Image Credit: WPExplorer
Image Credit: WPExplorer
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Social media has a great influence on consumers, and online engagement has evolved to become a major factor that affects how customers feel about brands – and how brands take care of customers’ needs and requests. Based on a poll conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 45% of digital buyers worldwide are influenced by the reviews, comments, and feedback they read on social media.

So, it is no surprise that almost every brand you can possibly think of has a profile on at least one of the leading social networks we have today, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and SnapChat.

However, being present on these social media channels alone will not help brands attract their target niche and convert these into loyal followers. While the internet has made it much easier to reach more people online, brands need to implement the right strategies or else they risk being ignored or even unfollowed by their online connections.

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when seeking to gain followers on social media is using these channels to merely promote their products and services. They fail to see that social media is a venue for establishing a genuine connection with their target market and existing customers. This is why brands that only post about their offers and share links to their blogs find it difficult to see any increase in their number of followers.

Don’t Just Share, Engage
The key is to regularly engage with online community members and social media followers. Once a brand is able to motivate their target audience to regularly participate in a positive interaction with them online, these individuals eventually become loyal followers. Having earned their interest, converting these followers into actual paying customers becomes the next possibility.

Facebook’s new feature, Facebook Live, is a fusion of a video chat and a regular Facebook post. Released in April 2016, it allows brands to post a live stream of their video and also get the reactions from their viewers in real time. Brands can see comments from their viewers as these are posted, so they can actually respond to the viewers as they are broadcasting the video. Moreover, Facebook users get live video notifications by default (for now at least), which they can opt out of – but they’re a good opportunity for brands to show up in fans’ notifications.

Skullcandy STAYLOUD Showdown | L.A.

We’re live streaming from The Berrics tonight. Audience votes picks the winning band to go on tour and play the Skullcandy Stage at this summer’s Vans Warped Tour. Check out the bands and vote for your favorite!!

Posted by Skullcandy on Thursday, 6 April 2017

How to Do it Right
In a recent Facebook live video, Skullcandy live streamed The Skullcandy STAYLOUD Showdown – a battle of new music acts and bands for a chance to perform at the Vans Warped Tour 2017. Thousands of Facebook users watched the live video and were encouraged to vote which performers they think deserved to win by clicking on the link to the event page, which Skullcandy shared in the comments section.

At the same time, the Facebook live video included a Trivia & Giveaway contest, and online viewers were able to participate in this portion by typing their answers in the comments section preceded by a hashtag symbol. Injecting the live video with games like this is one great way to keep people engaged. And with 2.1 million likes on Facebook, we can say that Skullcandy is doing a pretty good job.

On YouTube, Sun Bingo shares fun videos of TV personality Rustie Lee as she hosts online interviews with the online bingo operator’s chat hosts. These videos have reached almost 50 thousand views. The interviews are also shared on their website’s community page, which helps to make their brand more relatable to their online audience as they see the real people behind the chatboxes.

Online engagement is not limited to social media channels either. On their website, Sun Bingo features Having a Ball – a weekly interactive quiz show that happens every Friday. Aside from the entertainment the cast provides, online players who wach it can win bonuses from chat games played throughout the show in the form of a code.

Another effective way to engage customers is to show them that they matter to your brand. GoPro’s Instagram page, which has 12 million followers at the moment, does just that. Every day, they post a “Photo of the Day” or “Video of the Day” – photos and videos captured by real customers using their GoPro camera and shared on Instagram with the hashtag phrase #GoPro on their posts.

You’ll notice that these three brands have one thing in common – they focus on their target audience. When they attempt to engage with their target niche or existing customers online, whether it be on their website or on social media, they do not focus on selling their offer. Instead, their focus is on their audience.

For any brand that is struggling to build a strong connection with their target audience online, the key is to engage in constant, positive exchange with their followers. Consumers become loyal to brands that they trust; and trust can only be built from having a genuine connection.