General How Can Social Media Drive Consumer Engagement? By James Cortes | March 8, 2020 Interested in running a business? Want to know how social media can help your company drive consumer engagement? Almost every business can take advantage of social media engagement. With the many different options in social media, it is important for businesses to pick the social media networks that will give them the most benefit for the time spent. Not all organizations will want to engage with every social media network. Participating on all social media networks can be very time consuming. Large organizations hire employees to engage with consumers on all the many different social media networks. Smaller business will pick and choose which social media networks they engage in based on the target market and industry they participate in. Is your consumer younger or older? Do they engage in a specific interest like music or use a top social media network like Facebook? It is important for a business to know how much time it will take to properly engage with consumers on social media. It is better to not create a profile rather than create the profile and not engage with consumers. If the organization creates a profile and doesn’t respond to consumer requests, it will create a bad brand experience for the consumer. Not only do organizations want to create brand awareness but the brand experience must be a positive one for consumers. Businesses will want to link their social media to their websites. Not only do businesses want users to find them on social media, but the business should also allow their consumers to find their social media presence on their traditional website. A more engaged consumer is one that participates in the community, buys more products, using more services and engaging others to enter into the businesses’ community. What is Customer Engagement? Customer engagement is also known as a brand’s effort to build a relationship with consumers. The goal of the interaction is to gain and retain customer loyalty. Consumers are exposed to many different messages on social media every day. It is the brand’s responsibility to distinguish itself form competitors, create an emotional connection, and allow consumers to interact or react to the brand, particularly on social media. The Internet is a medium that allows brands to engage with consumers one-to-one, personalizing the message for individual consumers on a mass scale. Brands can talk directly to consumers whether posting on a social media profile, direct messaging users or posting on a user’s timeline. What is a Brand? It is a name, term, design, or symbol of a seller’s goods and services. However, brand is more than that. A companies’ brand is a living entity. It not only has emotion, but it can conjure emotions in its consumers. Consumers can identify with a brand and choose to promote the brand. The brand can be used in advertising, on packaging and in explanation of a companies’ products and services. The brand has a life of its own and this life has a cycle. There are many stages to a brand including when it is developed, the introduction, growth, maturity, decline and end of life. Many brands start as unknown and through proper advertising and customer service, the brand can have a good connotation. If customer service tends to be poor or the consumer experience is negative, the brand can take on a negative emotion. Sometimes a brand outlives its usefulness and a company must re-brand a product or service. What is Social Media? Websites that allow users to create and share information in a virtual community. Most social media networks allow users to post content including videos and image. Some social networks allow users to rate content and ultimately allowing users to engage in a community. Popular Social Media Platforms By far, the most used social media platforms in the US are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These three dominate the social media arena. However, a business may find that niche social media platforms better fit their business offering and consumers that use those niche social media platforms are more likely to engage. A business that is heavily into music would benefit from exposure on MySpace. If a business wants to interact with their followers to start a discussion, a site like Reddit is a popular discussion forum. Pinterest is a popular content curation social network for users to share their interests. For those that focus on videos, YouTube allows users to upload and interact with videos. For those local businesses, Yelp is a must. Yelp is a local review site where businesses can create a profile, allowing consumers to rate their business in a local business directory. Facebook – a social networking website that allows users to post comments, share photographs and post links with friends and other community members. Users create profiles, upload videos and photos, and send messages to keep in touch with their friends and family. Twitter – a micro-blogger system that allows users to send and receive short posts. Users post their own information and other news to share with the community using hashtags to allow users to search for topics within the endless stream of posts to Twitter. Instagram – a social media app that allows users to share photos and videos. Many Instagram users curate a profile of photos that explains their interests and offers a snapshot of their lives as they live them. MySpace – a social network that has focused their efforts on the music industry. Like Facebook, MySpace allows users to create profiles, upload content and interact with friends. Reddit – a social news aggregator, allowing web content rating and discussion on topics. Users discuss and vote on topics that the community submits to Reddit. Pinterest – a social network that allows users to become inspired and come up with new ideas for their interests. Images are saved and searched by users. These images can also include links back to websites. YouTube – a social media platform that allows users to post and interact with videos. The community engages in comments, sharing, likes and other interaction to learn and discover new information on a wide range of topics. Yelp – a local business directory that allows consumers to review business in a crowdsource forum. Local business can add descriptions, menus, pictures and other content to help consumers choose between the vast number of local businesses that are available in a multitude of industries. Being Active on Social Media Too many businesses create a social media profile, post a couple times and then stop interacting with the community. Social media is an interactive medium and users expect businesses to engage with their consumers. A business that is active on social media may not see a direct correlation between their time on social media and revenue, but today’s consumers expect a business to be active on social media. The business must react to consumer posts, offer information and news and bring their consumers together to create a community. The Internet is a tool for consumers to connect and social media is the best place for them to find friends and meet new people. Engage with Consumers Companies on social media should post content that is interesting to their consumers. Content should spur interaction and engagement between consumers and the business. If engaged, the consumer will be more likely to share posts with others, comment and repost information they feel is relevant for their community. Creating a following is important but it is also important to have consumers that engage on social media. Followers will share the businesses’ content with their followers and the content will reach many different community circles. This can be done without directly connecting to all consumers across social media. Videos and Images are Important Most posts on social media that have higher engagement include a video or image in the post. Consumers tend to scroll passed text only posts, to see images on their timeline. Once an image or video catches their eye, they read the text associated. Final Thoughts Social media is important for consumer engagement. A business should create a presence on as many social media networks as they can engage with to create a positive brand. A positive brand image is important for a business. Remember it is better to not have a presence on every social media network if the business is not able to keep up with consumer engagement. Interested in learning more about how social media drives consumer engagement? The Bachelor of Business Administration degree program is designed to get you work-ready in Silicon Valley and in creative tech industries throughout the world. The concentrations in project management and digital media management will set you up for a career in business entrepreneurship and innovation. The Digital Media Management concentration will allow you to study the creative industries and learn what makes a film, game or marketing campaign successful in today’s digital world. You'll acquire the management skills needed to become a nimble and innovative thinker with an entrepreneurial attitude, analytical abilities and collaborative know-how. Cogswell College is uniquely poised to offer a meaningful and valuable education for 21st century students. 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