Google and Facebook are two of the most popular social engagement platforms in the world and as a small business you need to have a presence on both sites — but you already know that.
What you may not know, however, is that having an online presence without actively engaging with your audience (for example, by responding to comments, reviews and questions in a timely fashion) significantly reduces the effectiveness of both platforms.
Now, the challenge for business owners is that to be constantly engaging with your audience takes time and effort and you would rather devote your energy to running your business, right?
But, what if I told you that there’s now a new suite of AI-driven writing tools that make this job a cinch, allowing you to remove a big chunk of your time and effort from the equation?
In this article, you'll learn how to cut your reply time in half while doubling your audience engagement results without being forced to work through the night or hire new staff!
The Importance of Having an Online Presence
For small businesses, having a strong online presence is not only important these days but absolutely essential.
Not only do you need to be easily found on the internet through searches (hence the importance of blogging), but you also need to appear on people’s social media feeds, where most people consume information and discover brands.
In fact, it is a rarity these days for a consumer to make any purchasing decision without first having been exposed to a product or service online, and the pandemic has only accelerated this trend.
Why Being Active on Google and Facebook is Essential for Your Business
Now, as I stated in the introduction, having an online presence is one thing, but actively engaging with your audience is quite another. Reaching a fresh pair of eyes may turn a stranger into an interested party. But engaging with them can easily turn an interested party into a customer.
But, why Google and Facebook and not other platforms, you ask? Let me answer this question by showing you some staggering usage statistics:
Google handles over 5.6 billion searches per day
Facebook has over 1.9 billion active users
There are 7.7 billion people on Earth
Need I say more?
Clearly, if you don’t have a presence on Google and Facebook, you're missing out on a huge chunk of your market.
Even if you have a presence but aren’t actively engaging with your audience, you're marketing to potential customers with a hand tied behind your back while wearing lead shoes.
Now, what do I mean by “actively engaging”? I’m not just talking about posting regularly. You also need to interact with your prospects by responding to reviews, answering questions, and engaging in comment discussions.
Only then will you be able to build the trust and credibility that’s necessary to turn an online prospect into a paying customer.
3 Powerful Tactics to Improve your Online Engagement
In this section, you'll learn how to use AI-driven writing tools to turbocharge your audience engagement results while dramatically reducing your effort and cost.
Tactic #1: Reply to Customer Reviews
The first way to show that you care about your customers is by replying to their online reviews — both good and bad.
When a customer leaves a positive review, thank them for their kind words and let them know how much you appreciate it.
If they have an issue, make every attempt to resolve it and then make sure to let them know you have solved their problem. This will show potential customers that you're willing to go the extra mile for those who have already chosen to do business with you.
On the other hand, if a customer leaves a negative review that you feel you don’t deserve, don't panic!
Just respond politely and professionally, addressing whatever issue they brought up without judgment or blame. You want to show your prospects that you care about your clients and your business, no matter their point of view.
Now, let’s move on to the practical aspects of replying to reviews. While some reviews will be on the negative side of the scale, you’ll find the most reviews you receive will be positive and general in nature, which you may feel disinclined to answer given the high volume of replies required.
But, this is where AI shines! To demonstrate how AI writing tools can help you expedite replies to customer reviews, I’m going to use a popular AI writing assistant tool to illustrate this tactic with an example.
Say that you operate a fitness franchise and someone leaves you the following review:
“Friendly, convenient and always open! I don't feel uncomfortable working out at Fitness Plus, like my older gym that made me feel like you're in a beauty contest with their judgmental staff - but not here, we're all just members helping each other stay healthy together while having so much fun doing so :) The place feels clean and modern and even when it's super busy I don't have to wait more than a few minutes to get on a cardio machine. I highly recommend it!”
This is great. But, do you know what would make it even greater for client engagement?
A timely and thoughtful reply! And remember, you’re not necessarily doing this for this particular client, you’re doing it for the clients-to-be that are reading your reviews.
Let’s have a look at what AI can do to help you create a reply to this review in no time:
That’s brilliant! The artificial intelligence is clearly picking up the right clues from the original review text to focus on and compose a thoughtful response.
Of course you may alter it if you wish to add a more personal touch or anecdote, but in my opinion, and given the volume of reviews you may get, this reply could be used “as is.”
Tactic #2: Answer Questions from Prospects
The second engagement tactic is to answer any and all online questions that people might throw at you. If someone asks anything about your business, be sure to reply in a timely manner — don’t leave unanswered questions hanging for everyone to see.
Once again, this will show potential customers that you’re willing to go the extra mile even for the most basic of questions. That can only reflect positively on your business by showing that you care, yet this could take a lot of time if you did it all on your own.
So, let’s see how AI can help you come up with awesome answers to questions in seconds without having to stare at a blank page ever again.
Let’s say you operate a pilates studio and someone asks a question in the comments section in response to one of your Facebook posts, something as basic as:
“Does pilates really work?”
Well, you could take your time coming up with a thorough answer from scratch at the end of a busy work day when you just want to chill with a glass of wine, or you could use AI to do the heavy lifting:
Now, here’s a caveat you should know about AI: these tools are great at coming up with answers to general questions but not so good at answering questions that require specific expert advice.
Having said that, the majority of questions from online sources are likely to come from beginners, for whom AI writing tools are perfectly suited for.
Tactic #3: Reply to All Comments (Even With a Simple Thank You)
Lastly, you need to reply to all comments coming your way. Now, you might think that’s a waste of time since most people will never read the comments section.
But from a client engagement perspective, the fact that you take the effort to reply to all comments shows that you value people’s time, which is low-cost online marketing gold.
So, to take this otherwise time-consuming process into warp speed, let’s turn once more to AI for help by using an example.
Say you own a yoga studio and someone leaves the following comment to one of your Facebook or blog posts:
“I think your studio is great but could use smaller class sizes and more evening choices.”
Let’s see what AI can do to come up with a reply to this comment on the fly:
Great! Depending on the volume of comments you receive, you could use AI replies as is, or you could amend them if you have more specific information to share — say, you’re actually planning to expand your number of evening classes soon and want to share the timeline.
Now that you're armed with three powerful tactics to improve your online engagement, it's time for action!
Start by evaluating which of the above approaches comes more naturally to you and then begin there, moving on to the other two tactics later on. Over time you'll get into a rhythm and your efforts will be rewarded with increased customer loyalty and higher revenue.
Engaging with your customers online will ensure that all aspects of your business are firing on all cylinders as you build a solid pipeline of devoted prospects!