Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are naturally social — people are connecting and engaging about topics they love. So how do you, as a brand, tap into that without paying big bucks for it?
With a few simple “tricks” — shared by successful startup founders — you can encourage your community to naturally engage more with your brand on social.
Nail Your Timing
Determine when your audience is online and ask them questions. Bump Club and Beyond is a community for expecting and new moms. This audience is on their phones in the middle of the night while they are feeding their babies. Our “3 a.m. Feeding Club” asks these moms questions, which they gladly answer and help each other with. This is often our top post of the day in regards to engagement.
– Lindsay Pinchuk, Bump Club and Beyond
Our audience loves a good contest where they can win a prize that’s relevant (gift cards are usually great so there are no shipping issues). We post and give extra entry credits to anyone who shares the post as well as likes or comments.
– Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids
Use the “Like” or “Share” Option as a Way to Answer Questions
Since we’re talking about “tricks,” this one works well. We ask a question with two choices, and ask our audience to “like” if they prefer A or “share” if they prefer B. Usually it’s something silly like “Coffee or Tea,” or something very easy. People love playing games and sharing a little bit about themselves and their world. We don’t do this often, but when we do, we see a lot of engagement.
– Marcela DeVivo, National Debt Relief
Post Emotion-Based Content
Our best content has had an emotional tie. A picture of a beautiful trail at sunset with an inspirational quote or a picture of a rainy day with a quote oriented around a positive mention triggers an emotional response. Our audience is much more likely to share content like this, that relates to them, which has resulted in some of our most successful campaigns.
– Josh Sprague, Orange Mud
Make Readers Smile
People on social media are looking for a human experience, not a brand experience. So, when a brand finds a way to brighten their day or make them laugh, it relates to them in a way that fits into what they want. Content that makes people smile is clickable, sharable, and fosters a relationship for the long-term.
– Christie Kerner, Launch MiE
Make it Funny
Sometimes we post funny pictures of pets or inspirational quotes to brighten everyone’s Monday or rainy day. This will have nothing to do with our product, but sometimes it’s not all about selling, it’s about connecting with your customers.
– Jayna Cooke, EVENTup
Tell Stories Through Images
Recent studies show that the brain makes sense of a visual scene faster than text. People also remember 80 percent of what they see and do, compared to only 10 percent of what they hear and 20 percent of what they read. So if you want to foster social engagement, share photos and infographics to make people more likely to lean forward. You can use those to point back to meatier content that people can devour if intrigued by the social.
– Shane Snow, Contently
Create Valuable Content
The best thing you can do to engage your audience is by providing valuable content that they will want to experience. Be it educational, entertaining or both, make something that will attract your target demographic, and make it often.
– Michael Mogill, Crisp Video Group
Transparency is key to connecting with a community. We’re constantly updating our social media accounts such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with marketing tips and tricks, but we also share what our staff is up to throughout the day. By offering an inside look into our day-to-day activities, our followers see the people behind the company logo.
– Shalyn Dever, Chatter Buzz Media
Share Customer Success Stories
When we reach out to customers who enjoy our product and ask them to share their story with us, it’s a win for everyone. We learn from and engage with our customer base, and they get an awesome in-depth profile on our blog and social media that they’re happy to share and retweet. It’s a great way to show everyone in our online community that we’re interested in their feedback.
– Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com
Mention Bigger People or Brands
A nice way to get some buzz going around your question or blog post topic or brand is to involve other players in your field in the discussion. Mention them on Twitter and ask for a comment. If your tweet is positive for their brand, they’ll most likely retweet it and expose your brand to their audience as well. If your audiences overlap, it’s a win-win situation for both parties involved.
– Juha Liikala, Stripped Bare Media
Give Readers an Incentive
In our welcome emails, we tell students that if they tweet out a link, they’ll get exclusive access to a free course, set of videos, or an e-book. You can set this up to automatically check whether they actually did it. Incentivizing someone to share is one of the best ways to make sure they actually do it. Think of what you already have that you can give people in exchange.
– Mattan Griffel, One Month
What are some cost-efficient ways you were able to connect your brand to its community?