The realizations that placing more focus on social media marketing is now imperative and continues to dawn upon the minds of business players across the nation. As progressive as that is it’s also evident that many are still novice in this critically important field of 21st century businesses. This is reflected across the many social media business platforms that I have come across locally. The most prevalent issue I have noted is the low levels of engagement on those platforms. One thing is clear though, owners & administrators of those platforms religiously & consistently post content.

So I figured that most people still operate with a mindset that places the whole crux of social media marketing on just one focal area – posting. However, the efficacy of social media marketing is majorly dependent on how high engagements are on your platform. Engagements (comments, likes, shares etc) entail platform visitors & users actively interacting with your posts, thus, the significant need for the cultivation of two-way communication.

Why Two-Way Communication Is Important

This eliminates the mistake of treating people as objects. People want to feel that they are regarded as human beings & not just mere money dispensers for your products & services.

This is also goes a long way in building trust & rapport between you and your customers. Remember you want to have a lasting relationship with them & any form of relationship thrives on mutual trust & rapport.

Communication’s thrust is to relay messages back and forth to establish a common understanding. Therefore if it’s two-way it becomes easy to identify customer needs & wants so as to guarantee they are met. Customer satisfaction is paramount if you are to grow as a business especially in this context of mainly virtual interactions.

Platforms like Facebook operate based on algorithms & these algorithms favour pages that are characterized by high engagements. High engagements are wrought out of two-way communication between site owners & users.

Ways To Cultivate Two-Way Communication

Post Content Regularly & Consistently

This is the first step; ensure you do this to make people realize that your platform is alive. Besides, your posts are the triggers that are meant to provoke people to see your brand & to interact with you. Posting must be regular & consistent but not excessive; your posts ought to have adequate individual & due airplay so that they aren’t prematurely drowned by new posts.

Address All Comments & Messages

Make it a resolve that you respond to every comment and message; this must be done in the earliest time possible. You must ensure that you are cordial and always proactively respond (don’t react even when dealing with rude or abrasive comments or messages). Even a mere Like by you on a comment by a user encourages the person to communicate more. As the saying goes, “one good turn deserves another”, as such if you respond timeously customers are more inclined to communicate.

Leverage On the Live Features

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram & Twitter all have Live features. Take advantage of these to do live videos where you interact with your page users. This will create an engaging and interactive way of communicating with users; generally live video posts tend to generate significantly more attention as opposed to other generic posts.

Ask Questions

Don’t always post content that is one-way i.e. posts that are just feeding into a monologue. Come up with posts that are characterized by questions that have to be answered by your audience. It’s a timeless wisdom that questions are the liberators of knowledge. Therefore, being inquisitive in your posts by asking questions, taking polls, surveys etc will engage your customers more.

Conduct Competitions

People always love the prospects of winning something after participating in a competition. Setting up posts on competitions where your customers can win some of your products or services will surely attract even those accustomed to spectating from the terraces. Regularly do this.

Loosen Up A Bit

Now, there is always a natural tendency to be strictly formal and too abstract in posts and how you respond to engagements. However, this might actually be working against you. Any endeavour, no matter how serious or formal, must be infused with a bit of humour to make it lively. Put some humour in your posts or responses, this will free up people to feel inclined to open up more. An example is Elon Musk (the owner of Tesla, SpaceX and several other global businesses); if you go on his Twitter handle you wouldn’t even think he is a billionaire owner of such big companies. His tweets are mostly infused with humour and that has made many people to communicate with him more.

Incorporate Story-Telling In Your Posts

People are generally gripped by a good well narrated story. Drafting your posts in the form of stories will elicit more responses & generally opens up a dialogue with users that will help you pick on a lot of important details. I’ll mention Strive Masiyiwa to buttress this point. Last year Strive Masiyiwa was ranked as the world’s number 1 social media influencer on Facebook with respect to levels of engagement on his page. Here is the striking thing about this feat; the other 9 who made it into the top 10 were people who mainly use video-based content on their pages. Strive, on the other hand, mainly uses text-based story-telling type of posts. Surveys always say that video-based content elicits more engagements but Strive’s approach defied that.

Here is a secret: apply what’s called the 80/20 rule i.e. 80% of your focus must be on brand awareness & conversing with customers & 20% on advertising products or services. As you can infer from that approach, it means focus more on communicating with your customers. That communication should always be back & forth to create a shared & common understanding on all pertinent matters.