While social media is real time in nature, we share, talk, and engage in the moment, long-term engagement should be the goal of every social interaction. Keeping the attention of your social and advocate audience requires diligence and consistency, but more importantly, an understanding of who your audience is and what is compelling to them, both to engage not only these consumers, but to reach prospects like them as well.
The “brand newsroom” is a concept that has received a lot of press lately, and while there is certainly proven value in using short-term interests to hold attention in the long term, many niche and smaller consumer brands find the “newsroom” to be out of reach.
By using advocate and social audience insights to inform a topical strategy, you can build a program that engages in real time with a focus on long-term relationships.
- Know Who Your Consumer Advocates Are: How old are they? What is their income? What are they likely to be interested in? Where are they coming from?
- Acknowledge and Thank Those Who are Most Influential: Follow your most engaged fans. Those who are vocal about your brand deserve the validation of a follow or a personal touch. They also can be a helpful insight into the specific interests of your brand influencers.
- Understand Where Your Audience is Sharing: Are they on Reddit, Pinterest, personal blogs, and/or forums? Understand where you are being talked about to tailor content to engage those audiences to share further and reach out to site owners where you can.
- Understand What Content You Create Today has Lift Through Consumer Sharing. Take note of what is being shared and create more around that topic area, content type, and style.
- Stay Current: Know what’s going on, most specifically, within the interests of your influencers and social audience.
- Be Authentic: Just because something is trending, does not make it relevant. Use your understanding of your audience to identify their interests and understand what topics are adjacent to your brand and industry. For example, if you are a sports brand, the birth of the Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s (Kimye for those in the know) baby is likely not as interesting to your audience as the Stanley Cup finals.
- Understand Every Event You Talk About: Be a part of the dialogue if you belong there. “Culture jacking” something that is deeply personal or sensitive can backfire. Be personal, but don’t be presumptuous, and always be polite.
Use your data to understand your audience and serve topical content that is personally relevant to them and, therefore, those who are also likely to be interested in you. Current events should be part of your overall strategy, but should not be seen in a vacuum. Don’t get caught looking too narrow; you do want to be accessible, but going too broad just creates noise and can actually dilute interest.
Use all the social platforms your audience uses, but don’t limit yourself just to social platforms. Understand which blogs, resource sites, and forums your fans are using. If your advocates are sharing a lot of tutorials, consider creating “how-to” videos to reach and engage them further, and to reach more prospects and advocates like them.
Reach out to sites that seed your content with new posts, contests, and features. Offer advocates a chance to create content. Inviting your users to help you create content can drive reach and ease the burden on your own team. In fact, our own data at Rio SEO Social shows user generated content is shared 10 times more.
By engaging your advocates and social audience with relevant and targeted content in real time, you can build long-term relationships. Don’t be afraid to have fun, but don’t get hung up on what everyone else is doing. Be topical, but be relevant to those who matter.
Brands are people too – an amalgam of their marketers, products, services, advocates, content, employees, and consumers. If you don’t understand your consumer, you are missing the mark. The whole world is not your consumer, no matter how much we wish that were true.