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How to Engage Customers on Social Media to Build Your Brand

Since its inception, social media has grown from a virtual gathering place to shoppable media. It is very effective for boosting sales, evidenced by almost every successful business's social media presence. However, it is short-sighted to view it as only a sales platform. Instead, retailers need to consider its effect on customer engagement and brand-building. 

Social media is the optimal platform for brand building because it allows you to interact with your audience. It helps companies deepen the relationship between their brand and customers. Social media can take the customer relationship from virtual-only to in-person by building foot traffic to storefronts. Even those customers who don't live in the area can continue to get their favorite products online and stay informed about sales and in-store events for a return visit.  

Let's look at how you can increase your brand recognition and strengthen your customer relationships through social media.  

Give a Glimpse into Your Company   

When used optimally, a business's social media account can give customers a glimpse into their company. Transparency is very intriguing to consumers, particularly those who want to ensure they buy responsibly from companies that support causes important to them. If your business uses sustainable practices, you can share what steps you take and why your leadership feels passionate about it. If you source only organic or cruelty-free ingredients, give the consumers insight into how you ensure they comply with your standards.  

You can leverage many types of social media content to make your customers feel they have a more intimate knowledge of your brand. Video can be even more powerful than words alone. Supplement your posts with recorded employee highlights and tours of your facility, or feature some of your manufacturing processes. Content that lets the customer glimpse what goes on behind the curtain reinforces the perception of familiarity with your company and culture.  

Teach Customers About Your Industry  

Another essential function of your social media account is using it as an educational platform.  You can provide your customers with valuable tips and advice, either as standalone posts or by distributing blogs or other content. Taking the informative approach is an excellent way to increase engagement, as you are giving away something of value: knowledge. When you don't ask for anything in return, it presents your company as genuinely wanting to help. 

Entertain Your Followers!   

Above all else, make your social media feed entertaining and enjoyable. By matching your content to your customers' humor with relevant information, you establish yourself as a positive brand. For instance, a cannabis company might post a tongue-in-cheek video or blog on how to celebrate 4/20 responsibly by showing what you don't want to do. Even traditionally serious industries like social services can take a page out of former President Obama's playbook. He famously sat Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis and filmed the video "Things Everybody Does But Doesn't Talk About" to promote and inform people about the Affordable Care Act.  

Engagement is critical for building a brand. You not only want to make your company seem like a resource but have customers want to view and interact with your posts. Keep in mind that, like most things, timing is everything. Posting at regular but not too frequent intervals is best.  

Sell Indirectly  

Your business's purpose is to sell. While there is some room for that on social media, it shouldn't be your primary focus. For best effect, you can't frame your posts as trying to get customers to purchase. Instead, approach your posts from an informational standpoint without being pushy so your customers will feel comfortable. That could mean alerting people to upcoming events or promotions and highlighting new stock or seasonal items.   

Social Media Management Builds Your Brand Through Engagement 

There is a widely held misconception that social media marketing is effortless and organic and an extension of other marketing efforts. It takes marketing knowledge, a deep understanding of social media, and a carefully constructed and executed social strategy to achieve your goals. A marketing manager is not the same as a social media manager. While both play essential roles, a marketing manager has many responsibilities, from market research to product packaging to ad creation. 

A social media manager has a very narrow scope of responsibility. They spend their time enhancing the company's social media profile, interacting with customers on different social platforms, scheduling content for regular posting, and staying up on the most effective techniques to excite customers. Social media management builds your brand through engagement. To get started engaging more effectively with your customers, work with a media partner who can develop a customized social strategy for you.  


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Angela Todd

Written by Angela Todd

Angela Todd is a Digital Marketing Consultant for Federated Digital Solutions. She has over 20 years in both sales and marketing. With experience in both the newspaper and radio industry, Angela found her passion working in digital marketing for the past few years. It was digital marketing where Angela finally felt like she wasn’t just a consultant to her clients, but a true partner and extension of their marketing team. Bringing her clients, a return on their marketing is what gets her out of bed every day.

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