Increasing and Cultivating Brand Engagement

Engagement is the name of the game for social brands looking to connect, build relationships and interact with their social audience. In an effort to "prep" social brands with the know how to best engage socially, Christina Trapolino, Director of Social at Jason's Deli, Will Zweigart, Sr. Program Director at 5Loom, and Spredfast shared ideas and lessons learned around how brands should be thinking about building scalable social programs to achieve meaningful engagement and interaction. In addition to making up new words, see "conversate" - the group surfaced three core areas for any social brands to hone in on when approaching how to engage across social media channels. 1. A focus on audience and content Engagement comes in all shapes and formats across the social web. But with the average company centrally managing 51 social accounts yielding two million interactions every 90 days, the focus starts with knowing what you want to achieve then diving into your audience's interests and providing them with the content that's compelling to them.  Hint: if you're not asking what your audience(s) need, want and are motivated by, chances are you're not truly utilizing social to best reach them. Social Content Create Curate Conversate Treating content as a first rate citizen in social activities is crucial to connecting with these audiences. The three content C"™s "“ Create, Curate and Conversate "“ serve as a model for thinking through the best ways to utilize social content. Do you have the resources or an existing toolbox of company created content to share and socialize? Is curating ideas, news and best-in-class thoughts from your industry the best way to build an engaging presence? Or, are there existing conversations taking place around themes and relevant topics that your brand can participate in organically to build relationships? Chances are, your best model involves all three. 2.  Using data to uncover insights New content arises each second in social. People talk about your brand. People talk about timely, relevant topics that matter in the moment. And smart social brands are sharing content that speaks to passion points and interest areas that resonate with their networks. What"™s compelling to one audience often isn"™t as successful for another. Social data exists to unlock the answers around what"™s working well and what can be optimized from a brand content perspective. John Deere benchmarks social activity by business goal. For example, they know what content best helps build awareness by uncovering what has the furthest reach through growth in fan base, video views and impressions. Whereas to assess engagement and action they identify content that creates word of mouth, shares, and Likes, or comments, clicks and referrals, respectively. 3.  Making someone happy This may sound obvious, but Jason"™s Deli serves as a social case study unto itself on how a brand can create positive experiences all day, every day, for social customers. Leaning heavily on the "conversate" tier of the content model, Jason"™s Deli"™s approach can be explained in three parts: -   Monitoring. The social team actively monitors for conversations and interest areas their audience holds. Without a content creation-rich culture, they"™ve found tremendous success in listening for keywords and relevant searches to unearth existing conversations. Some around their brand. Some not. -  Surprise and delight. When relevant conversations arise, the team in on point to respond, acknowledge or add a personal touch to community conversations. Targeting responses through Likes, Comments and replies builds engagement within their existing network and also helps attract new community members to opt in through following and becoming part of their fan base. -  Winning with conversations. Through organic conversations and interactions, Jason"™s Deli can illustrate enhanced word of mouth, brand preference, share of voice and yes, even sales of sandwiches.

With the social landscape evolving, these best practices help uncover the tip of the engagement iceberg. What tips or lessons learned do you have about building and cultivating brand engagement across social?  

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