A Guide To Hardening Your Social Media Traffic And Engagement

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Robert Downey Jr. is a social media beast. He is funny, quick-witted, personal, and knows exactly what his over 22 million Facebook followers want. For example, among his latest posts are samples of fans’ (funny, ugly, crazy) photoshopped photos of him while having his photo taken for a driver’s license renewal. The guy surely knows how to get with it. And oh, he gets what he wants, too. He was “Festival Hero” at the Toronto Film Festival after his latest movie got the most social media buzz. Talk about social media engagement at its finest.

Photo courtesy of techlicious.com via Pinterest

Photo courtesy of techlicious.com via Pinterest

Social is the most active happening on the Internet now with 74% of users using social media websites. The Social Media Update of the Pew Research Internet Project shows that even people aged 65 and up have also signed up. If you want a fast and consistent “return of engagement” as a social marketer, you have to realize how diverse your audience is — it is not bound by age, gender, race or social status. Everyone is on social media and if you get them to check you out, you might as well be your own Robert Downey Jr. in the field of social media marketing.

Set your goals
Before you go crazy measuring social media activities and their efficacy, you have to know which areas in the social media metrics you want to improve first — subscribers, views, likes, comments, traffic, engagement or sales — and by how much. Challenge yourself but be realistic. Share this with your team so you are all on the same page and working on the same set of priorities.

Get personal
Think about the premise of social networking — it is about bringing people together and strengthening relationships. It is about people. Reach out to them and they will never let go of your grip. For example, if you are a company selling digital cameras, ask your followers to post photos of their best holiday memory. Choose the best ones, acknowledge them, and see your social media engagement pick up. Fans like to feel special.

You may also post pictures of your team, a video tour of your office, and create Facebook events so your followers will know that you are not a robot.

On Twitter, say “hi” when you reply to their tweets. Check out their bio and see what interests them. This will give you direction when it comes to creating content that your followers will appreciate. A simple video greeting for a mention or re-tweet is not too much to ask either.
Participate in discussions and answer questions. Learn how to deal with bad press and criticisms. In short, talk to your followers.

Find your audience
Getting personal also means getting to know your audience better like which social media platform they are on, what time they are usually online, and what content they like re-reposting. This will make your job easier as you will know what to post, when to post, and where to post. For example, if you want to talk political, Twitter is a more active platform. For lifestyle and gossip, Facebook is the way to go.

Be creative and emotional
Ranged against the many companies turning to social media marketing strategies to boost awareness and loyalty, it is important that you stand out. Create shareable content — something funny, shocking, useful, and even content that will make your blood boil in anger. Draft as many headlines as you can, re-edit them, then choose the most emotional one. It is okay to keep your followers hanging like “…and you won’t believe what will happen next.” There also seems to be a list for everything and they seem to work all the time so join the bandwagon while it is fun.

Trend with hashtags

Photo courtesy of socialmediatoday.com via Pinterest

Photo courtesy of socialmediatoday.com via Pinterest

Hashtags are a great way to promote your brand. It helps people find stuff and connect to people doing the same stuff like a hobby or a cause. These are essentially keywords that will help people find you faster and vice-versa.

One important guide to social media marketing is to keep your hashtags short and simple and don’t overdo it. Surely a tweet like “Just finished my #5kmrun around the #village with my #bff. #BestRunEver #MorningRoutine #TimeToRest” will just annoy everyone. An infographic by socialcaffeine.com, shows that tweets with hashtags receive twice as much engagement compared to those without. However, when tweets come with more than two hashtags, engagement rates decrease by 17% while keeping it at a maximum of two increases engagement by 21%.

If you are intent on reaching “trend heaven,” make your hashtag personal like something your followers would complete like #MyHighSchoolCrush if you are a woman or company. Be witty and funny. Put yourself in the shoes of your followers and ask yourself: is this hashtag something you will use?

Engagement is at the heart of social marketing. Social media metrics will just be numbers without engagement based on relevance, influence, and trust. There are a lot of strategies you can do as a marketer but in all these, remember that it should be all about your followers. Give them what they want and what they need and they will give you the brand spotlight that you want.


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Author: Kimberly Grimms

Kimberly is a futurist and a writer. She writes about business, marketing and technology. Circle her on Google+ and follow her @kimberlygrimms

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