Wrangling Your Social Strategy: Engaging Your Community

April 4, 2017

People flock to social networks for the same reasons they go to parties – to socialize, to network, to kill time or to be entertained. What’s the one thing all of these have in common? The people. Fostering a healthy online community is a cornerstone of social media success.

Welcome back to Wrangling Your Social Strategy. This week, we’re talking about ways to raise your engagement levels and grow your online communities. As always, you can find parts one and two on the SanMar U Fabric Blog.

At a cookout, we talk sports and summer vacations. A cocktail party is full of sophisticated banter and highbrow discussions. If we’re at children’s birthday party, we may ask for directions to the nearest exit (especially when the clown comes out).

Think of the social networks as parties. You tailor your online persona to fit the venue.

Here’s a rundown of the ways people use popular social networks. Tailor your content to fit the network’s tone. Otherwise, you’ll end up standing out like Steve Buschemi in a high school hallway.

  • Twitter is best for sharing immediate news and instant interaction.
  • Facebook can fill a similar niche, but stories there tend to be longer-form.
  • Instagram and Snap Chat are all about visual storytelling and giving a candid, “behind the scenes” experience.

In addition to thoughtfully curating your content, if you want to cultivate a healthy community you need to interact with other people on your networks. Did someone follow your Twitter or Instagram account? Follow them back. Like other people’s posts. Share other people’s content.

Don’t be “That Guy” — the one who only talks about himself. You should ask questions and start conversations. Pay attention to the other people in your networks, learn their interests and use those to build meaningful relationships. Comment on other pages and participate in conversations.

People follow other people on social networks. Even if you’re running a 100% corporate Facebook page, the unspoken assumption is that a real person is there behind the keyboard. The more you interact with your followers, the more human your brand appears and the larger your community becomes.

One of the great things about managing a brand on social media is the immediate feedback. Depending on the network, you have access to a wide array of analytical statistics. There are three core numbers you should focus on: reach, engagement and click-throughs.

  • Reach is how many people have seen your posts.
  • Engagement is all about interactions: likes, shares, comments. These are all signs of a healthy network and you increase these numbers by encouraging conversation.
  • Click-throughs count the number of times people click the links you put in your posts. This statistic is great to track if you’re directing traffic back to your blog or website.

Once you get used to reading your analytics, you can start tweaking your social strategies. Do you get more likes and shares when you post late at night? That probably means your audience is made up of night owls (or lives in a different time zone). Queue up your posts to hit when your followers are active on each of your social media platforms.

Do your photos reach thousands of followers but your links only reach a couple hundred? Prioritize your photo posts and consider sharing your links in the comments.

Notice a drastic drop in your stats? What are you doing differently? Are you posting too often? Not enough? Always keep an eye on your analytics and adjust your strategies as needed.

Managing your social accounts is one part customer service, one part community relations and one part being the hostess with the most-est. Once you find your groove, everyone will want to join your party.