If you own a small business, a website should be the bread and social media the butter of your online presence.

People want to be educated and entertained. They want to participate, learn, and enjoy their time online.

The same is true for customers you’re connecting with through your social media profiles. You just need to figure out how to capture their interest and keep them engaged. Interacting with customers online is key to customer engagement on your social media sites.

Editor’s note: GoDaddy GoCentral lets you link your website to your tribe directly on your Facebook page and other social media, with just a few clicks.

Here are some tips for engaging — or interacting — with your customers through social media:

Be real. People use social media to connect with other people — not brands. Show your personality in your posts. Remain professional, but conversational. Be authentic.

Ask questions. Want to hear what your customers consider your best product? What about their thoughts on your new logo? Your customers are full of opinions about your business, so invite them to share their thoughts.

Give ’em what they want. If you’ve done your homework and identified your target customer base, you can post content that will resonate with them. Do your products or services appeal to pet owners? Post cute puppy pics and grooming tips. Link to a local pet adoption site. Remember: educate and entertain.

Respond to feedback. When your customers take the time to post a comment, you owe it to them to craft a considerate, genuine response. Not sure how to handle negative feedback? Go here for 5 Ways to Handle Negative Comments in Social Media.

Stay positive. If you walked into a store and were met by a sales associate with a bad attitude, you’d probably walk back out. It’s no different with social media. Keep the tone of your posts upbeat and constructive to keep your customers coming back for more.

Leverage the power of photos and video. Studies show that posts that include photos or video are shared about twice as often as those that don’t. Capture your customers’ interest with compelling images — and use those images to start relationship-building conversations.

Hold contests. Create a post about naming your new product or service. Or have customers take pictures with your products, select a few winners, and post them on your sites.

Offer freebies. Offer the first three people who respond to your post, pin, or tweet a discount or freebie. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but your customers will love you for it.

Give discounts. Shave 10 percent off the cost of a product or service for all of your social media followers by offering them a unique code to enter when they purchase your goods.

Obviously, these tips are but the tip of the social media iceberg when it comes to engaging your customers. Tap into your creative juices for out-of-the-box ideas. Have fun with your customers! They’ll appreciate you and your business even more if you do.

See also Social Media Best Practices for Businesses.


Also published on Medium.