Let’s talk about relationships. What kind of relationship would it be if the parties never spoke to each other? Never listened? Were only interested in getting their point-of-view across? The answer is not a very good one. We measure how comfortable we are with others based on how connected we feel to them. The more comfortable we are, the more likely we are to want to have future interactions. Do they listen keenly when we talk? Maintain eye contact? Are they friendly in their tone and body language? These considerations are the same when forming relationships in the digital realm.

The aim is to maintain mutually beneficial relationships between your brand and your online following. The more you engage with them, the more connected they feel to you (and therefore to your products and/or services). The nature of your relationship must be one in which they feel regarded, respected and interested. Here are five tips for keeping the flame lit between your brand and your beloved followers.

1. Do Plan. Strategy is Key.

It doesn’t help to be haphazard. The first order of business in engaging your online following is to know who your ideal clients are! You identify your ideal customer by thinking about factors such as where they live, what they do, their interests and more. This exercise serves to give direction to make sure that your marketing strategy appeals to this demographic. By finding the people that naturally find your content, product or service interesting you increase the chances of making a meaningful connection and making that sale!

2. Don’t Be Boring.

Content Counts. Now that you know their interests, think about the main value you deliver to your audience and be sure to communicate that. Don’t be the quiet shy teen in the corner of the room afraid of engaging or of others engaging her. That doesn’t mean that you should be the obnoxiously loud and crazy party-goer either. What it means is that you should craft content that is interesting to your ideal demographic and present it in ways that intrigues. Visual identity plays a big role here. Think of your purpose and make your presence known.

3. Don’t be egocentric.

Social Media isn’t just a notice board. You need high quality content that brings actual value to your clients. There will be a natural inclination to focus on what you want to say, but there must be balance between what your following wants to hear and what you want to say. When preparing content a ratio of 80% (of content relating to their interests) to 20% (your brand focus and promotions) is a good rule of thumb. People share things that are helpful or engaging to others. They don’t share to sell. Getting your business information out is important, but not more important than having an audience that actually listens to it.

4. Do Serve Your Customers. Actually Engage.

This one should be obvious, but so many let it fall to the wayside. Use your social media platform as an extension of your customer service department; respond to comments, direct messages and mentions quickly. The tone you use is dependent on your brand. While all brands should be respectful, some brands can be more liberal in their responses while others must maintain a strict air of professionalism. For example, you wouldn’t expect the same tone from an amusement park as from a government agency. Admittedly, it can be challenging to keep up with customer engagement on all your social media platforms. Luckily tools like Hootsuite or Buffer offer opportunity to track multiple social media streams and zone in on the parts that matter most. This makes it much easier to track and respond to follower activity. The more responsive you are, the more valued your followers will feel, and the more engaged they will become.

5. Do give a Call to Action.

When likes and shares translate to actions in the physical realm, you know your brand is making an impact. Encourage your followers to engage with your brand in real life. Consider running contests that ask your followers to snap a pic of themselves using your product or service, and offering a discount for the fan with the most creative picture. You can also run campaigns that encourage them to do something that communicates one of your brand values. Though this option isn’t directly related to sales, you have now included followers in the telling of your brand’s story. Another idea is to embed a feedback mechanism into your responses; ask for reviews and be sure to express gratitude.

All in all, when seeking to increase engagement think of the golden rule: care. Express genuine interest and offer real support to your following.

We know you have the best intentions for your brand and your following and we would love to help! At Digita, we aim to create enchanting and engaging experiences for our clients and their following. See some of our awesome work here.

About The Author

Kemal is a serial entrepreneur and motivational speaker. He loves digital media, is a certified techie and re-incarnated lion (or so he tells himself). He trains executives, mentors entrepreneurs, and heads up a soon to be well-known company called Digita Global Marketing Ltd.