How serving your audience on social media earns trust and engagement

Approaching your social media activities in a way that seeks to serve rather than broadcast, share rather than sell and give rather than gain is what fosters connection, trust and engagement. People are using the internet, and social media in particular, to seek out their tribes, to find the places they belong, have the conversations they want to have, learn about the things that interest them and support the causes that mean something to them. For the most part, we’re ‘over’ being sold to and have learnt to tune out. We’re hard-wired to connect and belong and we’re using that instinct to filter out the noise. Being of value to your audience through serving them is not a ‘nice to have’, it’s the currency of the day.

So how exactly can you serve your audience?
Here are a few suggestions to get your own ideas flowing;

Educate
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, there's always an opportunity to educate your audience about the things you know about. It doesn’t have to be, and probably shouldn’t be specifically about your product, but informative pieces relevant to an industry and related to your products and business can be very valuable and engaging.

Here’s a great example of an engaging educative post ...

Ask their opinion
There are lots of different ways you can serve your audience and the better you know them, the better you can serve them. But did you know that getting to know them is a form of serving them? Not only do people love to share their thoughts and opinions, but their answers will make it easier for you to serve them better in the future. Win, win.

Pat Flynn does this really well in this example ...

Industry news
Sharing news about the industry you’re in can also be a great way to foster engagement if a broader context is of value to your audience. A good example of this is for tech companies where broader trends are useful to keep up with, but again, it can work for all industries.

Customer stories
Making your audience the hero and showcasing your customers’ own stories could possibly be one the best ways to serve them. Remember, we’re all trying to find our tribes and feel like we belong. By telling your customers’ stories, you deepen your own brand story. Everyone wants to matter.

Inspire
Inspirational quotes are big on social media and the reason for this that again, people are seeking connection and belonging, and relevant quotes taps into that … and quotes go really well with beautiful images. Images rock on social media, we love them. Choose quotes that are relevant to your theme, to your customers’ journey and which are in alignment to your brand message.

Be personal
Offer a few personal posts that show your personality and remind your audience that you’re a real person. It’s often been said that people get the most engagement from their audience from their personal posts. It’s up to you how you do this, so just have a go and see what happens, see how you feel. Have fun, but stay professional and appropriate, of course!

Downloads, gifts and useful stuff
A great way to serve your audience is to give them things that you know they’ll find useful. Depending on your business, they could be things like templates and checklists to help them with something, maybe a how-to video, a free sample. Give without a hook, give what you know they’ll love.

There are so many things you can do to serve your audience, so I guess this is a good time to remind you not to be overwhelmed - you don’t have to do it all. The most important thing is that you nurture the mindset of serving your audience through social media, find some things you feel comfortable with and which fit your brand and your business, and do them well. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect and it should always be something you’re listening to and responding to. If you notice something’s working, or not working, increase or decrease it, make it better, ask the question - serve them! Being of value to your audience means making them the hero by educating them, inspiring them and listening to them.

Thank you for reading, and now that you’re ready to serve, your next step is to create a plan. Why? I’ll tell you all about that in tomorrow’s post.

Take care, serve hard.
Andrea

Resource credit: Thank you to Amy Porterfield for the images and guidance from her article, "Top 20 high engagement Facebook posts". You can download that article from http://www.amyporterfield.com/2015/02/48-2015-facebook-engagement/

Photo credit: PicMonkey.com