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Five Ways to Do Real-Time Social Media Engagement

DATE PUBLISHED: April 01, 2014

If you're reading this, you may be surprised to learn that this post was written by a robot. Well, more like a highly sophisticated algorithm. In fact, our entire marketing staff has been replaced by BNASMMT aka, our brand new automated social media marketing tool. I can do it all. In fact, perhaps you should consider doing the same: nothing but automated social media marketing - no humans required. 

April Fools.

We kid. Try as we may, we still need humans here at Palmer Ad Agency. Which brings us to the idea of real-time social engagement.

Real-time social engagement helps you create a conversation with followers and, despite what some vendors may say, alas, it does require the involvement of real-live people.

That's because real-time social engagement humanizes your firm in the eyes of the consumer. It allows you to keep your brand in front of prospects and customers on an ongoing basis. As a result, it can drive user engagement, expand your marketing footprint, and lead to new customers.

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If you have your own personal Facebook page, you're already engaging in real-time social engagement. But instead of engaging with customers, you're engaging with friends. You're commenting on photos, recommending products, and sharing your thoughts of the day. Real-time social media engagement for business purposes is slightly different, but the underlying logic is the same. 

Here are five ways to engage your social media followers in real-time:

  1. Newsjack content. It's simple: just take a newsworthy item applicable to your brand, and add your own twist. For example, let's say your a solar company in Northern California. You subscribe to Google Alerts, and stumbled upon this excellent article in the Huffington Post talking about major trends facing the solar industry in the upcoming years. The first trend is "the revelation that, with dropping prices, solar growth has been driven by middle-class homeowners looking for savings in energy costs." Well that is just real-time social engagement gold for solar providers: you can cite the article and say that this trend isn't exactly to the hundreds of homeowners across Northern California who have been saving tons of money on energy bills thanks to solar power.
  2. Tell a story. More often than not, you'll need to kickstart the real-time social engagement yourself. Tell a story followers can identify with. It can be about a newly-married couple who just purchased their first car: how did you feel when you got your first set of wheels? What was it? How old were you? If you haven't guessed by now, people will jump at the opportunity to tell their story on social media. When they do, respond in kind and engage them.
  3. Humanize your brand. By this, we mean occasionally post material pertaining to things that have nothing to do with your products. It could be an inspirational photo, a timely news story, or a cool video. There's a fine line here, of course; you likely don't want to wade into the waters of pop culture or celebrity gossip. Instead talk about the things you know your customers care about.
  4. Ask for help. Your friends do it all the time. On Facebook they say, "Anyone have a futon they don't want?" At the same time, perhaps your company or you yourself need something. Let's say you're going to Reno for a solar conference - what is there to do in Reno? Again, like the previous tip, you want to be careful about what you ask for. When done right, it's a great way to engage followers.
  5. Provide assistance. Post things that will be helpful or useful to followers. Inevitably some will reply, thanking you, and that can be a springboard for greater discussion.
One last thing. If you Google "real time social engagement" many of the examples given are just glorified examples of newsjacking (e.g. how Oreo cookies got 300 new followers after posting a funny Tweet regarding the Super Bowl.) That's all well and good, but true engagement requires a bit more than a pithy Tweet every now and then. 

Looking for more ways to engage your followers in real-time? Contact us for a free consultation.


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