Using social media for business marketing and branding is incredibly effective, BUT… it won’t be worthwhile unless there is a high rate of engagement for your posts from social audiences and consumers.
Engagement and interaction with your social media offerings is the key to success, and you need to know how to engage audiences in a positive way otherwise you will either be completely wasting your time, or worse yet, annoying your audience.
There is a myriad of information available online offering tips and social media engagement ideas. To make life easier for you, we’re collating the best of these here. You can consider this your one-stop-shop for social media tactics to boost engagement!
What is social media engagement?
The key to all social media is in its name – it is social.
Rather than broadcasting to a captive audience, it requires creating conversations that captivate audiences and compel them to participate by liking, sharing, commenting, and ideally, clicking through to your website and converting into paying customers for your business.
There are an almost infinite number of options on social media – so if you don’t offer and deliver what your target audience wishes to see, they will move on.
Even if they have liked your page, they need to be compelled to continue following you – and you need to understand that likes without follows are virtually worthless to your brand and your business. Anyone who really wants to see your posts will follow your social account – and for Facebook, once they have liked a page, they need to actively unfollow it.
If you have many more likes than follows, you need to ask yourself why. On the contrary, a page with more follows than likes will still be seen in newsfeeds.
Social media efforts without resultant engagement are incredibly frustrating and disheartening for business owners and marketers.
It also costs you money – and social media will only be cost effective (and time effective) if your audience becomes excited by what you are saying.
How to rise above social media noise and engage your audience
You need to create valuable social connections and then capitalise on these. Here are some of the most effective ways to achieve this.
- Engage audiences so they don’t scroll
Attention spans of social media users are notoriously short. The first step to successfully engaging audiences is to stop them from scrolling by your posts and your page – you need to capture their attention and post content that they not only want to see, but that they are excited by.
Know exactly who your target audience is and why they use social media.
If they visit social platforms for news, give them newsworthy content. If they seek inspiration or motivation, provide content that motivates and inspires.
If they want to see lots of beautiful images, post photos of products and behind the scenes sneak peeks. Offer humour where appropriate (this is great for generating shares), and tune into what your target audience likes doing. Then post content that resonates with them.
- Take advantage of free monitoring tools
You need to know what people are saying about your business and your brand – reputation is everything. There are social media tools that monitor your social media activity and the reactions it elicits. These include Google Alerts, Brand24, Topsy, TweetDeck/Hootsuite, Icerocket, and Social Mention, which all have versions to use for free.
- Be Intriguing
The most important (but often forgotten) form of social engagement is not in likes, comments, or shares, but in clicks.
Clicks support digital marketing and by creating a sense of intrigue with your posts, you will encourage more clicks to your website.
Use social media to create and spark intrigue amongst your audience by unveiling a new product with teasers and a call to action to visit your website to learn more; by sharing data or information that is compelling and requires clicking through to discover more; by offering freebies to collect email addresses for email marketing; by streaming live videos to captivate the attention of your audience.
Give people a reason to be on your social profile and to come back for more.
- Seek feedback
Asking for the opinions of your audience is a powerful way to have them interact with you on social media.
Ask for their advice relating to what they want to see on your social page; what do they like that you do? What don’t they like? What would they like to see from your brand? Have them state a preference between two product options.
Or simply ask general questions: What was the best thing about your weekend? Where would you love to go for your next holiday? What is the funniest/naughtiest/cutest thing your kids have ever done?
Invite your followers to also ask you about your brand and business.
When you seek feedback, you need to be aware that the internet and social media in particular are paradise for trolls.
Remain calm and take the high road of you are receiving sensitive or controversial feedback in this public forum.
Hide comments from anyone who is being offensive or going too far, but don’t hide all negative feedback – you need to be seen to be transparent about your business and this will give you authenticity.
Ignore obvious trolls, and they will move on.
- Include visuals
Visual content is critical on social media to create engagement.
Researchers have discovered that images on social media elicit interaction rates of up to 85 per cent on Facebook, and tweets with images attached are retweeted 35 per cent more than those without. (Source: Forbes.com).
Images and infographics are the key to capturing the attention of your audience – infographics in particular make transmitting information easier and more pleasurable for audiences to consume.
Image content may be comprised of introducing new team members, behind the scenes photos, caption competitions, photo contests, images from industry or brand events, funny photos pertaining to your brand or industry, inspiring images, collages, charts, and the like.
- Inspire reactions
No longer are Facebook audiences limited to “liking” a post – there are now options for an array of reactions from like to love, wow to angry, sad to laughing.
Facebook audiences love this expansion of options and more appropriate ways to react – and as a result, are more likely to bother reacting to a post.
Prompt reactions in your posts with emojis to help convey the tone of your post.
You can also inspire reactions to your social media by asking your audience for reviews if they have patronised your business or to simply review your Facebook page.
Profiles with high levels of engagement and plenty of reviews are viewed favourably by Google and this is great for SEO.
- Include competitions, contests, giveaways and games
These offer great power for creating engagement. People love to have a chance to win, and getting “something for nothing” is extremely appealing.
Ask followers to complete a basic entry form (always request email addresses as these can be used for email marketing), like your page, and offer them something in return.
Make the contest time sensitive. Announce the winner in a transparent fashion.
You can also have your audience participate in games on your profile page – simply ask an exciting question and invite audiences to respond.
These are just some of the clever tactics which will help boost engagement for your social media marketing.
***NOTE*** Come back next week for “Part Two” of this article…
Meanwhile… also on the blog:
Must do for 2018 #1:
…GET THIS CHECKLIST: Want to do social media extraordinarily? Here’s a comprehensive checklist
Must do for 2018 #2:
…MAKE NO MISTAKE: Avoid these 9 brand-killing mistakes
Must do for 2018 #3:
…GET MOR CUSTOMERS: Try these 7 easy ways to trigger more customer reviews in 2018
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