As a social media manager, I spend a lot of time on the social platforms – watching trends, posting for clients and mindlessly scrolling as most people do. One thing I’ve noticed lately is that people seem to be losing touch with the real purpose of social media.

Being social.

There’s nothing worse than seeing a social media account where followers have posted messages or questions, and no one has responded.

And it’s not just small business; I’ve seen it with some of the major players too.

It’s called social media for a reason – you need to be social people!

Why is social media engagement so important?

Have you noticed that many people have forgotten about the real reason for social media lately? With more and more ‘influencers’ coming onto the scene, people tend to care more about followers and likes rather than interacting with others.

Perhaps a reason Instagram made their somewhat controversial move to remove likes from posts…

Yes, having a large following offers the same kind of social proof that your business is amazing, kind of like what a celebrity endorsement or brilliant testimonial does. But what does it say about your business if you’re not ‘talking’ to your followers?

It’s a bit like having a one-sided conversation.

You’re sucking up all the compliments but giving nothing in return. It seems a tad selfish, yeah.

Staying social should be a key component of your marketing strategy. It’s the easiest way to build trust with your followers, and when they trust you, they are more likely to buy from you.

You’re a human. They are human. Interact as humans!

The top 3 ways to remain social with your followers

  1. Make sure you know your audience

If you have no idea who you’re interacting with, you’ll never nail your social media strategy. You need to spend some time immersing yourself in your customer’s world. What are their needs, their desires and their pain points? What do you see them struggling with?

Then you can look at how to use your social media to give them solutions to their problems.

If they’ve asked you a question, answer it. Don’t be precious with your knowledge and just go for sales. Some people need tonnes of reassurance before spending their money, so be patient, be helpful and be understanding.

  1. Treat social media like a party

I’m sure you’ve hosted a party before. You do all the planning and invite the guests. And what do you do when the guests arrive? Do you stand in another room and ignore them, or are you out there mingling, making sure everyone knows each other and is getting along?

If you’re standing alone in the other room, your party won’t be a success.

But if you’re engaging with your guests, it’s going to a party to remember. You’re making everyone feel welcome and reminding them that they’re at your party for a reason – you value them.

And part of being the host is connecting your guests. By knowing your guests, you’re in the position to be a wealth of knowledge and bring others together who may need each other.

It’s all about knowing your audience and communication. And of course, having some fun!

  1. Post valuable content over promotion

People don’t want to see promotion posts over and over in their newsfeed. Seriously, I think we all get a little freaked out when we’ve mentioned or Googled a product and then voila, there’s a sponsored post in our feed. Promos are constantly in our face.

We’re all humans with real issues. If your posts are helping people, giving them solutions and making them feel like you understand, they will be well received.

Make your information is attention-grabbing (use your words and graphics to help), share things you know will help your audience, and don’t be shy to share other people’s content that you think your audience will appreciate.

Start thinking outside your business and looking at what else you can do to help your audience.

For example:

  • If you’re a real estate agent, go beyond posting images of houses you’re selling. You can post things like trending interior design, housing market trends (when’s the best time to sell), little things that help you sell a house, checklists for moving day and so on.
  • If you’re an online clothing store, go beyond posting images of clothes you’re selling. You can post trending fashions, latest fashion shows, worst or best-dressed lists, the best colours for the season, what the celebs are wearing and so on.

Final tips on staying social on social media

If you’re looking for valuable content, jump on big, current trends. This helps you to instantly connect with your audience as those events are likely to be top of mind for them.

You also need to block out some time in your day to engage with your audience. Before you do your own scrolling to see what everyone is up to, look at your platforms, monitor engagement and respond to your followers.

As a social media manager, I know how time-consuming social media can be for some businesses. If you don’t have the time, engage a social media manager who’ll get to know your business and post/answer on your behalf.