Social Media returns are estimated to be $3 billion this year, and $4 billion next year, according to eMarketer. Use social media to drive your brand and create customer evangelists that are voluntary advocates of your business and products, and who want to actively spread the word on behalf of your business. Brand evangelists are not motivated by money, but rather by the belief that the product or company they believe in will provide benefits to others. You, as a social marketer, want to encourage those recommendations. Here’s three of the top ways you can improve your social media marketing.

1. Focus on Social Communication, Not Just Social Content

Social media is about the conversation with your customers, not about directly promoting or selling products and services. The goal is build relationships and trust with your customers and actively engage with them. Let your customers promote your products by promoting your customers. Make them into brand evangelists by freely sharing information and knowledge, and by encouraging your customers to freely share information and knowledge. Tweet or retweet your customers’ tweets and posts, respond to and “like” your customers’ comments, and actively share your customers’ feedback.

2. Listen & Engage With Your Audience

Engage with your audience frequently, at least once a day. Make sure you are talking with them‚Äö√Ñ√Æthe conversation‚Äö√Ñ√Æand not talking at them.Don’t ignore them and especially do not ignore negative comments. Negative comments by customers is not necessarily a bad thing as long as you respond. A couple unanswered negative comments can leave a poor impression on prospective customers, not just the person who posted it. Remember, when someone takes the time to post a comment they are telling you they want you to engage with them. Do so.

Responding to negative comments is an opportunity to build your business and your social network. For example, a customer may complain that a product doesn’t work for them. That may very well be true and not the fault of your product. This is your chance to suggest another one of your products or make a recommendation for a product that might meet the customers needs even if it isn’t a product you sell. This person will potentially buy a product from you they otherwise would not have or will turn to you in future when seeking out a product. Other customers will see you and your business as actively engaged in wanting the best for your customers and will reward you for that.

3. Social Engagement is Ongoing

Like most marketing, social media is ongoing. You don’t just do it once. It takes time and commitment. Social media is a continuous engagement with your customers. Social customers can offer a long-term ROI of ten times more than non-social customers. That means building equity in your social channels can offer a big payoff. Just because a customer engages with you one time on a social channel doesn’t mean they are necessarily a social customer. You have to continue to build and develop the relationship, turning that customer into an evangelist for your brand.

Following these simple tips will help you build and improve your social media engagement with your customers and help you create brand evangelists that will promote your company and your products for you. Support them through your social engagement and the rewards for you and your customers can be great.

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