It’s in the best interest of every digital marketing agency, marketing manager or small business owner to ensure customers are actively engaged on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks. This is the key to increasing retention rates, conversions and having control of the information that is being passed on to others. With that in mind let’s looks at how to get more personal customer engagement on social media. What is Engagement? Before we get down to highlighting the specific outreach strategies let’s first define what engagement on social media entails. Engagement is an interaction through social media platforms. This can be in the form of; Likes which signify a minor engagement from your followers or friends Comments which is an indication that your post is interesting enough to elicit a deeper reaction. Shares which indicate that your content is powerful and is worth reaching a much bigger audience. Apart from these, your post could be a call to action. For such, the engagement you would be after is for people to buy products, RSVP attendance or seek out your services. Whichever reaction you are going for, there are ways to achieve this: Humanize Your Accounts The focus of your social media campaigns should be more on your workforce than technology. The reasoning behind this is that its people who drive relationships and not technology. With that in mind, companies should empower their workers or a single person who is passionate and a good communicator to be behind social media accounts. Customers will feel comfortable talking or replying to an actual human being than a company name without a face. Such a person will make a brand more human and relatable. Strategize on how the personality will increase their reach and visibility; this can be through blogging, hosting webinars, or creating video content for your website. Be Active in Several Channels Engagement calls for availability on the channels that your customers are likely to frequent. That being said, there are some social media tools that create closer relationships than the rest. Google+ Circles: By creating Circles that are relevant to your industry, you can add customers and monitor what they are posting or talking about. This will make it easier to reach specific individuals who may have queries or whose input could be beneficial. Google Communities: Create or join communities in line with your industry. Be part of the discussion and showcase your expertise to members and prospective customers. Google Hangouts: With hangouts, you can video-conference with up to 9 of your customers at a go. You can also upload a Google Doc with the group, watch a YouTube video together and text chat at the same time, and lastly create a group whiteboard presentation. How’s that for personal engagement? LinkedIn Groups: Open company pages on LinkedIn, this comes with the added advantage of featuring up to 3 groups per page; with this, you get to increase the chances of reaching and engaging with many customers. Use Conversational Hashtags Customers want to be involved in interesting or trending discussions. This can be made possible by using the right hashtags. Not only will this make it easy for customers to follow your content but using hashtags can double engagement rates . Apart from Twitter, you can now use hashtags on Facebook, Pinterest and many other social media platforms like Instagram. To ensure that you are creating the right conversation, use tools like Twitonomy and Hashtagify to analyze the popularity, trends, and correlations of any hashtag. Pay Attention to Negative Comments and Reviews Customer engagement is only meaningful if you get to address both the good and the bad that comes with being in business. Companies that ignore bad comments on social media sites may end up losing followers, having their products boycotted or have the experience shared with others. Reaching out to such customers will bring you out as a caring brand. If their queries are solved, these ‘bad reviewers’ can actually end up being your most loyal customers and even online brand advocates. The Take-Away A point to remember is that social media is not about you but other people. Posting too much information about your company will definitely bore most of your followers. Instead, break serious content with interesting and funny takes on processes, products, and company - employees’ relationships. Author’s Bio: Catherine Park is a connector with Caffeinated who help businesses find their audience online. She loves working in the ever-changing world of digital and is fascinated by the role content plays in today’s marketing.