Engaging with Your Social Media Community
Strengthen your online community with regular engagement
As your community grows, it’s great to see members interacting not only with your brand but with each other. In order to encourage that kind of active participation, your company must lead by example and foster an environment that welcomes conversation and discussion. Making sure comments from your audience are addressed seems like a pretty obvious thing to do, yet it’s not uncommon to see a lack of two way communication between a brand and it’s audience. In order to have fans that are interested in engaging with you, you must be willing to engage with them as well.
Engagement can be categorized into four distinct types, all of which drive value for the members of your community: discussions around shared content, customer support queries, addressing negative sentiment, and proactive engagement. Proactive engagement means seeking out and responding to mentions of your brand even when your company isn’t tagged in the message, with a look to contribute to the conversation by answering a question or simply acknowledging the mention. Negative sentiment may include constructive feedback, disgruntled or hostile commentary, a pressing concern or simply spam. Whenever possible, try to address this type of feedback with grace and to the satisfaction of your customer and take the conversation to private messaging if necessary.
Be timely with your response. When it comes to customer service, 42% of social media users expect a response within 60 minutes. While that kind of speed may not be feasible for your business, make sure you have a process in place to monitor your social channels and to set aside time to interact with your followers. Even if you encounter a question to which you don’t have an answer, just be honest! It’s better to let someone know that you’ll have an answer for them soon than ignore them completely.
This kind of attention and nurturing is what will grow your prospects into customers, and your customers into brand champions. At the core of community is the principle of reciprocity, so the more time you spend providing value to your community members, the more likely they are to give back in a similar fashion.
Lastly, when speaking on behalf of your brand, always be guided by your brand’s voice and mission. While your tone may change from light-hearted, humorous, serious or urgent depending on the type of conversation you’re having, keep your core voice in mind for every interaction.
In summary, lead your community by example through engaging with its members on a consistent basis. Be prepared to deal with negative sentiment and aim to address customer concerns quickly. Be honest when you don’t have an answer and make sure to follow up when you do. Keep your brand voice in mind with every interaction and nurture your community by consistently providing value.