4 Surefire Ways to Engage Prospects and Customers Through Social Media Content

When you read your social feeds, how many posts do you just gloss over (and glaze over) because you know there is a 99% chance they will say nothing of interest? I bet it’s a high number.

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If I just look at my own Facebook friends and likes, probably less than half ever post something that is exciting or interesting.  As a small business, it is important to generate a loyal following.  Pay particular attention to the word “loyal.”  Anyone with some time can quickly establish a following — but it takes much more to earn loyalty.  Loyal followers are engaged followers.  Engaged followers are more likely to become dedicated customers.  Give these basic ideas a try to help create engaging social media content:

1. Develop a Social Media Planning Calendar

It is a good practice to develop a planning calendar for your Social Media posts.  This helps ensure you are posting regular, relevant information to keep your followers engaged.  Of course, there will always be those spur-of-the-moment opportunities that will make for a great post — newsjacking (and holidays!) are examples. A planning calendar will help you stay on track. Even planning a week ahead can save you from overlooking great opportunities.

It’s really easy to create this calendar in Excel. Create a monthly spreadsheet template and tweak it month to month. Here’s an example from Nimble:

2. Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About

Interesting, informative or humorous content has a better chance of being shared, liked or generate comments.  This not only gives your post a greater reach, but it actively engages your followers and prompts them to interact with you or with others about your company.  Try to keep the focus off of directly selling your product.  Building a relationship with your followers will generally do that for you.  Consider posting about something that is not necessarily related to your company, but will generate responses:

“The chill is in the air and football season is in full swing.  What is your favorite thing about fall?”

“Sally in Customer Service has a great recipe for apple cider – check it out!”

3. Ask For an Opinion or Take a Vote

Social Media is a great way to gauge how customers view your products or services.  You can also use it as a way to entice them — people love to offer their opinion.  For example, photographs of scrumptious food tend to generate responses.  A restaurant, for example, might consider posting a photo of a new dish with the caption:

“Check out our Friday special.  Vote now — Do you think we should make this a regular menu item?”

This tactic for engagement can be used with new products, service offerings, or even expansion ideas:

“We’re thinking of adding a second location.  Where would you like to see us build another store?”

Many businesses use social media networks like LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter to gather honest opinions which they seriously consider when making critical decisions.

4. Tips and Advice Posts — And Don’t Forget the Links!

Tips and advice are usually among the most popular (and most shared!) posts.  If you have a website or blog, developing a full post and linking to it also helps generate traffic to your website.  When offering tips or advice, think about current events and how they relate to your business.  For instance, accountants may consider posting information on tax code changes as they occur. A pest control company may want to post ideas on how to minimize mosquitos around your home.  Don’t sell with your tips — rather provide informative advice your followers will look forward to reading and share with others. You can become a trusted source of information and people will remember that.

When it comes to social media, remember these two words:  regular and relevant.  If you can post relevant content on a regular basis, you have a better chance generating advocacy and evangelism for your brand.

Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications on behalf of a number of companies. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries. She is currently helping Spanning.com with content marketing.

Photo credit: James Vaughan