“Am I looking at an RSS feed or a Twitter feed?” In a world where social media marketers can fully rely on automating their posts, it’s not hard to find social feeds that can lead to questions like this, coming across as cold or even robotic.

There’s a rising trend of helpful services that are identifying and automating shareable content. Great tools like Buffer, Klout, and Swayy each offer pre-drafted tweets anyone can share with their audiences. However, while that content is helpful and can spare precious time, it should mostly be viewed as supplemental and not your entire content strategy. Social media is all about making a human connection. Be sure to give your audience something to talk about, but most importantly, don’t forget to give them somebody to talk to. Here are some great tips on improving your social media presence and driving engagement.

Establish Your Voice

There are a lot of factors to consider when establishing your brand’s social voice. Some brands are more buttoned-up because they’re selling professional services, while others are fun and witty, because they’re reflecting a young target audience. Both can be human on social media, just by tailoring the same ideals found within their audiences, company cultures, and offerings in a unique way.

GE does a great job of inspiring its audience with great quotes, fun facts, and interesting scientific videos. You can see its voice is conversational and friendly while still tweeting about informative content.

Optimize Your Content Marketing Mix

What kind of content does your audience love seeing, sharing, and talking about? Once you have your target audience’s interests in mind, think about the different content you can create and curate to spark a conversation. At a top level, start with content relevant to your industry and your company that solves your audience’s questions in helpful ways. Use blog posts, photos, videos, and webinars to inspire your audience to engage.

Intel’s Twitter feed is expertly made up of a variety of visual content that inspires conversation. Tailored to its incredibly brilliant audience, it does a great job of using content to emphasize just how much of our world the brand touches.

Develop a Channel Strategy

Every single social media channel you manage should offer something different. If a user goes to your Facebook page and your Twitter page in the same hour, are they going to see the exact same content? If so, it’s worth considering putting a channel strategy in place. That should outline your target audience, content plan, editorial calendar, and success metrics.

Taco Bell is oft-cited for its fun and witty brand voice, but it also has a smart channel strategy in place. Each channel acts as a different layer, so when you go to its Facebook page, you’ll see an entirely different feed than what you see on its Twitter page.

Be Available and Present

Don’t let all of the conversation happen around you — jump right in. Some brands focus on an influencer score to determine when to engage, but if you’re focusing too much on amplification vs. interaction, you’re missing out. Offer a helpful resource in the form of a blog post link, favorite a great tweet, or follow people you want to keep talking to.

Netflix is a hugely responsive brand that’s always connecting with its audience. There are so many examples that it looks almost as if Netflix has reached out to every member of its audience already. That’s a difficult task achieve with over a million followers, but it feels almost like they’ve done it somehow.

Which other brands do you think are excelling at social media interaction? Tell us in the comments! And for more social media goodies, check out these 10 great tools.

Top image: women having a conversation by nchlsft