From the smallest businesses to global enterprises, many brands and their marketers understand the importance of social media. Why? Because they know of the imperative success it can lead to if capitalised on correctly.
But getting social Media right, and getting it right consistently, can be a more complex task than one might have first thought. Creating and publishing social content sounds easy, however, a social post is practically useless if nobody engages with it.
It’s like casting your fishing rod into a pond without the bait, sheer will isn’t going to make the fish nibble. (Bear in mind, close to half the world’s population (3.03 billion people) have some presence on some type of social media, that is a lot of nibbles missed).
If you want to maximise your social interactions, build relationships and brand awareness that will drive conversions, social media engagement is the catalyst that will spark interactions across your social presence.
Believe it or not, even the simplest social post can evolve into content-heavy pieces that engage audiences.
So, before you hit the publish button, pause your social media creation and read this blog. To make sure you never miss another opportunity, follow these tips to reap the social engagement your social channels deserve.
1. Research, Research and More Research
Pretty much everything we do as marketers should start with research, and social media is no exception, especially if you’re just starting out. A common mistake that many marketers make is forgetting about the importance of research and how key it is for achieving social success.
Do you think your next social media campaign will be successful if you watch a few webinars and attend a social conference? Think again. Research is your social media strategy’s foundation. If you want the highest levels of engagement from your social efforts, then you need to put in the time for research.
For example, understanding who your audience is, who is most likely to interact with your posts and how to target them, what topics you should be talking about, and industry keywords your social posts should be using to maximise engagement.
When it comes to research, don’t cut corners. Getting it right the first time means you are setting up your social efforts for success.
2. Quality over Quantity
Blasting out social media posts won't produce the level of social media engagement you desire. Instead, you’re more likely to come off annoying and irritating to your audience - and, in turn, lose followers.
While it is good to be active on social media a post lots of content, the key to driving social interaction and boosting engagement lies in the quality of your content. In the battle of quality and quantity of social media content, quality always wins.
Quality content has its benefits, the main being that it is engaging. Quality content builds trust among your fans and followers who are more likely to appreciate and share what you publish. Quality content builds your brand’s reputation over time. In return, your followers will see you as reliable and relevant to them.
Ultimately, the more engaging your content is, the more traffic you will see to your website which means more opportunities to increase return on investment.
3. Switch up the Content
If you’re posting the same content week on week, chances are you’re going to earn yourself the nickname ‘Plain Jane’ or ‘Repetitive Robert’.
Switching up your content weekly, or even daily, will increase follower engagement and interaction. Social users on Instagram are succeeding with social engagement. Through a unique style of storytelling, users split their pictures up across the grid instead of a single individual post.
On Twitter, you could promote an interactive marketing video one day, then, in your next post, give your followers a taste of what it's like to work at your organisation with an employee takeover.
Stimulate your readers with photos, web links, and GIFs. Use all the resources you have at your disposal to continuously mix up your content for your social followers to enjoy.
A practice at Digital Media Stream is to use a social media content tracker. As well as creating and publishing social media posts through our inbound marketing software HubSpot, we use a simple spreadsheet to track all our efforts and make sure we routinely deliver different types of social content each day avoiding duplication.
4. Talk about the Topic
Promoting your brand, services and products is all good practice, but new situations offer opportunities to connect with new people and it’s important to get them talking.
You can increase social engagement by joining the conversations of those in your industry. A discussion is one of the smartest ways to get follower engagement flowing. Search topical conversations across social channels, lend your expertise and knowledge about the latest trends and build relationships with those in similar fields.
Social Media Week identifies a best practice of ‘involving yourself in groups that are relevant to your business will increase your chances of reaching your target audience’.
5. Create the Conversation
Get the conversation started on social media by making your own engaging conversations with the right audience. Below are five quick ways you can instantly spark conversations and boost engagement with your social followers:
- Industry News: Browse trending industry topics from channels your audiences are watching. Then, repost articles or updates with a comment asking for feedback on the subject.
- Start the Debate: Everyone loves to share their opinion. Start a topical debate that invites users to engage with your post. Don’t forget to link to the content you are debating about.
- Ask a Question: A question goes a long way. Ask questions like “Who is your biggest [industry] role model?” and “What’s the best [industry] article you’ve read this week?”.
- Thank You Responses: Simple and effective. Reply to new followers with ‘thanks for following’. You can even add something personal you noticed about their profile. Your new followers will feel welcomed and are more likely to engage with future social content you publish.
- Polls and Surveys: Strike up a poll or survey on your social channels to prompt conversations among your followers. Use them to see what kind of products your followers want to see from your brand.
6. Show Your Personality
Personalisation is the driving force of why people choose to follow an organisation on social media. You can have the most interesting and educational posts on the internet, but what really gets people engaged is personality.
In a recent survey conducted by Ascened2 and published by eMarketer, 63% of marketers said that data-driven personalisation is a difficult tactic to execute.
Increasingly, consumers expect brands to serve them personalised content at the optimal moment. To achieve such levels of engagement, marketers need to predict what their target audience will think, feel, say and do across a variety of scenarios.
Sportswear brand Nike’s personality is empowerment. The empowerment of “Just Do It” connects the consumer and the brand to something more meaningful than just the product they sell.
Brand personality can include humour, lifestyle, excitement, sophistication, innovative, and competence.
7. Use the #Hashtag
The hashtag is one of the most recognisable symbols on the internet, so much so that it was even added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2010.
But, hashtags aren’t just a buzzword, they are the ultimate engagement tool for marketers and social users. Their fundamental purpose is content tagging and discovery, but the use of hashtags still varies across social networks.
Help your audience discover your social posts by equipping relevant hashtags and keywords. Take the time to discover the most popular and most relevant hashtags on a specific subject to your industry. You can even make your own hashtags to get the conversation started.
Be careful about how many hashtags you use in your brand’s posts. According to Social Bakers, posts with fewer hashtags receive more engagement on Facebook and Twitter.
8. Ask for Feedback and Reviews
What better way to get your social followers engaged than by asking for feedback or reviews to the social efforts you publish. Just like Creating The Conversation (See point 5), ask your audience to share their opinions via feedback on a particular service or product you offer.
Many people are happy to talk about the products they like and the ones they feel could use improvement.
Remind people that you would like to hear from them. Feedback and reviews will help you improve your services and products as well as create brand awareness for new potential customers.
9. Offer a Giveaway
If there’s one common denominator in people, it’s that we all love free things. You can take advantage of this tactic to increase your social media engagement such as likes and shares and increase follower count.
There are different approaches to running giveaways and there is no right or wrong way. You can do:
- Like to Win Contests: This is the most simple type of giveaway for your followers to participate in.
- Tag a Friend: Ask your followers to leave a comment and tag a friend. This will increase the reach of your social post to new social users that will engage with your content.
- Share the Giveaway: Get your followers to share the giveaway for a chance to win. You can even let them earn an extra entry once they have shared the post.
- Post a Picture: You are more likely to attract the selfie-aware social users within your followers.
Remember, you can use hashtags and content-specific hashtags like #contestgiveaway to amplify the reach of your posts and increase engagement.
10. Monitor Your Engagement
Analytics tools can help you monitor the performance of your social efforts so you can track the levels of engagement your social media content is receiving.
Tools like Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, and Hootsuite offer specific insights into how well aspects of your content is performing, for example, how many people engaged with your content and how many impressions your content obtained.
You will want to experiment with a range of analytics software as each tool offers different ways to analyse and measure your social media engagement.
Before you make your next social media post, consider these essential tips that will drive social engagement to every post you publish. Social media is as much about engagement with other people as it is about sharing content. After all, it’s called social media for a reason.
Businesses that focus on building their social media engagement can benefit from better marketing reach and ROI, as well as greater brand awareness that makes it easier to attract new customers.