How to go from just followers to an engaged audience

For my Social Media Management class at the University of Florida, one of the books I was required to read was “#ASKGARYVEE One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media & Self-Awareness” written by Gary Vaynerchuk. I must say that when I first saw the format in which the book was written, I thought I wouldn’t like it, but as I continued reading, I then found it hard to stop.

In regard to his belief of attending or not college, I am one of the girls who decided to attend college to pursue a bachelor’s degree in public relations and eventually a master’s degree in public interest communications. Just like Gary Vaynerchuk wrote on his book, I highly believe that “it’s one thing to learn from books and study history and to write papers analyzing why one marketing campaign might have worked better for a brand than another. But being able to repeat what you’ve learned, and being able to actually apply that learning to the real world, are two totally different skills and I’m not sure your performance in any course can predict how well you’ll do at the latter.”

For this reason, I’ve decided to share some tips Vaynerchuk wrote on #ASKGARYVEE to not only provide my readers with some great ideas on boosting those engagement rates on their social media networks, but also to encourage them to put these tips into practice just like I am doing by writing this post.

The first step that we must keep in mind is that as Vaynerchuk said, “information is a commodity and the Internet has given us the platform to learn.” As aspiring or already social media managers, the only way we have to take advantage of the Internet to boost our social media sites is by putting together great content on different platforms, so we can reach different people and teach them about different topics.

As Vaynerchuk said, “the way to every consumer’s heart is through a good story.” For our stories to receive the attention they deserve, we must pay close attention to the quality of our stories’ content.

“…the rules of good storytelling have remained the same for business since the beginning of commerce: the quality of a brand’s storytelling is directly proportional to the quality of its content. If it’s not good, no one will pay attention.” The best way to achieve quality is by creating content to which our audiences can relate to in order to generate a deep connection between the brand and the consumer.

“The quality of one almost always affects the reach and effectiveness of the older,” Vaynerchuk said. “Length has nothing to do with quality or value; it’s all about your message and what you do within the constraints of the platform you want to use.”

The second step is to create a social media calendar to make sure you have the time to generate great content and also to always keep your eyes open to emerging social networks.

The third step is to have in mind that, as Vaynerchuk said, “content is never one-size-fits-all.” In other words, it is important to acknowledge that there are different social media networks with different purposes and functions and that each social media network is popular among different audiences. Keep in mind that brands should limit themselves to the platforms in which they know how to communicate and to platforms in which they actually have an audience. As Vaynerchuk said, “it’s not the size of the platform that matters; it’s whom you’re trying to reach. Figure out whom you’re trying to sell to, and story tell on the platforms they love.”

As Vaynerchuk said, always remember to “mold your content so it feels native to these platforms and creates context, scratching the emotional itch that drew your consumer to the platform in the first place.”

When we talk about good content, we must have in mind that good content is not about your desires as a brand. The first thing you should do as content creator is to think about what type of content your readers want to read, and provide them with tons of it.

The fourth step is to respond to content created by your audience. In other words, show them that you are present, and that you are listening to everything they say. Just like great leaders do, show your audience that you really care about them.

When responding to messages from your audience be extremely careful with automation. One thing is to send an automated message or email whenever you want to confirm receipt of an online order, registration or subscription; and another completely different thing is to always reply to your audience’s comments with automation. As Vaynerchuk said, “this idea that automating human behavior is acceptable in the interest of saving time in a busy world goes completely against all the authenticity and transparency that make the social media age so unique and wonderful.”

In addition, have in mind that automation can trick you sometimes. It is true that, as humans, we tend to make mistakes, but it is also true that depending on the circumstance, sometimes mistakes are not accepted. For instance, if you created an automated message to advertise your brand, and you forgot to set it off after a terrorist attack happened, that mistake might cost your brand not only a lost in money, but a lost of respect from your audience.

“Content creates opportunity, and if you can’t produce the content at the rate your audience wants it or that benefits you, your business won’t survive,” Vaynerchuk said. Ideally, social media managers or content creators should publish content once a day. If you think this practice is impossible, try to at least publish content twice a week. A great practice, besides creating your own content is to publish curated content that you believe could be helpful to your audience.

If you liked the content of this post, don’t forget to like and share it, and also make sure to check Vaynerchuk’s book.

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