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Social Media Engagement: Reaching Your Customers Where They Are

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321 million new people joined social media in 2019, which brought the total from 3.48 billion to 3.8 billion social media users in 2020 (Hootsuite). With more and more people on social media, it can be a challenge to get customers directly to your website when they are spending the majority of their time on social. That’s why it’s important to adjust your marketing strategies to meet your customers where they are. There are many approaches you can take to attract your audience to your social channels, such as revamping your creative, collaborating with social influencers, opening a digital shop, using cause marketing, and improving your customer service. By using all or some of these methods, you will be able to build a better customer experience all in one place.

If you're struggling to keep your customers engaged on your social media channels, this guide is for you. Learn about how to:

  1. Understand Your Social Media Audience

  2. Improve Your Social Media Creative

  3. Spark Influence Through Social Influencers

  4. Create Digital Storefronts

  5. Build Value with Cause Marketing

  6. Run Customer Service on Social


Understand Your Social Media Audience


You may think your brand has a clear understanding of who your key customers are but that may not be the case. Times are always changing and rapidly. For example, through the Coronavirus pandemic and recent Black Lives Matter movement, your audience’s expectations of your brand now may have changed completely compared to before these monumental moments took place. Begin re-understanding who your audience is and what they care about by listening to what they are saying across social media. Look for mentions of your business, monitor what your competitors are doing, and see what else is taking place in your industry that will be essential to a deeper understanding of who your consumers are. 

These are some action steps you can take to get started with understanding your target audience on social media.

  1. Setup personas to get into the mind of someone who would be interested in your brand. This may seem tedious but it can help set the foundation for a lot of decisions you make from copy on your social posts to the creative you post.

  2. Comb through your social media analytics to gain insights into what content your customers are interacting with the most and what may not be getting the response you hoped for.


Upping Your Social Media Creative


When trying to reach your audience on social media, you need to create original and authentic content. Start by revisiting your brand guidelines, voice, and mission statement, which will help you understand how to consistently communicate with your customers. When making creative social media content for your social channels, there are a variety of options available, from Stories to Live Streams and captions. Consider which mediums will work for your brand long-term and test features for the short-term.

Videos + Stories

Using motion in your posts with video and stories is more eye-catching than still photos. Take advantage of videos to get your message across in a more personal way through creative motion graphics, videos of your customers, or a closer look at your products. One of the best things you can do is show your customers how your product looks in a real-life situation. Are you selling household decor? Show how it looks in a home with a family interacting with it. Use Instagram Stories not just for your paid social efforts but for organic engagement as well. Stories allow you to do more than post a vertical video. You can utilize “stickers” for polls, Q&As, challenges, and much more to drive deeper engagement.




















Live Streams

Live Streams and IGTV are the perfect way to connect with your followers because they can see a face behind the company rather than simply a logo. Plan when you want to have a Live Stream or publish your videos, promote it a week beforehand, and speak on an engaging topic that will resonate with your customers. Some things you could do during a Live Stream or IGTV video include:

  • Q&A

  • Tutorials

  • Series

  • Partner Live Stream with an influencer or celebrity

  • A behind-the-scenes look at your company


Which Platforms Can You Use to Hold Live Streams?



When you draft up captions for your posts, every word counts, so ensure that it complements the visual components. Open your caption with an attention-grabbing one-liner that lets the reader know exactly what you are offering. For example, a giveaway, exclusive one-day promotion, or new product launch. Keep your social media captions sweet and short at 60-70 words and don’t forget to end it with a call-to-action. Do you want your customers to fill out a survey, purchase a product, or download an app? Be clear, but do not be too salesy.





Spark Influence Through Social Influencers


There are now influencers for a variety of popular and niche markets. 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, and 92% of consumers trust influencers over celebrities (Adlucent White Paper). It’s no secret that people rely on and value the opinions those have on products through word-of-mouth recommendations. Social influencers play a major role in the customer journey by introducing their followers to their new favorite skincare products, clothing accessories, or other must-have items. Approximately 70% of marketers use influencers for content promotion and product launches. So, including influencer marketing as a part of your strategy can be a smart move to reach your target audience on social. Some things to consider when developing a strategy for influencer marketing are:

  1. How to discover social media influencers for your market

  2. What budget you will need to hire an influencer

  3. Develop a management plan

  4. Drafting and finalizing goals and messaging

  5. Contacting and hiring social influencer(s)

  6. Reviewing your strategy and adjusting it accordingly

An example of a brand using influencers successfully is, personal shopping website, StitchFix. Below is one of their posts that features several of their #StitchFixInfluencers.



Now Open: Digital Storefronts


54% of social browsers use social media to research products. With more platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, making direct in-app shopping available allows shoppers and your social media followers to quickly discover and purchase your product without ever leaving the app. 

Facebook & Instagram Shops

Build an immersive and seamless social media ecommerce experience with Facebook and Instagram Shops. Shops give you space, separate from your website, to promote and expose customers to your new and existing products. Create featured posts or Stories with tags directly to your product within your shopping catalog. You can get started with Instagram shopping if you are in these markets. Follow these steps, provided by Instagram to get started:

  • Confirm eligibility

  • Convert to a business account

  • Connect your Facebook Page

  • Upload a product catalog

  • Complete account review

  • Turn on Shopping

  • Make content actionable

People can discover your products on the Search and Explore page, featured posts, ads, your Facebook/Instagram business pages, or influencer tagged posts. When users tap on your product tag or sticker on Stories, they will be able to see this information on your products:

  • An image of the product

  • A product description

  • The price 

  • A link that takes them directly to your website to purchase it

Pinterest Shopping Ads

83% of Pinners have made a purchase based on the content they saw from brands on Pinterest. Pinterest Shopping Ads give you the opportunity to display your products on the home feed, related, and search “surfaces” on the platform. There are several formats that you can choose for your ads, such as:

  • Static Pins – 2:3 ratio

  • App Promotion Pins – 2:3 ratio

  • Carousel Pins (5 different images in one pin) – 2:3 / 1:1 ratios

  • Standard Video Pins – 1:1 / 9:16 / 2:3 ratios

  • Max Width Pins – 1:1 / 16:9


Pinterest ads are the perfect way to reach customers that are browsing around for inspiration for their next at-home project or for something that might be related to what you sell. Keep in mind that Pinterest turns buyer uncertainty into buyer potential, so adding Pinterest ads to your strategy may be something to consider. If you’re already running ads on Pinterest, take an additional step by optimizing your Pinterest account structure.


Build Value with Cause Marketing


If you’re not familiar with cause marketing, it’s “when companies use their brand’s voice to promote a relevant cause that extends beyond a revenue-driving purpose” (Adlucent White Paper). Apart from the goal of solely selling your products, you should set business goals around societal or charitable causes. Now, how do you get started? First, evaluate what your customers care about. For example, REI, a recreational equipment retailer, donated over 70% of their profits in 2019 to outdoor causes, keeping in mind that their customers are adventurers that love to explore the outdoors. By adding cause marketing to your strategy, in a genuine way, you can help society and show your customers that you care about making an impact around something they believe in. On social media specifically, you can develop campaigns around your cause marketing strategy. Make it known to your followers that you are standing behind something that has a purpose by creating graphics, videos, Stories, Live Streams, and more.


Customer Service on Social Media


With each user spending an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes on social networks and messaging, it only makes sense for customers to want to reach out to you directly on social media rather than them contacting you elsewhere. Facebook is making this possible through the use of Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp. This is a game-changer because if potential or existing customers have questions about things related to your products, pricing, or shipping, they can easily reach out to you through one of these channels. Consider adjusting your marketing strategy to plan out who will promptly communicate with customers and train employees to respond using your brand’s voice.

To ensure that you are caring for your customers on social media, keep the following in mind when responding to messages:

  • Identify what the concern or issue is 

  • Link to sources that will be helpful for the customer

  • Close the communication loop

  • Use a personal sign off (initials or first name)

  • Set a consistent tone and response time to follow across your organization

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Learn more about what you should be doing on social media to reach your customers.