Graffiti saying 'Al we need is more likes' to illustrate Caroline Gibson's copywriting blog on social media engagement

How To Engage Your Audience On Social Media

Social media engagement is the perfect way to add value to your brand, make your business easier to find and generate sales. And the even bigger plus? It’s free –  if you stick to organic listings.

And yet, here’s the thing: people aren’t on social media to be sold to.  They’re there (in the words of the BBC) to be informed, educated and entertained. So, how do you ‘BBC’ your social media for B2B or B2C?

Graffiti saying 'All we need is more likes' to illustrate Caroline Gibson's copywriting blog on social media engagement

Create an ownable tone of voice
I need to start with this point first; it’s closest to my heart.

How do you want your social media Tweet, post or blog to come across? Plainly? Wittily? Scholarly? Your tone of voice mimics your brand personality and helps you stand up and stand out. However, it’s not always easy for a brand to achieve something distinctive, or be brave enough to be bolder … I used to present three TOV options to clients but usually found they’d stick within a short stretch of their comfort zone.

Sometimes it can help to think in terms of being a persona: one question on my client briefing form is ‘If you were a high street brand or car, what would you be like?’ I also ask clients to ‘List URLs for any brands you like for copy style (not necessarily in your sector)’. It can also be quite revealing to ask clients what they don’t like rather than what they do.

I love the silliness of Scoot, the airline that ‘puts the fun back into flying’. And they do. How’s this for a cheery Tweet and animation?

Scoot Tweet about baggage showing a great way to ensure social media engagement

first frame of Scoot film on Twitter in Social media engagement blog  second frame of Scoot film on Twitter as example of Social media engagement

third frame of Scoot baggage film on Twitter in copywriting blog on engaging with customers in social media  fourth frame of Scoot baggage allowance film on Twitter in Caroline Gibson's Social media engagement blog

Write how you speak
The way you speak is the most authentic way of getting your personality/brand across. So, if all else fails, say what you want to say out loud and just write it down. I’ve been working with a doctor who provided some copy which was fantastically detailed and informative but riddled with archaic words such as ‘whilst’ and ‘thus’ – words that no-one uses when speaking.

The other month, I was commissioned by a leading Harley Street aesthetics doctor to write a hundred media posts giving reasons why people should choose him; the previous posts he’d commissioned were awful bits of fluff with a shopping list of hashtags. I interviewed him in his clinic for over two hours, interrogating him on every aspect of his practice and treatments. This wasn’t just to extract real nuggets, but also to get a feel for how he wanted to tell the points in his own voice. It wasn’t an easy task by any means but, hopefully, he now has a hundred authentic points of difference.

Grab attention – fast
On average, our attention span is a fast-lived 8.25 seconds though some say it’s as short as 3 secs. Hardly surprising when 60% of all searches are done on a mobile.

Always but always assume your reader will only bother with the first half of your sentence so use an eye-catching headline, a witty one, a shocking one even. (My own favourite blog headline eye-catcher has to be I Spent Time With A Male Escort (aka Confessions Of A Freelance Copywriter.)

It goes without saying that social media engagement success relies on content that’s enjoyable and shareable. Join in a theme (like #WonderfulWednesday) or create your own (in my case, #CopywritingTip), comment on something trending, post a job opening, or share industry research.

Focus on where to post …
Doing your own social media marketing can often fall to the bottom of the to-do list. I’ll perkily write blogs for clients (NB – clients who understand the value of a well-written blog and pay accordingly) but find it hard to squirrel away some time to write my own.

Promoting yourself on social media takes time, so don’t kill yourself over it; just focus on one social media engagement channel.

Take Twitter, for instance. It’s a short and sharp way to give news and business updates, post polls, and show gifs and videos. It drives traffic and is great for interacting with your audience and providing customer service. Use #hashtags to join an existing conversation, or start one, or show you’re part of a following so that other like-minded people are exposed to your Tweets.

Facebook is ideal for showcasing your business, promoting offers and engaging with your audience especially if posting things that your audience will click, ‘like’, comment on and hopefully share. LinkedIn is a professional channel to promote your experience and expertise, post jobs, share business news and thought leadership (though, personally, I feel it’s become misused with posts that should be on Twitter instead). You can also optimise it by adding your key terms in your bio.

Is your service or business quite visual? Make sure your images on Pinterest link back to a relevant blog or webpage – and always optimise your caption with keywords as Pinterest doesn’t crawl images. Instagram is another brilliant visual platform though avoid at all costs unless the quality of your images is tiptop. Insta is perfect for brand awareness but not so hot if you’re after a channel to direct traffic organically; make sure you add a link to your website from your bio.

And in a world where people increasingly want to look, not read, YouTube is king for creating shareable content, playlists, How To guides, webinars and just the visual ticket for influencers and thought leaders.

TikTok is a fairly new player on the business scene and a much less obvious route than the above. The good news therefore is that it’s cheaper to advertise on – yet success is still measurable – and it’s perfect for a Gen Z audience, especially if your content is playful, casual and authentic.

… and when to post
The best times to post to maximise social media engagement can vary between each channel and there’s no rock solid answer, I’m afraid. As a very brief rule, it’s 6-9pm on Twitter, around lunch time on Facebook (forget early mornings) and Instagram (6-9pm is good, too). As LinkedIn is a B2B site, posting during commuting hours and the working week are the natural way to go.

But don’t post every day
… because you may end up being repetitive, run out of things to say or sound dull, dull, dull.

However, do post regularly because consistency is important – think quality rather than quantity. Having said that, social media posts have a short life span so, unless you’re a writer, don’t worry about total perfection.

Whatever and wherever, you post on social media, the golden rule is to make people feel like you’re talking to them and only them. Call me a sucker, but brands that make me feel like one in a million, not one of a million, are the ones for me such as Sky’s engagement with me after my grumbling Tweet about Virgin Media.

Tweet from Sky to me showing great customer social media engagement

Finding it hard to post? Don’t worry. Read my blog on Simple Social Media Tools To Make Life Easier And Boost Business

Written by Caroline Gibson, freelance copywriter ready and waiting to make your brand one in a million.

E: caroline@carolinegibson.co.uk  T: +44 (0) 7957 567766

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