Brands need to groom their social audience in 2020. Source: Shutterstock

Brands need to groom their social audience in 2020. Source: Shutterstock

Three ways brands can build an engaged social audience in 2020

SOCIAL MEDIA has transformed the relationship between brand and customer. It has bought shoppers closer to the brands they love and allowed for faster, more frequent interactions.

On Instagram, 90 percent of the platform’s billion users follow a business. That’s a huge number welcoming branded content into their social feed.

It’s a remarkable shift in a short amount of time. Consider fashion brands, who ten years ago would have communicated with their customers seasonally. Executing a big brand campaign to set the tone and share the collection, shooting assets that would last them months.

Now, with the many touchpoints a customer has with your brand, it’s hard to imagine showing them with the same assets for months and not expecting them to get bored. And hard to imagine why you would want to.

With customers actively subscribing to hear business communications through social media, marketers have never had more potential for frequent conversations with their customers.

Instead of a seasonal message, you can cheer up their Blue Monday or get them ready for Valentine’s Day, alert them to flash sales or use the weather and current events to add relevancy to your updates. All of the above if you’re really feeling chatty.

That said, users also have the power to unfollow you at the touch of a button. It’s not about spamming them. It’s about having frequent, meaningful conversations.

Here’s how to make it work for you:

# 1 | Generate fresh assets – and lots of them

When posting regularly, small businesses are often surprised at the amount of content they can get through in a short amount of time.

Focus on building a bank of assets that is frequently refreshed so you have something new to show them every time. It’ll help avoid scroll fatigue.

Campaigns that encourage user-generated content are a great way to spread awareness of your brand, with the bonus of giving you a fresh bank of assets that showcase your products.

Don’t skimp on quality though. There are a billion Instagram accounts vying for your attention and substandard content will be scrolled past.

Influencer marketing provides a more quality-assured option. Or follow brands like West Elm who are using influencers as an affordable content creation resource.

# 2 | Plan ahead with a content calendar

While brands have found success in reactionary content, a little planning goes a long way.

Following a content calendar will allow you to schedule your content around events your customers might care about, like Chinese New Year, Easter, and Black Friday.

At the planning stage, you’ll be able to cater to your content around these events. It will make your posts feel more relevant and you’ll be able to stay on top of social conversations.

Using hashtags is a great way to insert your content into these social conversations, so plan ahead to see which ones are being used for that event.

# 3 | Use the interactive tools at your disposal

One of the best things about this new dynamic between brand and customer is, it’s a two-way street. Your customers can respond to your content and it has never been easier to get instant feedback. This is worth encouraging.

Firstly, customer insights are always a valuable asset for brands. Secondly, this engagement will help boost the performance of your content. Social algorithms favor content they think is popular, so the more engagement the algorithm sees your post getting, the more people they’ll show it to.

You can encourage conversation by asking questions in your captions and replying to the followers that comment. You could also make use of Instagram’s growing bank of interactive Story stickers.

You’ll notice many influencers already using the ‘ask me a question’, emoji sliders and poll functions to form a deeper connection with their audience. Take a leaf out of their book and consider which of those tools could add value to your content.

Whether they’re a life long advocate or a new follower, your customers will always value quality and relevancy. Make these your main considerations when planning your content to maximize the opportunity social media brings.

Once you have an engaged audience on social platforms, you’ll be able to really start driving customer loyalty and sales.