analyzing Customer Inquiry Calls
A lot of businesses are now allowing customers to call and text their business. Are you one of them? Allowing for “on-demand” access to your business strengthens your relationship with your customer, thus helping you keep them around longer. On the B2C side, instant messaging apps like Whatsapp are allowing businesses to interact with their customers directly via the chat app. On the other hand, more B2B companies are deploying “white glove” customer support and sales experiences as a key differentiator in the industry. It’s more important than ever to understand every call and text from customers to get an accurate gauge of where the knowledge gaps are, what customers are looking for, and how happy they are with your product or service.
Call Tracking Tools
During the sales process, call tracking tools provide users with caller analytics similar to Google Analytics for web traffic.You can track details from any inbound call to your sales and support agents. A simple call tracking app like CallRail and Call Tracking Metrics, can provide details including the caller’s location, the ad that they’re calling about, and attributed to your ad campaign all in real-time. Agents on the line can also use this information to better prepare for the call to improve customer experience.
Phone Support Inquiry Tracking
For support inquiries, web-based call center apps like Talkdesk and Five9 can help track and monitor your call center efficiencies in real-time. Each call is recorded on the cloud so that your team can review them anytime for direct customer feedback. These apps can also provide your team with analytics including call duration’s, speed to answer, and locations of callers for both your entire team and agent specific metrics.Not only will these analytics give you a better sense of what your customers are asking for, but also give you better insight into how your sales and support teams are addressing customer issues.
2. Lower the Friction of Customer Support Inquiries
Many companies have been built on great customer experience. And many well known entrepreneurs, including Jay Baer who just came out with his new book, “Hug Your Haters,” have said that we should be talking to our customers every day, especially those who are unhappy with your service. However, delivering great customers experiences is definitely easier said than done. Even though we know that great service can reduce customer attrition and extend the lifetime of a customer and increasing revenue, many B2B companies still only provide the minimum support mechanisms, such as email. Providing information and resources to customers up front can help streamline your support process so that only business critical tickets are submitted. Fortunately, there are many affordable customer support and feedback tools that can be implemented rather quickly. Apps such as Olark can sit on your product page and act as the direct portal to your customer support or sales team. Think of it as a chat box for your customers that’s connected directly to a live agent on your support team. Not only are you able to help customers solve issues in real-time, you’re also able to gather data from the platform to find out the most commonly asked questions and concerns so that your team can better prepare for future customer inquiries. Keep in mind that since this type of customer interaction is extremely low friction, the amount of spam inquiries and poor fit leads may also increase drastically. Manage this by providing your support team with well documented call scripts and templates to common questions. This can help speed up replies and streamline resolutions.
3. Analyze FAQ and Site Searches
Knowing what your customers are looking for on your site is just as, or even more, important than knowing how your customers found your site (i.e., SEO). To do this in Google Analytics, log in and go to Reporting -> Behavior -> Site Search -> Overview and, if you’ve got search up and running on your site it will look something like this: Even though there is a steady trend towards users texting, chatting, and calling businesses, there will always be a significant portion of your customers that only want self-served info such as FAQs, documentation, white papers, e-books, etc. Customers don’t ask for this type of thing out loud, but it’s your job to see the trend in demand and provide the solution. If 10 people a day are asking the same question in your live chat, it’s time to put up a standalone page that answers that question, and maybe even consider linking to it from the homepage, or menu. Remember, no matter how well your site is designed, it needs to be constantly updated and improved as more data comes in. Of course, some businesses may want to keep certain information to direct sales inquiries. But remember to direct them to sales when that is the case. For example, instead of returning “question not found” when a customer searches for volume pricing, you can guide them to a specific landing page with a call to action that indicates they need to contact sales. A kind of “dummy” page that just answers the inquiry with a “call us to find out” answer.
You don’t have search on your website?
There are a few ways you can add intelligent search to your website. The simplest way is to add customer search engine with a few lines of code from Google. But for better analytics and built in features, you may want to consider implementing Google Site Search or a similar service like Swiftype. Both of these services offer many out-of-box features to help analyze on-site search traffic, but regardless of which type of service you choose, be sure to pay attention to these key features.
4. Build a Community Forum
Providing a medium for customers to voice their opinions is a great way to not only identify issues in your system, but also bring out the champions of your product. The most vocal customers are typically ones with issues or those who are extremely satisfied. However, these polarizing views can skew your perception of what the customers actually want, need, and most importantly, willing to pay for. Therefore, it’s important to moderate your community forums and provide topics that will help your team answer important product decisions.For example, FreshDesk has a very active community forum, they have over 1900 feature requests alone. Categories like “feature requests” and “road map” show users that their requests are being heard and when they can expect their features to be deployed.If having a dedicated forum is too much work, then you can always use a tool like Disqus, which seamlessly adds a commenting box at the bottom any page that could drive customer feedback. For example, adding a commenting box on your company blog can engage your customers in how they felt about your latest news or product release. Allowing commenting on FAQs also helps you identify answers that may be unclear or knowledge gaps that need to be filled. Just remember, opening up your website to public opinions can lead to spam and nonconstructive comments, so be sure to protect your site by installing an anti-spam service such as Akismet. Similar to the spam filters installed on your browser, anti-spam services pools together millions of site data and analyzes them in real time to identify spam and block attacks to your site.
5. Find Your Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measurement for customer satisfaction and often referred to as the most important metric for any business. Even though the NPS is often used for B2C, this metric can also be a key way to help B2B businesses measure customer loyalty. Typically, each purchase is an opportunity for businesses to ask the all encompassing question of “How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?”However, for B2B sales cycles, it’s likely that you would only have one purchase opportunity in the entire buying cycle to ask this question. Therefore, we must create opportunities to gather this feedback.The good thing is that there are services that help you survey customers in an user friendly low friction way. Enter Delighted and Qualaroo, these are survey services that allow you to engage your customers and collect feedback quantitatively without the hassle of charting data points yourself. Delighted is a simple email survey tool that measures customer satisfaction at the critical moments in the customer buying cycle such as post-purchase, after issue resolution, or at whatever event that makes sense for your business. Qualaroo is a survey tool that sits directly on your website. You can control the questions that you want to ask and the pages that you want to engage your customers. Both of these applications not only engage your customers in just a few clicks, but it also simplifies your process of gathering the same type of information through direct customer conversations.
Getting a better pulse on your customer satisfaction is a no brainer, but it’s also important to first decide what to measure, when to measure, and what to do with all this customer feedback that you’ve collected. NPS is just one of many metrics that you should pay attention to, but it’s also important to know what is important to your business. For example, successful startups need to be highly focused on what works, so gathering and implementing all customer feature requests can be counter productive to growth. Another important aspect to keep in mind is who the feedback is coming from. For most B2B businesses, the person that’s interfacing with your product on a daily basis is likely not the same person that has made the original purchasing decision. And because of this, the person who’s often interacting with your support team can have different incentives for feedback than someone who’s commenting on your new product release on your blog. This is why it’s important to provide multiple mediums for capturing customer feedback. Support tickets are imperative for direct customer issues, NPS surveys are a good general measure for customer satisfaction, and customer forums can be great for feature requests and issues that you may not have thought of. Keep in mind, these strategies are focused on feedback efficiency, but there’s a better way: interviewing your customers directly on a regular basis. Platforms like chat and surveying tools can help foster and collect on-going data points, but scheduling calls with your most satisfied (and least satisfied) customers should be part of any customer engagement strategy.
Senior Global Product Marketing Manager
Lucy Zhao is product marketing lead at Pilvo, a global SMS and voice call services company. She is an MIT alumni, entrepreneur, and tech evangelist.