social media how toIs your company’s social media as stale as last month’s bread?

Would you like to get more people-to-people interaction and begin a real conversation with your audience on social media?

No matter your company’s industry or size, you can encourage these deeper connections and improve your social media engagement.

Here are some tips to help you encourage people-to-people interaction, whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare or Instagram.

#1: Use Facebook to Highlight Employees and Reach Out to Fans

Your company is only as good as your hardworking employees—so don’t be afraid to highlight them.

SEOmoz uses Facebook photo albums to highlight their employees.

The SEOmoz Facebook Page does an excellent job of this. Two examples in particular really jump out.

The “Then and Now” photo album: Employees provided photos from their youth along with recent photos of themselves. This is a great way to show fans the human side of SEOmoz. Plus, the baby pictures are adorable.

facebook seomoz employees

SEOmoz does a wonderful job of featuring employees, like in this “Then and Now” photo album.

The “What are Mozzers listening to?” photo album: All it took was snapping photos of employees with their headphones on and asking them what they were listening to. The result is an inside look at company culture.

The MLS team Seattle Sounders FC creates Facebook Events and invites their fans.

facebook sounders events

The MLS team Seattle Sounders FC creates Events for both their games and promotional events like player meet-and-greets.

Is your company holding an event that’s open to the public?

Then create a Facebook Event so followers can RSVP and add it to their calendars. This is a feature that is often overlooked by businesses—even many professional sports teams don’t create Facebook Events for their home games.

To get your juices flowing, here’s a short list of the types of gatherings where a Facebook Event could be perfect:

  • Seminars
  • Webinars
  • Open houses
  • Charity events
  • Conferences

In the example below of the 500px Facebook Page, they use Facebook to feature their fans.

For the photographers who are lucky enough to be featured, it means tremendous exposure to the Page’s almost-300,000 fans. As for everyone else, this type of post makes them feel part of a community with the possibility that they could someday be featured.

facebook 500px share

As a photo-sharing service, 500px is a natural fit to share user content on their Facebook Page.

Social media gives companies the ability to easily recognize their customers and fans.

Depending on your company’s niche, there are numerous ways to feature your customers and fans. For example, you can highlight contest winners or encourage users to submit their own photos and videos.

#2: Get Personal on Twitter

Get creative by using video to connect on Twitter.

You can use Twitter Vsnap to send personalized videos. Vsnap is a tool that allows you to record a video message with a maximum length of 60 seconds. Use this to send a personal video message to a follower on Twitter.

twitter vsnap

Every new follower Vsnap gains on Twitter is sent a personal video message through the service.

Making these short video messages personable is easy. Look at your target’s Twitter bio to see if something interesting jumps out and use this to craft your message. Or say thanks to someone who shared your content or became a new follower. Or answer a question someone has about your company.

Businesses have already found several creative uses for Twitter’s Vine app, which allows you to take 6-second video clips.

These short videos can be fun to watch and encourage viewers to connect with you further.

Your Vine videos don’t have to only be about your products. Here are some other uses your company might want to consider to connect with your audience:

  • A tour of the office
  • Individual Vine videos for different teams
  • Encouraging customers to Vine about your business

Let people know who’s tweeting.

Have you ever noticed companies who include the initials of the person tweeting at the end of each tweet? Or companies who include the Twitter handle of the person(s) tweeting in their bio?

Both of these strategies are a great way to make a branded Twitter account feel a little more human and the interactions more personal.

Time lets you know who is responding to their account on Twitter.

twitter time author

The TIME Twitter account includes information on who is authoring the account’s tweets in the bio section.

Be part of the conversation.

Don’t ignore people who take the time to tweet to your company.

twitter whole foods responses

The Whole Foods Market Twitter account makes it a priority to respond to tweets.

Sometimes just acknowledging a tweet can make someone’s day—potentially making that person loyal to your brand for a lifetime. If you take the time to tweet, take the time to respond to complaints, compliments and questions in a timely manner.

Use humor to make your followers laugh.

twitter old spice funny

Old Spice is known for their quirky marketing and branding, and it shines through on Twitter as well.

You never want to force it, but humor can be an effective way to make your company seem less robotic. And with the constant stream of information on Twitter, breaking it up with a laugh is always appreciated.

#3: Use Google+ Circles, Communities and Hangouts to Create Valuable Conversations

Create and share Google+ Circles your followers will find useful.

One Google+ feature that is sometimes underutilized is the ability to share Circles.

Your company can become a resource for users looking for more people to follow related to your company’s industry. After sharing the Circle on Google+, you can copy the link and share it in a blog post or on Twitter.

google+ sharing

This is an example of a recent Circle featuring almost every speaker at SMX West.

Furthermore, this allows your company to connect with the people in the Circle you’ve created and build your audience. They may see the Circle you’ve made and decide to share it on their own profile.

Here are some examples of the type of Circles your company could create and share:

  • Industry leaders
  • Speakers at conferences
  • Favorite writers

Get active in the right Google+ Communities.

Google+ Pages are able to take part in Google+ Communities like any other user: Pages can create, join, moderate and participate.

Chances are there’s already a Community that fits your company’s industry. If so, join the discussion. If not, make a new Community and invite others to join.

To learn more about Google+ Communities, check out this article from Mike Delgado.

Use Google+ Hangouts.

With Google+ Hangouts, your Page can start a video chat with up to nine people. This is a great opportunity to connect with your audience.

google+ hangout new york times

This Google+ Hangout with chef Nigella Lawson isn’t just solid content; it’s a fantastic way to have followers interact with The New York Times Google+ Page.

This New York Times Hangout featuring Nigella Lawson is a perfect example. It features a host—Lawson—and three home cooks who wrote in describing how they fared making Lawson’s pasta recipe and why they wanted to be included in the Hangout.

#4: Participate in LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Company Pages can feature up to three groups on their page in an effort to have more people join the group(s).

Much like Google+ Communities, participating in LinkedIn Groups is another opportunity to join the discussion in your company’s industry and answer questions. As an added bonus, more professionals in your field will see your company.

This is a great opportunity for you to get more visibility for your company and to interact with people who may be interested in your products and services.

#5: Use Pinterest to Invite Others to Pin on Your Boards

Your company’s Pinterest boards don’t have to be limited to just company pins. Collaborate with other users to give your account a more personal feel.

pinterest home depot board

For this style challenge, Home Depot invited others to pin.

To invite other Pinterest users to pin to a specific board, go to the board and click Edit. Next to “Who can pin?” type the users’ names or their email addresses (Note: in order to invite someone, you must be following at least one of that user’s boards.) Click Save Changes.

Once the invited users accept your invitation, they’ll be able to pin to the shared board. However, you can always remove the user and remove their pins. Moreover, invited users cannot change a board’s title or description.

Pinterest is just as much a community as any other social network. So remember to make the time to interact with other users by commenting on and repinning their pins. While you’re at it, follow users’ boards that fit your company’s industry so you have a fresh stream of related content every time you login.

#6: Don’t Forget to Engage on Foursquare

Use Foursquare to leave tips.

When a Foursquare user visits a location page, they’ll also see tips from other users.

If your company has a location (or multiple locations) on Foursquare, leave tips at your own locations to show users the personable side to your company. These can be simple, or perhaps even offer an inside joke.

Leaving tips at other businesses in your area provides a way to offer your authority on your industry. Best of all, Foursquare users get insightful tips and tricks.

For example, maybe you own a travel agency and leave tips on the feedback you’ve heard about particular attractions. Or maybe you own a food website and leave tips at popular restaurants.

foursquare history tips

You’ll find fun facts from the History Channel in the tips section of several landmarks.

In the above image, the History Channel provides some fun facts.

Again, you’ll be actively adding to the community.

Use Foursquare to create interesting lists.

Creating lists of places based on a general theme can help your company be seen by more people on Foursquare.

Lists are something Foursquare users appreciate because they act as a resource that’s easy to save. For instance, your company could create a list of its employees’ favorite lunch spots. Or the list could be the best places for company outings.

foursquare travel channel lists

The Travel Channel has some food tips galore from Adam Richman.

Travel Channel has a list with the places Adam Richman has visited on the show “Man v Food Nation.” Over 8,000 users have saved it.

If you do decide to create a Foursquare list, login using the desktop version of Foursquare and make it from there. Compared to doing this on your phone, it’s much easier to find and save places to your list with more screen real estate.

#7: Get Creative With Your Hashtag on Instagram

Creating a hashtag and encouraging users to submit their photos is a smart way to stand out and be personable on Instagram.

The NBC News Instagram account recently asked users to tag their winter storm photos with the hashtag #NBCNewsPics. After the weekend passed, they chose four of their favorite user-submitted photos and featured the photos as a single image. In the description, they gave credit by including each user’s Instagram username.

instagram nbc news feature

By creating a hashtag, NBC News encouraged users to submit content AND was able to feature their favorite user-submitted photos.

Featuring user photos in this fashion on your company’s Instagram account adds to the community. It also shows that you’re on the social network to contribute more than just your own photos. There are several examples of companies doing this, including those in industries like journalism, sports and travel.

The easiest way to feature another user’s photo is through the use of third-party websites like Statigram and Webstagram. Both websites have the option to repost underneath all photos. Before reposting, don’t forget to obtain permission from the user first.

Use These Tips for More People-to-People Interaction

Use these examples to inspire your social media efforts and you’re sure to increase your social media engagement as you connect with more people in your community.

What do you think? What other strategies do you see companies using to connect with their audience on a deeper level? Leave your questions and comments below.

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  • I find #4 “Use Your LinkedIn Company Page to Participate in LinkedIn Groups” most interesting, because using your company name to post articles and comments gives your brand a better chance to reach and be known by more people.
    Thanks for the great tips Bryden! Keep rockin!

    Stay inspired SME peeps!

    ~John Lee Dumas

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  • #7: Get Creative With Your Hashtag on Instagram is a very creative way to be remarkable. It’s brings brand awareness and connection. The tribe definitely benefits from this tip.

  • #7: Get Creative With Your Hashtag on Instagram is a very creative way to be remarkable. It’s brings brand awareness and connection. The tribe definitely benefits from this tip.

  • Fantastic post Bryden!

  • Great post Bryden – Some very interesting points. I am curious, how can LinkedIn company pages participate in LinkedIn groups? I have checked out the link in the article but couldn’t find anything.

    Have been waiting for this feature for ages – one of the reasons why LinkedIn company pages are difficult to grow is the lack of external engagement. Would be great if this was possible.

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  • Really useful tips. I like the #1!
    Thanks Bryden!


  • Hi Bryden.

    I am happy you mentioned Travel Channel here. For us that works with the Hospitality Industry all these tips is really awesome for creating the ultimate Customer Experience. In my opinion great Customer Experiences is what creates the real Engagements 😉

    Was not aware of the LinkedIn Company Option. I tested it out, and it allowed me to post to the Groups. But the posting I shared via my LinkedIn Company Page still came up in the Groups as I had shared it via my LinkedIn Profile. So have to check into this if there is a way that I can actually get the posting to show as it was my LinkedIn Company Page that shared the info. Then this will be a really cool feature.

    Awesome Info :))


    Are Morch
    Hotel Blogger

  • Savvy

    I am having the exact same problem – can’t seem to find how to join a group as my company instead of as myself. Feedback would be much appreciated!

  • I like #4 and #7 well actually I like them all, but these two have been escaping me. Using my LinkedIn company page to participate in groups is awesome. I wasn’t aware that was a good strategy. And of course the creative hashtag idea on Instagram is priceless. Thanks for the tips. I will pass them along for sure.

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  • Bryden McGrath

    Thanks for the comment, Tom.

    Apologies for the confusion on the LinkedIn section as I should have been more clear — working to get that headline and first sentence fixed. It’s not possible to use a LinkedIn Company Page *directly* in a group. Rather what I should have clarified is that users can use Groups to attract more followers to their Company Page by creating and joining in discussions, sharing content and industry news from your company, and by adding your expertise as a representative of your company.

    Moreover, Company Pages *can* feature up to three groups (that are managed by a Company Page’s administrator) on their page in an effort to promote specific groups.

  • Bryden McGrath

    Thanks for reading! Appreciate the comment, Leo.

  • Hey Are, thanks for the comment and I’m glad you found some useful information.

    You’re correct, as of right now Company Pages can’t directly post in Groups. Perhaps in the future LinkedIn may add the ability to post in Groups using Company Pages (like Google+ Business Pages can participate in Google+ Communities) or the ability to create a Group with a Company Page. That would certainly be a win for businesses.

  • Guest

    Thanks, John! Apologies for the oversight on my part in the LinkedIn section. LinkedIn Company Pages can’t directly post in Groups, though Company Pages can feature up to three Groups (that are managed by a Company Page’s administrator) on their page.

    However, when participating in a Group from your personal LinkedIn account, engaging and adding your own expertise can also attract users and help lead them to your Company Page.

  • Guest

    Thanks, Adam! Hopefully you found some useful tips you can implement in your social strategies.

  • Dara Khajavi

    I’ve noticed that my social media engagement has decreased. These tips will really help out. I am always a little scared of making a mistake, but I think I can use these tips without fear.

  • Bryden McGrath

    Thanks, John! Apologies for the oversight on my part in the LinkedIn section. LinkedIn Company Pages can’t directly post in Groups, though Company Pages can feature up to three Groups (that are managed by a Company Page’s administrator) on their page.

    However, when participating in a Group from your personal LinkedIn
    account, engaging and adding your own expertise can also attract users
    and help lead them to your Company Page.

  • Bryden McGrath

    Thanks, Adam! Hopefully you found some useful tips you can implement in your social strategies.

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  • Melissa Piquette

    Great article, thanks for sharinng with us all!

  • ScoopGirl

    As an admin for a FB page, I have created events – but is there a way to invite your fans? It seems I can only make it a public event & push it out through the news feed. I can invite my personal friends but not fans of the page. Any help?

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  • Sarah Bauer

    Always on the look out for creative Instagram ideas for small business, so #7 is my favourite here! I’m interested in the strategies that let businesses showcase their individual awesomeness without posting straight-up product/ service shots. It’s all about pulling together all the details (including customers) that make a company worth following on social media.

    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • Jason King

    More excellent info from Social Media Examiner. I must start using Google+

  • GnrPrGirl

    These are really great! I’m super excited about #2! Will be using that this summer at my work to encourage people to communicate more with us on twitter! Great advice!
    Keep it up!

  • Bryden McGrath

    Hey there ScoopGirl, excellent question.

    It isn’t possible to invite all your page’s fans directly from the event. But as you said, you can share the event on your page and push it out through the news feed. You can also promote the event, which is another way for your event and page to gain visibility. And, of course, you can invite your friends from your personal Facebook account.

    Here’s a great FAQ from Facebook on events:

  • Audrey Woodley

    I concur!!!

  • Guest

    #1 is great. I just had a conversation today with a client about this very thing.

  • Bill Nadraszky

    Over the years I have always thought that there is an SEO as well as a community refection in having more conversation your blog so this has been super important to me. Also I find the idea of conversation on blogs interesting and any way that we can get our sites to have more ownership by the visitor the better.

  • luisella

    Very well done!!!!
    Few pills of “social marketing” but Very useful! !!!
    Thanks !

  • Kevin

    Hi – Great ideas to use, thanks. Question – what kind of resource does this require? I am in a small org with only 10 people who are mostly all stretched in terms of capacity. None of us are really that clued up with Social Media as a marketing resources. With the group being so stretched there is not really the passion from anyone to take on the Social Media role. So how much time does it take on a daily basis to really make this work?

  • No doubt nice tips and these activities are already on board on most of the brand and seo driven organizations. Only engagement matters here- you must have sufficient time or dedicated trained resource to make this fruitful.

  • Pilar

    Thank!! very interesting!!

  • Thanks for the clarification Bryden, great article nonetheless!

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  • Facebook is actually more than just a social network to gather new friends. Most b2b marketing experts constantly find ways of how to utilise social media. And why not? Since almost everyone is into social media—plus marketing the “social” way is more subtle and effective than doing it the hard selling way.

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  • I love #5. The value of Pinterest for business is on the rise. Especially if your product or service is designed for women (80% of users are women).

  • Great article! What’s the benefit of using Vsnap over Vine?

  • I love the pictures of the workers, This is a great idea and makes the people who put their heart and soul into your company feel a little more valued. Thanks so much for the tips. Love it !

  • Catie Ragusa

    Great tips and great examples. Thanks for posting!

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  • Bryden McGrath

    The biggest benefit would be that Vsnap videos are limited to 60 seconds, whereas the maximum length of a Vine video is just 6 seconds.

    Personally, I’m a big fan of both. Vine is a terrifc creative outlet for its users and a growing number of brands are taking advantage of the network, too. On the other hand, Vsnap is a great tool for businesses trying to create a more personal experience for their social communities.

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  • Getting creative with Facebook photo albums is a great idea!

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  • Good article Bryden – Thanks a bunch for sharing. Too often individuals and businesses forget the Engage part.

  • I have not had a chance to use all of these outlets but I can say that and very excited about my joining LinkedIn and some groups on the site. Great information.

  • Luca

    Interesting article.

  • CharlieDog & Friends

    Good tips, but one of them left me wondering: if I post pictures of my employees listening to music, and what they’re listening to, is this just an annoyance in someone’s news feed? Like, really, do my customers care about that, or is that going down a road of “too much about US”? I’m torn — I like the idea, but I’m not sure I would use it myself. But I can see maybe adapting it so it works a little better, is aimed more at the customer and less at our company. Thanks for posting this!

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  • Yes I agree with this comment Carlie. I like the idea of being creative with your strategy. I dislike when marketers utilize the same strategy. Thank you for this.

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  • Wynn’s

    What a great post. Our company is all about mentioning the often unmentioned and we can often struggle to be innovative on social media when broaching what is still seen as an embarrassing subject, even though it needn’t be. So thanks, you’ve given us much food for thought.

  • Sometimes single valuable point makes big difference for Social Media, Thank you for this post.

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  • Guest

    you may find below informative

    you may find below article informative n elaborative

  • Correct, social media is rather a place taken with the most engaging thoughts to be shared with others; yes, in order to simply make them more engaged in what you have to say. If you stray off your audience, failing to encourage them to follow you; you will definitely have a loss.

    Bryden, show big appreciations for the facts presented by you; hoped it to be much constructive to one with unfocused SEO goals. An employee clicked (earlier and later) may show something friendliness; creating events on social media networking and inviting fans, friends (and thus, others) is much engaging as well, and you know often being personal to someone (whom you don’t know) may also get you a list of familiar viewers.

    Giving something to your viewers rather than rushing to them with a direct approach – would surely be a back action from those whom you once cared in the past; yes with what they wished you to present them!

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