THE BLOG
11/07/2016 06:32 am ET Updated Nov 08, 2017

The Importance of a Personal Connection: Interactive Social Media

The vast majority of Americans are at least aware of the biggest social media platforms with the five biggest based strictly on consumer awareness being: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. According to statistics based on actual user traffic, all of those are in the top 20 of all U.S. websites with the exception of Snapchat. This clearly shows how popular social media currently is but also the potential for future growth within the field.

As the popularity of connecting with other people on digital platforms continues to grow, social media becomes an increasingly important marketing resource. However, unlike other advertising tactics, social media requires the establishment of a personal connection in order to be most effective. So how does one make that personal connection? Read on.

Provide Value

Many companies look at social media as simply another avenue of promotion. While it is possible to discriminate new information on social media platforms, consumers recognize ads and many find it invasive to receive propaganda from accounts they are following. What they respond well to are those things that provide a sense of value that don't feel like a marketing ploy.

Facebook Live is one of the newest innovations that creates an opportunity to engage users via an immensely popular social media site and provide substantial user value. Companies large and small are able to being streaming a live video with nothing more than a phone or a computer. Those being filmed are able to interact with users who are watching as they speak. This gives unprecedented consumer access to a company, organization, or entrepreneur. Viewers are able to see that user questions and opinions are important and they gain a sense of familiarity with the speaker.

Twitter is not only a popular platform; it offers one of the easiest ways to create a personal connection with consumers. There are a variety of strategies to increase engagement, including hashtag campaigns, retweeting users who mention relevant topics, and specifically tweeting to people who are discussing something relevant to your brand. Twitter is essentially a worldwide chat room where a company has the opportunity to jump into the daily conversation of millions of customers. To give consumers a reason to follow along with your conversation offer regular coupons, industry specific tips, and free resources.

Facilitate Participation

It isn't enough to simply provide resources for consumers. It is equally important to give them a way to actively participate in the conversation by engaging their own social networks. This can be done in a variety of ways including sharing information with their personal network, participating in surveys, or entering contests.

A lot of people initially discover a business through their official website or blog. There are several ways to immediately take advantage of their visit. A landing page that offers users something of value if they join an email list, social media sharing buttons on images and at the end of posts, and social login. Some of the newest trends as noted by Social Login, involve creating a sense of authenticity and personalization. All of the above methods utilize this trend by encouraging the exchange of personal information between the company and the user. Instead of anonymously viewing a website they are providing their contact information, sharing what they find to their social network, or authenticating themselves with a universal login.

Once a company has this information, they are able to easily facilitate participation with those users. Email interest can be monitored and data collected for a variety of data points. This makes it possible to determine which methods are most effective. Social media shares are follows can be tracked in a similar way, as can the number of referred users from those sites. Make it easy for visitors to engage and share your content and then collect the data to discover how well it is working and what needs to be improved upon.

A business presence on any social media platform should not rely solely on distributing information. It is increasingly important for companies to actively engage with their audience and encourage authentic interaction with users in order to develop and increase brand loyalty. The number of available social media outlets can make it difficult to know where to start. The key is to choose the medium that feels like the most natural fit for the brand.