In a world that’s heavily polluted with information, it’s easy for business owners to get overwhelmed with social media expectations. We all know that social media is necessary for business success, but do we know why? In a study from Simply Measured, 60% of social marketers report measuring ROI as a top challenge. How, then, do we convince our CFOs to continue to invest in these channels? 

One word: engagement. Companies that actively engage with their target audiences are earning the loyalty of their customers; other companies are simply losing out by using social media as a cheap channel for promotion. Social media is a continually changing landscape and brands that learn how to stand out from the noise will dominate.

Here are a few keys that could help you gain a competitive edge.

1. Understand Your Audience

This AdWeek article features 10 brands that understand who their audience is, and as a result, are doing an amazing job on social media. The main thing that stands out in each of their posts is that they know who their audience is and how to best capture its interest. Pizza Hut and National Geographic, for example, don’t post similar messages even though they may have some overlap in audience. The reason is that people have different feelings and attitudes towards each. After all, they each provide different services. These companies know their target audiences well, so they create engaging content that enhances their brand and engages their core audience.

It’s important to know how your customers perceive your brand and what exactly your product does for them. The deeper you can understand how your customers interact with your brand, the closer you are to understanding your audience. It’s also important to understand how your products and services compare to those of your competitors – not from your perspective but from your customer’s. Once you understand this, you’ll be able to paint a picture of your typical audience member (otherwise known as a customer persona). Make them a real person in your head and then think of them as your best friend. It will make the difference between addressing a complete stranger and talking to a friend. Who is more likely to engage?

2. Provide Useful Content

Stay away from only creating content to meet a deadline or just to have content available. You want to create content that your audience will find useful and shareable. In an article for Entrepreneur, Aaron Agius outlines three principles to keep in mind when creating social content:

  • First, he says to always reinforce your brand image. Just because you are surfing the internet and find a popular video about a cat, that doesn’t make it relevant to your brand. Earlier, it was noted that one of your main jobs is to engage your audience. But always do this with your goals in mind. If you run the social media for an animal shelter, this could be useful in reinforcing your message, but if you represent a restaurant, you need to be able to tie it back to your brand.
  • Second, use your data to know which content will most likely be seen. After ensuring that the content is addressing your audience and staying true to your brand, it’s time to think about what your audience is likely to view, click on and share. Does your audience prefer images and diagrams or are they interested in quick tips? Is a 30-second video more valuable than 1,000 words? Get ready for some trial and error, which you’ll accomplish by evaluating your educated guesses and by closely analyzing your data.
  • Lastly, Agius emphasizes the importance of embedding images into your content. People often say that a picture is worth 1,000 words and this also seems to be true in marketing. He writes that “articles with images receive 94% more views. Twitter content with images receives nearly twice as many views as text posts, even though there are seven times more text posts on Twitter.” Find a way to make what you have to say visually appealing. It is less of a time investment to your consumer and keeps them entertained.

A good example of this is a trojan mailing campaign where DHL utilized competitors’ services to advertise their brand. This DHL video campaign was released in early 2014 (shortly after the holiday mailing mess). DHL understood its audience’s level of frustration and decided to appeal to them by owning their position as the underdog in the market. By utilizing their competitors mailing services, they mailed extra-large packages to hard-to-find locations in packaging that revealed the DHL brand after they were exposed to above freezing temperatures. In a clever way, they were able to drive a message that appealed to their audience while highlighting their brand in a very visual, clear and concise manner.

You’re more likely to gain social media engagement with a strong social media presence, at Greedier Social Media you can improve yours by buy Instagram followers or Twitter followers for your brand.