Thought Hive: How to Use Social Media to Create an Engaged Audience


Social media is a vast hub where you and your potential customers congregate with their friends, family , and fellow colleagues online. There’s billions of people posting and sharing their thoughts online—making you wonder how in the world can your brand stand out online. In today’s Thought Hive, learn how to use social media to create and nurture an engaged audience around your brand.

I use social media as an idea generator, trend mapper and strategic compass for all of our online business ventures.—Paul Barron

Start with social listening

Trends are created everyday on social media. For example, if you use Twitter, there’s a Trends section that tailors popular hashtags based on your location and the people you follow. Similarly, on Facebook, there is a Trending section that hosts Top Trends, Politics, and the like on the right hand side of your portal.

What do these social platforms have in common?

They both use social listening.

Social listening is all about monitoring online conversations—learning in depth about what people are saying about your brand as well as other industries and topics that are currently happening.

Social listening is an imperative tool to any brand. Whether it’s learning about new popular topics in your industry or utilizing new hashtags for your social media posts, you have to know what people are saying online in order for your content to appeal to them.

That’s why before you even start creating content you have to know your audience. Use social listening to learn about new pain points from your audience, new topics from other industry leaders, and even the different types of content that your audience enjoys. Incorporate a social media monitoring tool to keep track of mentions, new or trending keywords that are relevant to your audience, potential hashtags, etc. The more you listen to what’s happening on social media, especially in relation to your brand and industry, the easier it will be for you to create content that people can congregate around. For more information about social listening on how to market to specific audiences, explore the provided infographic below from HubSpot and WebPageFX:



Create relevant content

What do you use social media for?

Maybe you use it to chat with family and friends. Or, you’re on there to post things about what’s happening in your life currently, i.e., birthday party photos or videos from a live concert.

Yet when it comes to your business, you have to make sure that what you are posting is relevant to your audience. For example, if your audience is searching for solutions on how to effectively plan a website redesign, you should post a link to a checklist that will guide them throughout their website redesign process. By sharing your link on social media that solves what’s popular amongst your target audience, your content becomes the fresh baked apple pie that sits on the window sill. It’s bringing you the awareness that you need.

Be sure to deliver what you promised. Using the same apple pie analogy, if you promised to give away that apple pie, don’t give a banana bread instead. Make sure that the content you are giving is what you promised.

Consistency, follow-through, and value builds awareness and trust. You have to hold up your end of the deal when providing for your audience. By providing consistent, valuable content over and over, you are building awareness and trust around your brand for your online audience.

Trustworthy content has a balanced point of view. It asks and answers the right questions. It doesn’t love itself. It tries to inform and educate.—Steve Farnsworth

Be interactive by sharing content from your audience and other industry leaders

It goes without saying that social media is an active tool that people use everyday. Meaning, that in order for you to create engagement, you have to be active and interactive online.

Being active on social media is more than just posting your content on all your social channels. For instance, if you have a daily or weekly blog series, you might share the same post on all your social platforms. However, if you’re only using your social media to share your blog posts, videos, infographics, etc., you are missing out on key opportunities for engagement.

Social media is all about having conversations online. Not just a place to be talked at nor is it place to push sales onto people. There are rules of social media engagement.

Nurture interaction by being interactive with other people’s content online. In fact, here are some key opportunities for fostering interaction on social media:

  • Acknowledge your audience: Take the time to acknowledge your audience. Like and share mentions from customers who’ve written about your brand onto your social profile. Respond to their questions. Provide solutions instantly by commenting on their posts or create a live Q&A session, especially if more than one person shares similar questions. Make your audience feel like they are a part of your brand. Incorporate them as much as you can in your brand through social media.
  • Share thought leadership content from fellow industry leaders: Within your industry, there are people who may be writing and sharing similar content that is relevant to your brand and audience. Establish a connection with them by sharing their content onto your social profiles. When someone posts about a specific topic that you know like the back of your hand or that represents your brand, comment quickly. Make a list of fellow brands and leaders that have responded in kind to your social media content. Use that list as a reference point to cement future connections for future collaborations. Collaborations are key to brand awareness, because now, your content is being exposed to another audience and ultimately more potential customers.

Social media is here. It’s not going away; not a passing fad. Be where your customers are: in social media.—Lori Ruff

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In-Sites Thought Hive


Suggested Links

FAQ Friday: Mastering the Social Media Space in Your Industry

How to Use Social Media Listening to Crush Being a Bandwagoner

Thought Hive: Booo(st) Your Brand Messaging with Social Video

FAQ Friday: How Do You Measure Success with Social Marketing Metrics

Topics: Thought Leadership, Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Social Media

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