How do you know if your dinner party was a success? If you see your guests engaging with one another; making new connections, getting involved in lively banter, and if you notice more people staying than heading home, it’s safe to say you hosted a successful dinner party.
The same can be said for your social media marketing strategy. If your posts aren’t generating engagement with your followers, increasing the number of likes, shares, or followers, and if more people are leaving your page than staying, it’s safe to say your social media marketing hasn’t been successful.
What Exactly Does Social Media Engagement Mean?
Social media engagement is no different from the example we made about hosting a dinner party. We can define it as the level of activity in your social media community that’s measurable by the number of likes, shares, and comments.
While some marketers validate the success of their social media strategy by the increase in the number of followers, the truth is, a better measure of success is the degree of communication or interaction between your business and its followers.
The ideal outcome from your social media marketing strategy is having an engaged audience, not a passive one.
An engaged audience is composed of people who are really interested in your message. They are actively communicating with you and others because they want to learn more about or share their opinions and ideas with others in the community.
Thus, when you’re trying to build the online presence of your business, you must always focus on the quality of your followers, not just the quantity.
What Are The Benefits Of Increased Social Media Engagement?
If your posts aren’t engaging with your audience, it means your audience is engaging with your competitors. And you don’t want that because you’re losing opportunities to grow your business.
For this reason, we always recommend to our clients that the social media strategy should prioritize increasing the level of engagement.
What other benefits should you expect to get by increasing social media engagement?
- Build Your Brand By Humanizing Your Business – Chatbots are great but human chat agents can provide one thing that the bots can’t – feedback. Communicating directly with your customers humanizes your business because it shows that you care about their concerns and opinions.
- Foster Strong and Sustainable Relationships – Customers prefer to patronize a brand they can identify with. Through strong engagement, customers will come to realize that your brand shares the same ideals, values, and beliefs as they do.
- Enhance Customer Support Services – Even the most irate customer will appreciate the effort you put to try and resolve his problem in a social media thread or private chat.
- More Cost-effective Than Other Forms of Marketing – Creating a post that generates a ton of engagement through shares, likes, and comments will widen your reach and enhance your brand faster and more effectively than printing and handing out 5,000 flyers to random people.
- Present Social Proof of Your Business – What would be your perception of a business if you visit its social media page and see a lot of followers and notice that the posts are constantly liked, shared, and lined with comments? You’d be more encouraged to patronize the brand, right?
The same can be said about your business if you improve its level of social media engagement.
3 Key Steps To Developing An Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy
Before we go through our tips on how to increase social media engagement, let’s make sure your social media strategy is moving in the right direction.
Step 1 – Review Your Social Media Numbers
In order to establish your goals, review your current social media marketing numbers and assess its performance thus far.
- How many followers do you have?
- What is your Audience Reach?
- What is your Engagement Level?
- Which posts generated the most engagement?
- Which posts didn’t generate engagement?
- Did your posts drive traffic to your website?
Once you have the social media numbers summarized, it will be easier to set your targets.
Step 2 – Get To Know Your Audience
If you’re involved in the fitness industry and 70% of your audience are vegans, why would you keep posting about hamburgers and steaks?
Get to know your audience so that your content writing strategy will have a direction:
- Which types of content do they like to read?
- Do they prefer videos, images, or text content?
- Where do they come from?
- What device do they use to access social media?
- What issues and concerns do they want to address?
- What are the demographics?
Create an Audience Profile and use this to plan out your content marketing strategy.
Step 3 – Plan Your Content
Now that you’ve identified your goals and have an idea of who your audience is, it’s time to plan your content strategy.
The type and quality of content are factors that drive engagement. Your content marketing toolbox should consist of a variety of processes and tactics and there are many to choose from:
- Curated Content
- A Day in the Life
- Contests and Giveaways
The next step is knowing how to create content that will encourage greater engagement from your audience.
10 Tips On How To Increase Social Media Engagement
Setting up social media accounts for your business is a great way to get your products and services noticed by your target audience.
However, posting for the sake of posting on social media won’t get you the desired results. This has become a harsh reality for many entrepreneurs who are using social media to promote their businesses.
They thought “My posts on my personal social media page are always getting likes, shares, and comments. Why can’t I get the same results for my business page?”
That’s because your community of followers on your social media and business pages is different. Your purpose is also different.
On your personal page, you like to update your current status. On your business page, you’re trying to get your followers to patronize your business.
Therefore, the approaches to increasing social media engagement in more likes, shares, and followers and most importantly, creating more engaged followers are different.
1. Join Relevant Special Interest Groups
Look at your list of Facebook friends. We’re sure that you can categorize them into different groups based on their interests. For example, you might be able to arrange your friends into the following interest groups:
- Fitness enthusiasts
- Coffee drinkers
- Guitar players
- Chefs at home
- Comic book collectors
So if you post about the new HIIT workout you tried this morning, your friends from the fitness enthusiasts interest group will actively engage in your content. The same can be said for your coffee drinking friends if you share your experience at the new Dutch coffee bar that opened near your place.
You can expect higher engagement levels if you join interest groups that are relevant to your business.
For example, if you’re in the Software Development business that designs programs and apps for recruitment, joining the following interest groups might benefit you:
- Human Resources
- Manpower Agencies
- Small Business
- Hotel and Restaurant
The key is to engage with the group members first and win their trust. Don’t share your content right away. Join active discussions and contribute ideas.
The more active you participate in the discussions, the greater the interest your fellow members might have in your business. You might not be aware of it, but a few co-members could be checking your business page and reading its contents.
2. Repost Content from Followers
Once you’ve been accepted into an interest group, a good strategy would be to share a fellow member’s content. You can repost it on your business page and/or personal page.
Your fellow group members will appreciate it. Trust us when we say, they will reciprocate in kind in the future.
Do the same thing with your followers. If someone posts a reference on a thread on your business page, repost it and give credit to the follower who contributed the link.
If the link is from a follower’s business page and the reference is relevant and useful – share and repost it.
Actively engaging with your followers will make them feel good and appreciated. It will encourage them to engage more in your social media posts.
3. Get Influencers Onboard
Getting an influence onboard can be costly but he/she can get your content and business noticed right away. A person becomes an influencer when he/she has amassed an impressive number of followers who trust his/her opinions.
According to the 2020 Report by Influencer Marketing Hub, you can earn US$18 in media value for every US$1 spent on an influencer.
By getting an influencer to share your content, you are leveraging his/her massive base of followers – but this comes at a price. The influencer knows his/her follower base is a cash cow and he/she will milk you for its use.
Another option is to get an influencer who isn’t as well-known or established in your industry but has a good enough number of followers to warrant a marketing arrangement.
Try to negotiate a win-win arrangement. For example, offer commission-based payouts or free items in exchange for the influencer sharing your content or mentioning your business in his/her social media channels.
4. Personalize Your Responses
If your post landed one comment, personalize your response even if the comment posted by your follower is negative.
All comments are assets. If a follower says something unfavorable about your content, don’t get triggered and exchange fire. Take a deep breath, compose your thoughts, and remain professional.
A negative comment still shows the person took the time to share his opinion on your post. For that alone, he should be commended. Likewise, the comment opens the door for engagement.
Let’s assume that you’re in the business of selling supplements and you posted content on your social media about the health benefits of creatine. Your lead-in to the post read:
“Creatine is a substance that our body develops naturally but not enough to generate the same health benefits if you were to take it in supplement form.”
A follower named Daniel posts the following comment:
“Creatine is overrated. Everyone knows it can lead to hair loss, kidney and organ failure because it draws water to your muscles. You should be more responsible about what you post and include the cons, not just the pros. Value our health over your profit.”
Respond to Daniel in this manner:
“Thank you for your comment, Daniel! We appreciate and trust that we do value the health of our customers. The fact is the study on hair loss was only conducted by one research group that could not validate the result.
“Regarding the consequences of creatine, as with all supplements, it’s very important to follow directions on use correctly. Even Vitamin C can have health consequences if taken irresponsibly.
“You can refer to our previous blogs on creatine that we always advise our readers to drink plenty of water after taking it. If you have other questions, Daniel, please feel free to reach out.”
5. Generate Conversation
Sometimes all you need to increase social media engagement is to generate conversation by posting a question to your community.
For example, you’re in the business of selling California wines, you can generate a discussion in your community by posting this question:
“Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon with Filet Mignon is an Excellent Wine and Steak Pairing! How Do You Pair Your Wine with Your Steak?”
You can be assured that your followers who are wine aficionados would be chomping at the bit to share their ideas with you!
Try to add a high-resolution image of your subject matter, in this case of the Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon and Filet Mignon to captivate your readers.
6. Add Hashtags
Hashtags are keywords that are used by people to search for a particular topic. You’ve probably seen your friends add hashtags to their posts. The keywords are preceded by the symbol “#” and the words are strung together.
Sometimes the words are differentiated by a capitalized letter. For example, #MakeAWish or #ChillOutTime.
The important thing to remember is that the hashtag must be relevant to your topic. This way, anybody who wants to search for content that’s related to your post can just do a search via hashtag.
Finally, don’t go crazy with hashtags. No doubt you’ve come across posts that have 10 hashtags. That’s too much! The message might get misunderstood. Worse, your followers might get annoyed.
7. Use Images and Videos
Creating posts with videos or images has been proven effective in driving social media engagement simply because these forms of content can deliver the message faster and clearer than text-based content.
Here are 4 tips on how to choose videos or images for social media posting:
- The video or image has to be relevant to your products and services so that it will resonate with your target audience.
- For social media channels that can deliver content in various formats such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, videos that are no more than 2 minutes long deliver the best results in increasing engagement.
- For social media channels that are primarily for video streaming such as YouTube, you’ll get higher engagement levels on videos that are more than 10 minutes long.
- Use images that are colorful and have high resolution. You can combine with text content such as statistics or facts to make an Infographic.
8. Conduct Surveys
Conducting surveys have 2 immediate benefits for your business.
First, surveys will create immediate engagement with your audience. Second, you get data that will give you ideas on how to improve your business, its products, and services.
If you’re running a bed and breakfast business and there’s a long holiday weekend coming up, you can post a survey about the kind of festivity that your guests might want to see in your hotel:
- Jazz band
- Outdoor movie
- Backyard BBQ
- Fireworks display
- Garden buffet
When you’re conducting a survey, schedule it on a date that will give you enough time to gather and assess the data and to prepare for the event.
9. Stage Contests or Giveaways
Question: “What makes a good burger great?”
Answer: “When it’s for FREE!”
Everyone loves to participate in contests and giveaways because they have a chance to win stuff for free.
Key things to remember when running contests on your social media page:
- The item must be in demand.
- Give complete details on the mechanics of the contest.
- Make sure you have enough stock of the product.
- Clarify charges or fees, if any. For example, if shipping charges are for the account of the contest winner.
Staging contests or giveaways on your social media page will definitely get your audience engaged.
10. Be Strategic When Posting
It’s important to stay active in social media to remain top-of-mind with your audience. For example, on Facebook, the latest studies recommend posting no more than 1-2 times per day and 3 times per week.
The recommendations are a stark contrast to the practice carried out by marketers years ago that required them to post 1-2 times 5 days a week. The focus has shifted to the quality of the post over quantity.
You have to be strategic when posting otherwise, your posts might annoy your followers.
Think about the time when a business page you followed kept posting sales-type content? All you see on your news feed are posts from the business page to “Buy This” or “Buy That”. Over time, all of that sales content will come out as noise.
Here are 3 tips on posting content:
- The post must have value to your audience. This is where a survey helps.
- Mix it up.
For example, Monday is for your latest blog. Wednesday is for videos or images and can be used for sales-type copy. Friday is curated content day.
Review your page metrics to be sure of the types of content to post on a specific day of the week.
- Apply some of the tips provided above such as the use of videos or images, adding hashtags, and responding to all comments.
Always remember that increasing social media engagement doesn’t happen overnight. It requires consistency, persistence, and patience. You might not see any significant improvement right away and that’s okay. There’s a learning curve to be respected in every activity.
We like to stress the importance of tracking the performance of the strategy by constantly reviewing your page’s metrics. Use the data to tweak your strategy. In time, you’ll get a better feel of social media and how to drive engagement levels up.
If you’re truly desirous of taking your social media engagement to the next level, let us handle it while you focus on running the business. Give us a call or drop us an email so we can get started.
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