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Seven Ways to Engage Your Audience

Tue, 25 July 2017

Contributed by Joanna Booth, Head Trainer & Strategist at Social Media Makes Sense.
Gaining customer attention online can sometimes feel overwhelming and hugely confusing. Added to this, the competition online is fierce! So, how do you engage your audience online? Below I have outlined seven easy and simple steps to follow to help you. It’s usually the smallest and simplest actions that generate the most buzz, interest, conversation and sales – but do you follow them?
1. Firstly, who is your audience?
Just as you wouldn’t speak to your grandma the same way you speak to your best friend, knowing who you’re communicating to online can – and should – vastly change your tone. Are they younger, or older? Are they casual internet users, or do they understand the intricacies of the latest memes and viral content? Are they business orientated, or looking for something fun and silly in their breaks? Once you understand what demographic you’re talking to, it will naturally shape the tone of your messaging and begin to create conversation.
2. What need are you fulfilling?
As tempting as it is to post every day to stay in people’s feeds, posting any old thing just to stay active isn’t actually going to help you. Ask yourself, as specifically as possible, what are you aiming to offer? What are you doing that people can’t get elsewhere? Pinpointing the exact problem you are solving for people online will help you make your tone more appropriate as much as knowing who those people are.
3. Why are you doing it in the first place?
Following on from the ‘what’, we have the ‘why’ – why are you posting, and what do you want from your audience? Be clear about what you’re asking of them, and keep your messages concise. Don’t try to sell to them all the time; build relationships with different content in between pitches. Consider each of your posts and the ‘why’ fueling them; this should vary campaign to campaign, depending on what you want from it, i.e. awareness, sales, engagement and so on.
4. When are you going to post?
The best content in the world will go ignored if it’s posted at the wrong time. Don’t make guesswork of it or just throw things out at peak times; use the analytics available to you within websites like Facebook and Twitter to check exactly when your audience is busy online and want to hear from you.
5. Where are you posting?
There’s an ever-growing world of social media, and more places than you might think where you can connect with people. Go back to who your audience is – if you aren’t getting the engagement you’re looking for on your current platform, perhaps you’re looking in the wrong place. For example, if you’re only using Twitter for a business based audience, maybe looking into posting on LinkedIn would gain more traction. If you already use multiple platforms, are you tweaking your message for each of those audiences? While it isn’t vital to do so, your strategy around this should be clear. Who are you speaking to, and what do they want to hear on that platform?
6. How will you engage?
So, you’re all ready to start engaging, but what with? For starters, don’t be boring, and have fun with it! Don’t solely use templates, and if you do, make sure to put your own spin on them – make them your own. It’s quite possible – and recommended! – to do all this without spending a fortune. There are plenty of free resources available, like Canva, enabling you to make very attractive images without spending a penny. Vary your content as much as is possible; use images, text, and video to get people interested.
7. Lastly, be funny!
Most of us aren’t standup comedians for a reason, but being light hearted in your content is far more engaging than constant seriousness. Even if you’re a professional, you’re talking to people on social media, in their social space. Remember, even high-flying business people have a sense of humor! People tend to want to be cheerful, so feed into that feeling as much as possible. If you’re a funeral director, maybe not, but hey, they do say fancy dress funerals are on the rise!
Happy engaging,
Jo x

About Joanna Booth (Head Trainer & Strategist at Social Media Makes Sense)

As a social media expert and trainer, Jo has overseen the social media successes of projects like the BBC hit series Poldark through to running a series of ‘Digitally Savvy’ workshops for the Business Growth Hub to hundreds of SMEs. She blogs for diverse brands including Sage, Microsoft, Yahoo, Guardian Small Business and Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.  She presents on the Virgin Media Learn Digital Skills Channel and Business Growth Hub Digital TV.  Jo is a public speaker and young entrepreneur.
You can follow Jo on Twitter

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