Social media is now integral part of any marketing strategy. The ability to instantaneously reach out to thousands or millions of people through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has enormous potential.

Enormous, though mostly un-captured.

While much of social media marketing is extremely successful, for every success story there are two failures. 56% of marketers say that an “inability to tie social media to business outcomes” is the largest pain point of their social media strategy. With such uncertain returns on some social media strategies, effective social media engagement is absolutely essential to company’s success.

Social media engagement is communicating your message well enough that consumers pay attention. In its most successful form, social media engagement establishes a two-way relationship between your business and customers over the social media platform. Transforming your company’s posts from simply being looked at, to being liked, shared, and commented on, is the aim. An example of more complex social media engagement is to use your company’s Twitter account to serve as a point of contact with existing customers.

Broadly speaking, people crave human interaction. By using social media engagement to give your company a face you’ll gain an advantage over your competition. Showing your company’s personal side through pictures, vlogs, and effective use of hashtags can establish a stronger connection with customers, and increase any businesses’ retention and referral rates.

Additionally, using social media to address any questions or complaints that they might have, and to ensure they have a good experience dealing with your company, can be essential to building up your business through positive referrals. You want to be there for your customers no matter the circumstance — in an age where many people complain on social media, it’s essential that you engage with them to better meet their needs. Otherwise, the customer may spread negative messages about your company to their potentially extensive network, harming your brand, reputation, and sales.

Due to this dynamic, social media engagement as a means to improve customer experience is key to growing your business. It is a positive business outcome that is free for the taking with an effective social media strategy, especially in an age where such customer engagement through social media is starting to become the industry standard.

The snowball effect

social media engagement

Effective social media engagement leads to retweets, favorites, shares, and comments – all of which gain your company’s post more exposure in other people’s feeds. When your company’s post gains traction on social media, it extends your message, your business, and your products. It also creates a core group of customers who are more likely to create credible leads for your business, and become brand advocates over the long haul.

Social media engagement allows for more exposure and for your company’s original content to leave a much longer lasting impression on your customers and remember your social media presence about your products and activities. Continued interaction with a brand is more likely to build up brand loyalty, and that interaction is easily generated through consistent engagement with customers through social media.

Effective social media engagement provides some of the best metrics of what content, products, or initiatives receive a positive reception. Analyzing the difference between reception of posts related to different content and product offerings allows a company to evaluate the difference in consumer enthusiasm of difference parts of the company. Alternatively, analyzing social media engagement can be used to assess differences in the effectiveness of difference styles of messaging to consumers.

The benefits of social media marketing will continue to grow in the coming years, but for your company to benefit from that rising tide, you need effective engagement. Changing a company Twitter and Facebook page from formulaic posts to actively trying to engage with customers on a personal level is essential to an effective social media marketing campaign.