Engaging Consumers on Social Media Platforms

29 January 2016

Market researchers seek to engage their consumers and solicit feedback to create more effective marketing. Brand messaging must correctly and consistently call consumers to action; this is perhaps the most difficult challenge facing advertising professionals in general and the social media marketer in specific. With such a specific focus to their efforts, the social media specialist must carefully consider the reach, nature, and outcome of their marketing.

Identify Your Audience

A billboard only affects consumers who see it; in the same way, social media ads only reach that subset of consumers that engages in social media. Even when the advertisement creates an effective call to action, the response generated will only be reflective of those consumers who engage in and respond to the targeted social media source. Even in a network that potentially reaches millions of consumers, the effective subset of consumers reached will be much smaller than the whole and will all share a common bias toward social media interaction. Placing undue emphasis on this necessarily small subset of the market can skew marketing efforts and cause other demographics to be neglected.

Identify Your Message

Consistent branding is one of the key tenets of successful marketing. Brands that unify their messaging across multiple platforms will invariably see better results than brands whose messaging is fragmented and confusing. Social media networks include an inherent bias in their structure that skews both the audience and the brand messaging. Networks that focus on image publication, for example, heavily favor visual branding and appeal primarily to an audience that enjoys that kind of media presentation. Engagement is more limited than venues that encourage textual interaction. Brand messaging must not only remain consistent between platforms but must match the media to the consumer’s expectation.

Clarify Your Call to Action

With social media’s heavy emphasis on entertainment, it can be tempting to label any form of interaction as successful consumer engagement. Generating upticks on your platform does not actually produce conversions, and your brand messaging must include a specific and profitable call to action in order to be effective. Virally propagating advertisements do create engagement on the part of the consumer, but without clear direction that engagement is wasted.

Brand awareness is not the same as brand consumption; the former is merely the means to create the latter. Effective social media marketing builds a clear and compelling bridge that reaches the right audience with the right message and results in conversion.

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