Social Media Marketing 101: How to Authentically Engage Your Audience


Think of the last time that you felt someone was trying to get you to do something. How did it make you feel? Defensive? Annoyed? Suddenly an expert excuse-generator?

We’ve all been there. We’ve felt the need to put up a guard when someone is attempting to persuade us to do something. When we feel we’re being sold to, a defense mechanism just automatically activates within us.

For business owners, this reaction poses a severe threat. You know that your product or service is truly what consumers need to add to their lives. So, how do you get past people’s defenses? How can your business build a genuine connection with the public in order to create a community of fans who trust you?

One of the most effective ways to build this trust and bypass people’s defenses is through social media marketing. When businesses are active on social media, it enables them to effortlessly speak one-on-one with current and potential customers in a casual setting where defenses are significantly low. This genuine type of interaction causes connections to form and allows the public to view your business in a positive light. Authentic engagement occurs, breeding an audience of fans who know you, like you, and trust you, which ultimately, will fuel sales!

But with the impressive number of people incessantly scrolling through social media in today’s world, how can your business create “thumb-stopping” content that rises above the noise and stands out on cluttered newsfeeds?

Here are ten tips for creating authentic social posts that are sure to engage your audience and create connections. Incorporate these and watch average social media users transform into avid fans of your business:

1. Understand why people are on a particular social platform in the first place.

The importance of this tip firmly plants it at the top of this list. In order to create successful social posts that will draw maximum attention, you must have a general understanding of what people are expecting to see when they log on to a particular social network. Then, you must create your own posts with this in mind.

  • Facebook – These users are looking to connect with others. Videos are huge on this social site! Helpful tips and tricks, recipes, funny memes, etc. fill every newsfeed in existence. Your business’ Facebook posts should follow suit by offering something to users and in turn, invoking a sense of connection to your brand.
  • Twitter – These users are looking for instant news updates. This social platform is giving newspaper companies across the country a serious run for their money. The average Twitter user’s timeline is typically filled with breaking news and helpful information. Your business’ tweets should offer valuable and timely advice, data, tips, and up-to-date news that your ideal customers would need.
  • Instagram – These users simply want to see pictures and maybe an occasional video. The typical Instagram feed is filled with pictures of pets, food, trendy outfits, inspirational quotes, etc. Your business’ Instagram posts should include relevant and interesting images with creative captions that are sure to stop a person from scrolling straight past them.
  • Snapchat – These users are looking for entertainment. The infamous filters found in this social platform have completely transformed the way that people take pictures, specifically selfies. Snapchat stories are great places for businesses to post behind-the-scenes pictures or videos of the daily workings of their company. Your business’ Snapchat posts should seek to entertain users and further cultivate an interest in your brand.

2. Know what your followers' lives are like. 

Most businesses have identified a target persona who they keep in mind when they market themselves. This persona represents the typical type of person who has proven to be interested in their products and services. This knowledge gives businesses a marketing advantage because they know their average customer’s characteristics and personalities; therefore, they can promote themselves in a way that they know will speak to those interests. For example, if your business’ average customer loves the outdoors, you can capitalize on this by posting pictures of outdoor settings and activities that are sure to capture their attention. Simply put, post what you know your followers will like to see.

3. Use humor. 

We have all heard it said, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Many people turn to social media when they need a good dose of amusement to give them a break from their mundane, daily routine. Because of this, humor is a great tool that businesses can use to their advantage. When you can make people laugh, you increase your chances of building connections and forming relationships. Also, since people are extremely prone to share posts that they find amusing, your business’ chance of exposure will increase.

4. Utilize Facebook reactions. 

Not so long ago, the only type of reaction people could have to a Facebook post was a “like.” But, oh, how times have changed. Facebook users now have the luxury of loving, being angry with, being saddened by, exclaiming “Wow!” to, or laughing at any given post. This creates a unique opportunity for businesses, as they are now able to encourage active participation with their audience by asking for votes or reactions using the aforementioned responses. (See image below.) This practice significantly increases engagement by inviting opinions and discussions to your Facebook posts.

FB Reactions Post.png5. Include emojis. 

The use of emojis adds vibrancy to social posts. Earlier, we mentioned the phrase, “thumb-stopping” content, which refers to posts that catch people’s attention and stop them from quickly scrolling past. Emojis are capable of capturing attention much better than plain text. They also set the tone of social posts and show audiences how they should receive the content being shared. 

6. Ask for reactions. 

Want to know what your current or prospective customers think about a certain aspect of your products, services, or even your business as a whole? Ask for reactions on social media and gather valuable insight from your followers. When businesses ask for gut reactions on a social platform, not only can they gain interesting feedback, but they can also attract attention to their page by the number of responses being generated. This can be accomplished with the Facebook reactions mentioned above, or you can simply ask for customer reviews in the comments section.

7. Remember the importance of offering useful facts. 

People love learning new things, then sharing their newfound knowledge with others. Social media offers your business the chance to post inspirational facts or data that will positively spotlight your industry. Your business can also share survey results or other quality information that provides insight to potential customers who may be deciding whether or not to give your products or services a try. Keep in mind, however, that your business should not give too much detail away. Use social posts to increase interest, then encourage engagement by having them go to your website to learn more.

8. Unveil new products and services. 

People love to feel that they are VIP status. Tap into this feeling by rewarding your social media followers with exclusive information and “first look” opportunities. Reveal a new product or service on your social pages before you announce it elsewhere. Tease your social followers with a few details about a new development in your company and create buzz around your business.

9. Give prizes away.

Social media prize giveaways are a great way for businesses to create positive feelings toward their brand. Giving away prizes also provides businesses with the opportunity to put their own product or service in the hands of people who may have never tried it before. Requiring information from participants, such as names, emails, and phone numbers, will generate quality, hot leads. As an added bonus, businesses can increase their exposure by asking their followers to share their giveaway post with their friends. Rewarding your social followers with frequent prize giveaways will prove to greatly benefit your business’ overall social presence.

10. Use videos. 

To put it lightly: If your business is not currently posting videos on social media, start sooner rather than later! Videos give your followers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the inner workings of your business’ daily routines or events. They are the ultimate form of entertainment on social media today and are responsible for attracting mass attention. The rise of live videos on Facebook has presented businesses with an incredible marketing opportunity. Live videos can be utilized during events or to show off a new aspect of your products, services, or business location. Weekly news reports, company milestones, and “how-to” demonstrations are all ways in which your business can leverage videos to increase interest and encourage engagement with your social followers. 

Social media marketing provides a “backdoor” method of inspiring consumers to become your business’ customers. It enables your business to bypass people’s defenses by allowing you to effortlessly speak one-on-one with current and potential customers in a casual setting. This genuine type of interaction causes connections to form and allows the public to view your business in a positive light. If your business effectively utilizes social media to entertain and inspire reactions from your followers, you will soon be on the fast track to cultivating a community of fans who trust you, inevitably fueling your overall sales!


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