Make social into personal
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Make social into personal

We offer some tips to convert your online social media communication into personal engagement with existing and potential customers.

Marketing online is unavoidable, yet interacting in-person remains important. We are emotional, social beings who respond to facial expressions and actions that we witness. Since studies show that a significant percentage of communication is non-verbal, it is important to ensure your engagement strategy includes face-to-face interaction.

Tapping into ways to bring your communication alive is crucial – and converting online – often one-dimensional – communication into real-life engagement is a great first step. Here are a few ideas. 

1. Create specific benefits

Offering tailored benefits for social media followers can be a unique way to encourage face-to-face interaction. Customers who show a code from a tweet or email, for example, can get a shop discount or a free drink when they turn up in person. If you’re marketing a local product, making the benefit specific to a geographical area can help build up a local community around your product.

This approach also encourages consumers to interact with staff; they will engage in order to get the discount, opening up a conversation and creating opportunities to develop relationships.

2. Marketing real-world events

Get started early, put effort in, and you can create a buzz around an upcoming event. Seeing others click that they are attending on social media tends to have an aggregating effect – more people think it could be worth a go. 

Platforms exist that can help increase your audience reach and momentum – one example is Bizzabo, which aims to integrate social media and build interactive event communities of individuals. 

Releasing teaser content can help to retain interest online before the event takes place, and has the added benefit of helping to ensure the event runs smoothly. Posting a day schedule or a map of the site can ensure fewer questions on the day, freeing up time to start conversations in person.

3. Combine the two in real life

Integrating social media into real- events has proved effective for many brands, partly because combining communication channels reflects the way many people engage with businesses in today’s world.

Posting images of people attending your event – and their comments on the day – onto social media is one approach. For example, the trends for showing people holding up whiteboards with comments, and for uploading 10-second videos featuring event attendees, combine online and offline, adding to the personal approach.

Projecting a live twitter stream onto a wall can encourage event attendees to interact and see their comments in real time – which offers the benefit of further promoting the event online. Make sure hashtags are simple, short and catchy. Of course, you have to weigh up the risk of internet comedians and trolls making their contributions!

4. Send personal messages in advance

For event speakers, online communications can be a thoughtful way to ensure the occasion and your business is kept in their mind.

A short personal message to note that you’re looking forward to welcoming the speaker to the event – sent through social media – can go far. It ensures they won’t forget, but also helps the speaker feel more at ease in person on the day. While private communication may be appropriate, sending a message openly offers the benefit of promoting the event widely, too.

A small, boutique business could do the same with highly valued customers, thanking them for their recent visit. Reaching out proactively is the key with this method.

5. Tack onto trends

Incorporating trends can help to turn social-media use into face-to-face interactions. Reports of small business using the recent phenomenon of Pokémon GO to incentivise customers or offer discounts in person are now common. 

6. Say, ‘Drop in!’

Simply posting online to encourage your customers to drop in at an event, shop or even head office can actually work wonders. 

Creating a friendly image through social media that presents your brand personality – such as posting a photo of the office cat, or tweeting motivational tips – can help make your business seem more approachable and encourage people to turn up.

To gain a complete understanding of how to use the core channels more effectively, enrol onto our Social Media Marketing course. This one-day workshop will discuss the four stages of customer engagement, and the tools that measure success and monitor social media mentions. 

Maeve Sinnott Journalist CPL
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