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A Lesson in Social Media Engagement

Man tweeting about a local business. Social media engagement Seafoam Media blog
When it comes to driving growth on social media, some companies just seem to have a better knack at grabbing people's attention than others. What is it specifically that they're doing that we can learn from? Their secret comes from having certain expectations about social media that we first need to understand. By this, we mean that if your small business is launching a social media plan, you need to understand that the majority of the time, you're not going to see immediate, tangible results. Many businesses give up when they hear this, because they assume social media is like advertising—you spend some money and people come flocking to your website. The truth is, you're not going to get any traffic on social media until you prove that you're trustworthy (in the eyes of your fan or follower). This happens overtime through social media engagement, in the form of conversations, and sharing useful information.
That being said, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Below you'll find some examples of how to create the initial spark via social media, and form long lasting relationships with potential customers.

Social media engagement that works:

Listen for opportunities, then talk.
What do people talk about on Twitter? Well, lots of things. But as a business, you should be listening for people who tweet about:
A. Needing to get something done
B. Having to wait to wait for something
For example, when I was handling social media for a car dealership, I would look up people in the area who were tweeting about getting an oil change. In many cases, they'd be frustrated with the amount of time they had to wait for their car to get finished at another dealership. What did I do? I'd simply reach out to them and offer my condolences at the fact they had to wait so long at a competitor. They'd respond to me, we'd start a conversation, and at the end of the day, our dealership would have a new follower. Now, is this person immediately going to become our customer? No. However, they are going to be thinking of our dealership first the next time they need an oil change, because they know that we're active, and that we listen to their communication.
Respond to everyone and everything, including negative posts. 
One of the best magic tricks you can perform in the world of St. Louis social media management is to turn a sour, unhappy customer into a brand advocate. How does this happen? Simply by being responsive! If a customer leaves negative feedback on your Facebook page, or another social media outlet, you want to address it as soon as possible. The faster you can be in touch with your customer to address their issue, the more they will be impressed at how adept you were at handling the situation. Here's how to break it down:
A. Respond publicly to the customer that you're working to resolve their problem.
B. Promise to privately message them to handle this further.
C. Make good on your promise, get in touch with your customer, get a manager (or the owner) involved, and wow them with customer service.
There have been many times where I've turned unhappy customers into loyal fans, simply because they were so amazed at how quickly and professionally we handled their problem. Often times, they'll even write updated feedback to your social pages, letting your other customers know how you handled the situation. This gives both new and existing fans the opportunity to see that you're attentive, and that you work hard to provide a great product or service.
There are endless examples like these of social media engagement stories that happen every day! Do you have any of your own? Send us a comment on Facebook or a tweet to @SeafoamMedia with your thoughts!

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