social media research

Are you looking for new ways to improve engagement with your audience?

Do you want to know the most effective, yet rarely used social tactics?

In this article I’ll share research findings that reveal three widely underused tactics you can use to build a long-term interested audience.

#1: Provide Customer Service on Facebook

A lot of brands default to Twitter for social customer care. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s important to remember that Facebook offers plenty of customer service options you can leverage as well.

3 tactics for long term relationships

Use these under-used marketing tactics to build relationships for your business.

According to Exact Target’s Audience Growth Survey Report, only 34% of marketers use Facebook to publicly answer customer service questions. However, 69% of those who publicly answer questions say it’s effective.

facebook tactics graph

Think beyond Twitter and consider using Facebook as a customer service tool.

Many top brands such as KLM, T-Mobile and Straight Talk use Facebook to respond to and resolve customers’ questions and problems.

KLM, for example, offers customer service on their Facebook page 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in 10 languages. They even have a live Response Time app that tells people how long they can expect to wait for a reply after they’ve asked a question or made a request.

If you’re ready to start using Facebook for customer service, I suggest checking out Socialbakers’ customer service meter called Socially Devoted. The meter measures how your brand currently communicates and responds to customers via Facebook or Twitter.

social bakers socially devoted meter

Measure your brand’s social customer service rating with Socialbakers’ Socially Devoted tool.

To see how socially devoted your brand is, move the slider (circled in the image above) to Facebook and click on the purple box to enter your social credentials. Use the results to guide your new commitment to Facebook customer service.

Key Takeaway

In addition to Twitter (not instead of), use Facebook as a customer service support tool. Even if your organization can’t match KLM, you can still provide your customers with up-to-date information on your Facebook page.

#2: Tweet FAQs and How-To Content

Only 22% of marketers surveyed regularly offer FAQs and how-to content via their tweets. However, 59% of those who share offer FAQs and how-to content find it’s a good way to build long-term audience engagement.

twitter tactics graph

FAQs and how-to tweets are highly effective for keeping Twitter audiences engaged.

FAQs or how-to articles are popular because they add value without appearing to have an agenda—they aren’t a hard sell. As a result, your followers feel naturally compelled to click on your links and retweet them to their friends and peers.

As you can see in the chart above, common tactics like adding a Twitter button on your website, blog or email newsletter weren’t deemed as effective as less-popular tactics like serving up a regular dose of how-to tweets, working with influencers and bloggers on Twitter and promoting product giveaways that require a Twitter follow.

Key Takeaway

On Twitter, experimentation is key. Think about the FAQs and how-to articles you typically post on your website or blog. Why not turn those into a series of tweets and offer them to your Twitter followers on a regular basis.

Of course, you don’t always need to write a blog post to provide value to your audience. Value is value, even when it’s composed in 140 characters.

#3: Exchange Value for Email Addresses

Email is the primary tactic for driving sales, so it’s important to build your list every chance you get. Surprisingly, most marketers aren’t taking advantage of social media to do that.

email tactics graph

Convert social media audiences into hard leads by offering content that requires email registration.

Only 39% of marketers promote content on social media that requires email registration. On the other hand, the 59% of marketers promoting email-accessible content say it’s proven to be an important component of building their lists.

Amy Porterfield uses this approach by identifying and using at least three Facebook lead-generating opportunities for collecting email subscribers.

You can do the same by implementing specific Facebook content that attracts your fans’ attention (you already know their interests, so this should be easy). You could offer access to webinars, ebooks, free reports and checklists in exchange for an email address.

Once you’ve decided which lead-generating opportunity you’ll use, go a step further and promote it to get wider reach.

exact target promoted post

ExactTarget keeps Facebook fans engaged with free reports in exchange for email addresses.

In the example above, ExactTarget offered a free marketing report in exchange for email subscriptions, and then promoted the post as a Facebook sponsored story to extend their reach and get additional email subscribers who otherwise wouldn’t have seen their post.

Key Takeaway

As you consider various tactics to grow your list, focus on how you can turn your social media followers (especially those on Facebook) into hard leads (email subscribers). Remember, most of your fans are willing to provide an email address in exchange for something that’s valuable to them.


Everywhere you look, you see advice on which tactics to use to grow the size of your audience (and it’s almost always the same advice). The problem is, the most commonly used social marketing tactics don’t always perform very well in the long run.

shutterstock 109952966 light bulb image

Consider using less-widespread social tactics that might inspire your audience. Image: Shutterstock.

The simple truth is that numbers aren’t enough. You need a responsive audience if you want your brand to thrive. A small number of marketers are discovering that less-popular tactics may hold more promise for developing long-term customer relationships and engagement.

To develop a high-quality audience, try the tactics in this article, track the responses and let the data guide you. Continue to listen and learn more about what clicks with your audience.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these underused social marketing tactics? How have you built a high-quality audience? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Light Bulb photo from Shutterstock.
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  • I really like how you are implementing using tools into your relationship marketing. Most people think that relationship building is simply being nice to people. While that is a big part of the whole thing, you’ve got to understand what they want, need, and expect from you as a brand.

    I’ve always thought that building FAQ’s to help people better understand something is a great idea because when you consistently do that, you build trust in the follower and when the time comes to purchase something they will come to the person that has consistently been giving them the free information.

  • Josh Wilson

    Do you have larger versions of these “All Tactics Considered” images?

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Great post!

    Regarding #1: Provide Customer Service on Facebook … How does Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) affect this? If you send someone a direct message, you could be in violation of CASL. For example, if a customer complains about bad service at your pet groomers and you send them a link to a 20% Off coupon, you could be in violation of CASL because the message would be deemed a commercial electronic message (cem). Thoughts? Thank you!

  • Richa Singh Chaudhary

    Before reading this article i had a mind setup that social media channel is the most powerful tool, i just negated the long term relationship. liked your approach by using various tools for relationship building.

  • Tobi Glovinsky Bowen

    I couldn’t agree more. Hope all is well….

  • Geneus

    Not sure I agree with the first two tactics. Granted, they are proven to build one’s audience and their engagement but I seriously think there should be an idustry (Internet?) wide effort to encourage the use of utilities we own and control.

    As big as Facebook and Twitter are, *anything* can happen tomorrow and all that content and hard work will be gone with them as if it never existed. I also find it discouraging that I have to turn to these very social platforms to achieve results I could achieve with a little bit of extra effort directing people to my own site. I guess we’ll learn when it is too late that willingly handing over (all) our data to be manipulated and controlled by other entities is not the right way to go.


  • Neal Taparia

    Great article, Patricia! With Facebook becoming more and more unreliable as a way to reach your earned audience, converting those users to your email list should be high priority for all marketers.

    Moreover, if they were on your email list, you can understand on engaged those readers are.

  • Thanks Patricia to share useful tips with us.

  • Great Post ..Thanks

  • predsicker

    Thanks for reading and sharing your perspective Wade! I’m glad that you got a lot out of this post 🙂

  • predsicker

    Sure thing Josh — If you download the Audience Growth Survey Report (link is in the article) you’ll have access to all the images/graphs mentioned here. Thanks so much for reading!

  • predsicker

    Hi Amandah — Great question. Unfortunately I am not familiar with Canada’s Anti-Spam Law. Perhaps someone else in the audience might have a clue about this?

  • predsicker

    Thanks so much for reading Richa.

  • predsicker

    Exactly right Neal – thanks for reading!!

  • predsicker

    You’re welcome Kristina. Thank you for reading our blog.

  • predsicker

    Cheers 🙂

  • predsicker

    Of course you’re right about owned vs rented media. But I think you’ll agree that before you can get people onto your website, you’ll likely encounter them first on social media. Hence using Facebook/Twitter to nurture those relationships and then gradually draw them to your email list is a smart strategy.

  • “Let the data guide you” is an action I have let slide in my most recent online efforts. I have noticed that when we don’t refer back to how things were received or take stock of the feedback, we ignore our audience (and customers) and wind up putting in more effort than needed.

  • saad_rashad

    @Tobi atleast i have the right to know why i am not paid for 2 days i spended on your task. u need to reply. stop hidding from me and talk me .