Social media sounds simple: You just take a photo, write a creative caption, and post. Easy, right? Not so fast. Achieving real results, such as an ever-expanding base of followers, can be more challenging than it looks.
To gain these results, you need to create quality engagement with your brand. Doing so not only requires producing great content; that is, content that makes a personal connection with your audience.
Put simply: It’s not follower count alone that matters; it’s the number of engaged followers a brand has that’s important. If you engage with your current audience, then your followers will increase over time.
Here are four tips we use to ensure social media engagement:
1. Know who is following you.
A great way to determine exactly whom you should target is diving into each platform’s analytics and looking at the demographics of each follower base. Once you learn who is following you, create a strategy for each platform that targets your appropriate audience. Marketing to an 18-year-old female versus a 45-year-old male, for instance, should be quite different—even on the same social platform. Each medium has a different feel, purpose, and audience; your content and brand personality should reflect those differences.
Our Twitter audience, for example, is younger than our Facebook audience and each audience responds to content differently. We are constantly adjusting our voice as we learn what works and what doesn’t with our audiences.
2. Talk with your followers, not at them.
Nobody enjoys that person who comes to a party and either overshares with people he barely knows or takes over the conversation. Why do that on social?
When starting conversations on social media, focus on the quality of your interactions. Make sure they are intentional and relational. Not only will you create better engagement with your followers, but you will have more fun, too.
For example, we recently asked fans to share special life moments that they have in our stores. We found that our fans come to Orange Leaf as a destination and stay a while to celebrate all sorts of life occasions—from sports team outings to engagement celebrations.
In other words, social media isn’t a place to blast non-stop promotional messages about your brand. Make it a conversation with a purpose, and people will engage with you.
3. Include a call-to-action.
One way Orange Leaf has leveraged social media successfully is through campaigns with immediate calls-to-action. One of our top campaigns was in February, when we celebrated National Frozen Yogurt Day by offering an exclusive buy-one-get-one-free discount to our Facebook fans. We promoted the campaign in advance of the event and saw a 33% redemption rate with a 34.4% same-store sales increase for the day.
Another way we create immediate calls-to-action is through surprise-and-delight contests and social channel events. Most recently, we held a private #OrangeLeafVIP Twitter party. During this party, we had an hour of one-on-one engagement with our fans who were competing for giveaways and prizes. During this campaign we saw a 16% increase in loyal followers. We’ve also maintained the short-term increase and have continued to build on that growth through consistent, relational content.
Creating this type of exclusive content will separate you from your competitors.
4. Define your brand characteristics, and make sure your posts fit them.
What do you want your company, product, or service to be known for? At Orange Leaf, we’ve built our reputation around outstanding froyo, giving back to our local communities, and having fun. We consider these filters whenever we are creating our brand posts and determining how to interact with customers. Show your audience what makes you unique and worthy of their interest and connection.
About the author:
As director of brand development, Karley Harper oversees all national and local PR and marketing efforts for Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. This includes strategy and planning in areas such as creative, social, communications, Web, mobile, local store marketing, and traditional PR. Harper also sits on Orange Leaf’s executive team, which provides the strategic vision for the global brand.