The following is a guest post by Peter Banerjea.
Social Media teams are always trying to find new ways to boost engagement levels.
You might have already exhausted tactics such as changing your posting times, using more trending hashtags, curating influencers’ work and tagging them and so on.
What can you do next to grow your engagement even further?
You need to go deeper and revise your social media processes. Here are five unconventional strategies for boosting your social media engagement.
1. Be Agile
The effectiveness of any social media tactic depends on several factors – the audience profile, the industry, timing, current social media reach and so on.
How do you know which tactics will work best for you?
The only way to find out is to actually implement it. That’s why using an agile approach is an excellent way to manage social media.
In agile, you don’t have a rigid long-term plan for an entire year or even a quarter. Instead, you have short sprints, lasting for a week or two, where you implement a specific set of tactics. At the end of the sprint the team evaluates what worked and what didn’t, based on a predetermined set of metrics, such as shares, click-throughs, sales and so on.
For the next sprint, you modify your approach based on the findings from the previous sprint. Do more of what worked, reduce what did not and experiment with new tactics.
Another key principle of agile is customer focus. The agile methodology is designed for staying in tune with shifting customer needs. Therefore, it’s extremely effective for staying in sync with continually shifting trends on social media. More about this in the next point.
2. Work Closely with Sales and Support
The better you understand your audience’s needs, aspirations and challenges, the more impactful your social media campaigns will resonate with those needs.
Customer needs keep changing all the time – based on developments in technology, laws, economic events, social factors and so on. That’s why doing audience research just once a year won’t cut it.
An excellent way to stay in touch with shifts is to work closely with those people who are talking to your customers every day – your sales and support teams. Here are a few ways to do that.
Attend sales and support meetings at least once a month. Customer needs and challenges are actively discussed in these forums and you want to be in the know. Ask them questions about recent developments and changes in customer preferences.
Attend inside sales calls and support calls. Attending cobrowsing sessions is a great way to gather insights from multiple calls quickly. Calls involving cobrowsing shed a lot of light on how much customers know about your product and their level of knowledge about the domain you are in. This information is valuable for keeping your personas updated.
If you have an outside sales team, try to get approval to attend sales meetings every now and then. Go to industry events that your audience attends. Listening to prospects and customers talk is the best way to understand them better.
3. Study Viral Video Campaigns
The most widely shared content on the internet is video content. In 2017, three of the top five pieces of content on Facebook were videos.
And even though video is primarily a B2C marketing tool, there’s plenty that B2B marketers can learn from – even if video is not a part of your marketing arsenal.
Innovators like Steve Jobs, Marc Benioff (Salesforce) and Elon Musk all have one thing in common – they have all derived inspiration from a wide variety of sources that are unrelated to their core business areas. Therefore, the point of studying videos is not to create videos, but to learn more about successful marketing campaigns.
Studying how brands are engaging with their audiences through video will help you develop brilliant ideas about how to connect with people. It will also help you evaluate your marketing fundamentals, such as your positioning strategy.
For example, Barbie’s Imagine The Possibilities Campaign got more than 25 million views on YouTube and nearly 40,000 Facebook interactions. This video was part of a major repositioning campaign to project Barbie as an inspirational brand that encourages girls to think about their futures. The video inspired little girls to dream about careers, and the audience in general to rethink gender roles by showing little girls working as paleontologists, veterinarians, professors, etc.
Use these video case studies to ask important questions within your marketing team – How are people viewing your brand on social media? Are you targeting the right audiences? How can you use emotion to increase engagement on your social channels?
4. Sync with your Marketing Communications Strategy
Social media is not just about generating leads, building your brand or an additional channel for providing support. It also plays a key role in media relations.
The lines between social media and PR are blurring. Your social media feeds are one of the first places journalists and bloggers will check out while researching your company. A large percentage of your customers and audience will also go to your social channels for news and updates.
For example, this recent tweet from Salesforce mentions Marc Benioff talking about companies embracing digital transformation.
This is exactly the sort of analytical story that contemporary marketing communications is about. Journalists want to write insight-rich stories, not product-heavy pieces.
It’s vital to sync your marketing communications strategy with your social media strategy. Consistent messaging is vital for your brand’s credibility – and consequently your engagement.
Your social media team should have some training in public relations. PR fundamentals will help them craft better messages on social channels and respond appropriately to questions from journalists and bloggers. Ideally your PR team or external PR agency should work with your social media team to create a set of guidelines and protocols for social media.
5. Connect the Dots
Creating a social media strategy involves taking inputs from several sources – within and outside the company. The challenge lies in making sense of all the different inputs to generate powerful campaign ideas that will drive the most engagement.
These decisions require a combination of analytics, creativity and intuition – somewhat like investing in the stock market. There are two skills that can make a substantial difference to the quality of your decisions.
The first skill is the ability to focus. As Cal Newport points out in the book Deep Work, people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, JK Rowling and numerous successful people isolate themselves while producing their best work.
Eliminate interruptions and distractions while devising social media ideas. Isolate yourself for a few hours and switch off all notifications across all your devices. Allowing your brain to easily absorb and process the inputs will allow you to create far better ideas.
The second is the ability to use your memory to connect the dots. Follow these tips for improving your memory. This will help your brain remember and put together all the relevant information you have gathered from different sources (your sales team, video campaigns, twitter analytics, etc.) and arrive at better conclusions and decisions.
In my experience as a former leadership coach, nurturing these two skills can work wonders for your analytical and creative skills. Do give it a try!
These strategies might not be conventional, but they stick to a few core principles of marketing success – customer focus, adaptability and analysis.
Each of these strategies requires you to invest time in a research and experimenting with new social media processes. However, if you want extraordinary growth, you certainly need to go beyond the conventional. And these strategies will go a long way in helping you meet your goals.
About the Author
Peter Banerjea is Co-Founder of Startup Voyager, a blog about startup growth stories and also a content marketing agency. His work has appeared in top blogs like Entrepreneur, Inc., HuffPost, Fast Company and Lifehacker. He has also delivered numerous speaking engagements for organizations such as British Telecom, AXA, Kuoni, IHS Markit, JCB, GKN, etc.