Social media are rapidly becoming (if not already are) an integral part of the toolbets worn by brand, content and marketing professionals - the world over... and its easy to see why. As of June 2017, Facebook had 2 billion people in its community. Think about that for a second... 2 billion people. Intagram (also part of Facebook), Twitter and Google+ also have active users worldwide.
What about other social networks? - What makes these sites different to other mediums is that they allow content generation and sharing to be put to the users themselves rather than relying soley on the brand or company. When you combine this with active community engagement, you're be in the fast lane getting your brand noticed and recongnised.
This doesn't have to be anything huge like an insanely expensive give-away.
Think: "How would I start a coversation with somebody?" - ask a question, put what you ask out to a poll, get people to give advice - once you start to get your responses in, similar to what you might do if someone makes a comment on your personal profiles; respond! If they say something that you can offer further advice on, or even if its just to say "thanks", it'll show that participation in your community is rewarded with actual responses rather than something maybe comming out six months down the line.
Another way would be similar to what Walkers™ have been doing in the media recently, promoting their "Choose It or Lose It" campaigne. Promting watchers of their ad to get involved and place a vote - in this case they would be rewarded with seeing the result of their involvement change the output of the company - making them feel part of the decision rather than just another viewer.
Whether its asking people to post pictures to your Facebook page, or include your Twitter handle on invoices with an encouragement to Tweet out a quick review. Audience encouragement is something you can't go easy on.
Along with #1, responding to your audience will encourage them and people that may be considering to join your community to engage in the future... sometimes even without prompt. If they feel comfortable enough engaging with you and your brand when they feel they may have something to add to your community, then they will, but turn it into a conversation, let them know that there is another person at the other end.
Tesco are a great example with their "Food Love Stories" - and its exactly that, a story based around the food that affected the life of the person in the ad, whether its finding love, a resolution to an argument between friends or a family get-together remembering when they last had that meal as a child.
They have embraced emotional storytelling to connect with potential (and existing) customers by giving them something to relate to. Not only were they selling the ideal of the products they were showing, but they were selling the opportunity to have that kind of interaction with other people as part of the experience. -- Put it this way, how many times have you seen something on a cookery programme and thought "that looks nice" or "I'll give that a go" - well imagine having that, but with the extra prompt to have friends or family over to experience it with you -- that kind of connection.
Social media can be an extremely powerful tool to promote and maintain relationships between consumers and brands; if used properly, your brand will have potentially millions of content creators and brand enthusiasts at its disposal, if you get the combination right. Every content creator should take note of these examples to leverage social sites and get their audience involved in a new and exciting way.