Social media is one the most effective ways to gain leads, increase traffic to websites, and generate sales for any business. But you also need engagement...
Social media is one the most effective ways to gain leads, increase traffic to websites, and generate sales for any business. Most business owners know this, so they join several social media platforms in hope of promoting their brand. Well, joining a social media platform is the easy part. The real task lies in growing an engaged audience that regularly interacts with your brand.
Why is engagement so important on social media?
Without an engaged audience, it will be impossible to reach your social media goals. Every time an individual engages with your content, your overall brand awareness increases. The more engagement you receive, the more you are exposed to brand new audiences and potential customers.
So how can you increase your engagement on social media?
Read on to find out.
Before you start using the tips in this article, measure your current engagement level. This will help you identify how well the new strategies you implement are performing.
Some of the important social media engagement metrics to measure include:
Engagement, impressions, and reach work hand in hand. When your followers significantly engage with your content, it signals to the algorithm that the content is valuable. The algorithm will then reward the content by increasing its reach. This increased reach will lead to more post impressions, and the circle continues.
To effectively measure these metrics, you should use a social media analytics tool. The analytics features on most social media platforms are rudimentary. With a tool, you get more robust data metrics and automated reports.
In Iconosquare, along with getting detailed time-saving reports for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, you can also monitor mentions of your brand. Start a free-14 day trial.
If you want to increase engagement on social media, you need to post content that your target audience will engage with.
That is why it is important to analyze your engagement metrics beforehand. This will help you identify the kind of content your audience loves to see from you.
What kind of content do your followers prefer?
Do they prefer videos, images, infographics, or blog posts?
Your goal should be to create content that your audience will enjoy. A/B test different content formats until you find the best-performing one(s). If you notice that your audience engages more with image posts, share more image-related content.
How do you feel when you raise your hand at a conference and the speaker or moderator does not acknowledge you?
Do you feel ignored?
When this happens two or three more times in a single conference, you are most likely not going to raise your hand again.
Your audience also feels the same way when you ignore their comments or messages on social media. It leaves an impression that you don't care about them. They will also stop engaging with your brand.
Customers also expect brands to respond. A survey from Clutch shows that people expect brands to respond to comments within 24 hours. The more responsive your business is on social media, the more engagement you will get from your audience.
Whether the customer leaves a negative or positive message/comment, you should respond to all of them. When the comment is positive, appreciate the customer. Suggest a helpful resolution when the comment is negative. This will help protect your brand image and also increase customer interaction.
Curating UGC can help you find new content to share on social media while also increasing engagement. UGC is content created by users. These can be videos, images, text, or audio. UGC created by your target audience will also help build trust in your brand.
Encourage your audience to share content. When they do, re-share it.
A good example of a brand using user-generated content is Apple's #ShotOnIphone campaign.
Apple was losing a lot of fans due to the issues customers had with the performance of the iPhone cameras in low light. To gain back the trust of their audience and increase engagement, Apple encouraged their users to take photos with their iPhones in low-light and share them online. They shared the photos from their followers on their social media profiles and used them in ad campaigns.
This UGC campaign helped the brand significantly improve user engagement and build back trust. For the past few years, UGC has been a key part of Apple's marketing strategy.
Tip: Before you share content created by a user, always ask for their permission first to avoid potential legal troubles.
A simple message in their inbox asking for permission will do. Also, tag the user in your post.
Infusing creativity and humor in your content is an effective way to increase social media engagement.
An example of a brand using creativity to boost engagement is Getty Museum.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, museums were closed. Getty Museum used Twitter to find creative ways to engage with its audience. They created a Twitter challenge asking users to create art using household objects.
As of the time of writing, the tweet has 4.8k comments, 14.3k retweets, and 26.4K likes.
Old Spice is another brand that uses humor and ridiculous tweets to increase its user engagement. See some of their hilarious posts below.
Running giveaways and contests are an effective way to get your audience to engage with your brand. The key is to make sure that it is easy for your audience to take part.
Your social media goal will determine the type of contests you will run.
If you want to increase engagement and brand awareness, you can ask the participants to tag a friend or share the posts on their profiles to enter the contests.
If you want to increase your followers, you will ask participants to follow your profile.
If you want to grow your email lists, you can ask participants to sign up before entering the contest.
A good example of a brand effectively using social media giveaways is The Messi Store on Instagram.
The prize from the giveaway was a signed ball from Leo Messi. The prize was fantastic. A signed ball from the player is enough motivation for fans to engage with posts. The giveaway had over 10,000 comments with fans tagging 3 of their friends to stand a chance to win the prize.
Tip: Social media platforms have rules regarding running contests or giveaways. You need to ensure you follow them so that your post won't be removed. For example, Facebook stipulates that you let your audience know that Facebook is not affiliated or sponsoring your contest.
Here are the quick links to the content rules:
Create a community where your audience can interact with each other and your brand on Facebook. Instead of creating Facebook pages, start a branded Facebook group. Users are generally more active in groups than in pages.
To get conversations started, invite new members to your group. You can add new members straight from your group's dashboard.
You can either make your group a closed group or an open group.
Which option is the best?
Due to the number of spammers targeting Facebook groups, it's best to have a closed group. With a closed group, you decide who can join.
Tip: For big brands, a closed group might not be feasible due to the number of requests you will receive daily. The best practice is to hire moderators for the group. They will ensure that users are keeping to the group’s guidelines and regulations.
After creating a group, ensure that you post valuable content and also engage with your audience.
One of the effective ways to catch your audience's attention is by using images. Visuals should be a key part of your social media strategy.
How much effect can adding images to your post have on your engagement levels?
To be successful with this strategy, create and source for the most engaging visuals. Avoid using free stock images. Your brand needs to stand out. Use quality images in your posts. If you cannot take images yourself, purchase custom images from sites like Visually.
Your brand might not be seeing engagement on social media because of one simple reason - you don't have followers. If you have less than 1000 followers, you will see less overall engagement than brands with hundreds of thousands. If you want to see more engagements on your posts, you need to build your followers.
One of the most effective ways to grow your followers is by being active and engaged. Comment and reshare the posts of your target audience to show that you're not a bot. Being active exposes your value to new people and can help you gain new followers.
While they are brands with a small number of followers that see engagement on their posts, the reality is that it's easier to get more engagement when you have a huge following.
Polls and surveys are usually an overlooked tool for boosting brand awareness and audience interaction on social media. Polls offer a quick and effective way for social media users to engage with brands.
Along with boosting engagement, polls are the perfect avenue to learn about your audience. Instead of making assumptions about what your audience likes or how they feel about your content, you can just ask them using polls. By analyzing the results of the polls and reading their responses, you can understand them better. In return, adjust your social strategy to fit their desires. By creating content that is relevant to your audience, you will get more engagement.
Tip: To ensure that your polls perform well, keep them interesting and relevant to your target audience. Whether your poll is related to your brand, services, or a trending topic, make sure that it is something that your audience will be interested in. Also, avoid asking similar poll questions over and over again. If you do this, your audience will get bored and stop engaging them.
To increase social media engagement, you'll need to post when your audience is most active online. A ton of research has been done on the best times to post depending on the social network.
I went through a ton of articles, and these are the average best times to posts according to various studies:
Best time to post on Facebook:
For B2B: Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday (Between 9 am to 2 pm EST)
For B2C: Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (12 pm EST is the optimal time to post)
Best time to post on Twitter
For B2B: Monday or Thursday (Between 11 am to 1 pm)
For B2C: Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (Between 12 pm and 1 pm)
Best time to post on Instagram
The overall best days to post are on Wednesday at 11 am and Friday at 10 - 11 am.
The most consistent engagement occurs from 10 am to 3 pm on Tuesday through Thursday.
Best time to post on LinkedIn
The best time to post on LinkedIn is on Wednesday between 9 am and 1 pm.
The lowest engagement is seen on Sunday.
Tip: TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms today. If your brand doesn't have an active presence, you should start now. This article will show you the best times to post on TikTok.
Along with posting at the right times, you need to also post an average of 2 - 3 posts per platform per day. This will help you build engagement. Note: Do not go overboard with this. If you post too much, your audience might get irritated and unfollow you.
You can get your audience to engage with you by hosting AMA sessions.
What is an AMA session?
An “Ask Me Anything” session is when an individual - the question taker - stays online for a predetermined set of time and answers all the questions that users ask on the platform.
One of the best social media platforms for hosting AMA sessions is Reddit. While the platform is not as popular as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, its users are active and dedicated. The site receives a lot of engagement. There is also a strict anti-spam policy on the platform.
Other platforms you can host AMAs on are Twitter, Facebook, GrowthHackers, and Quora.
When choosing a speaker for the Ask Me Anything session, choose someone knowledgeable about your brand. This individual will be representing your entire organization, so choose someone that will answer questions confidently throughout the session.
Tip: Set the AMA to start when your audience is most active for maximum engagement.
Social media influencers have built a large audience of loyal followers who regularly engage with their content. Due to their influential status, they can also help brands increase their engagement and brand reach.
Do not partner with an influencer only because they have a huge following. The key is to work with influencers that are related to your industry.
For example, a tech brand should partner with an influencer in the technology niche. If you partner with a fashion influencer just because they have a lot of followers, you won't get reasonable engagement. Even the engagement you receive will be useless in helping you reach your marketing goals because you are targeting the wrong audience.
Tip: Before you work with an influencer, always look at their engagement rate. Some influencers have a huge number of followers but low engagement rates. Analyze this before going ahead with the partnership.
How can you use influencers to increase your engagement?
There are a number of ways you can do this.
You can host an influencer takeover where popular but relevant influencers take over your brand's social media account for a day. Due to the popularity of the influencer, a lot of their fans will engage with your profile. You will also gain a couple of new followers. Influencer takeovers are very popular on Snapchat and Instagram.
If you don't want to follow the influencer takeover route, you can feature branded content created by influencers on your social media profiles. For example, a video interview featuring popular influencers will see high engagement.
Effective use of hashtags can help you increase the visibility of the brand and boost engagement.
How can you effectively use hashtags in your social media marketing strategy?
Tip #1: Use hashtags that are unique, memorable, and relevant to the content you are sharing.
Tip #2: Consider the platform that you are using. The number of hashtags you will use on a post will depend on the platform. Studies show that Twitter posts with over two hashtags see a 17% drop in engagement. On the other hand, Instagram posts with over 11 hashtags see an increased number of interactions. You need to keep this in mind when using hashtags.
Tip #3: Consider how the hashtag will look like when the viewer sees it. Do not use a hashtag that spells out different words when put together without spaces.
This is a good example of a hashtag fail. When Susan Boyle wanted to release her debut album, her PR team released the hashtag - #susanalbumparty - to celebrate the release.
Not everyone read the hashtag as “Susan Album Party”. The hashtag went viral but for very wrong reasons. When the PR team caught on, they changed it to #SusanBoylesAlbumParty.
So, be careful with the phrasing of your hashtags.
Live videos are an effective way to connect with your audience and boost engagement. Reports also show that 82% of audiences prefer to watch a live video over standard social media posts.
Which platform should you use for live streaming?
The best part of hosting live streams is that it doesn't take a lot to get started. You can live stream from the social media platform you are already using. If you already have an active presence on any of the platforms, you can start live streaming immediately. After choosing the platform of your choice, all you need is a laptop, microphone, and a good internet connection.
To get the most return on investment from your live streams, make sure you reach as many people as possible. To do this, promote your live videos days before you host them. Also, schedule the live videos to start on the days/time your audience is most active.
To fully take advantage of social media, you need to invest in the right social media tools. Using tools will help you automate the entire process and save time.
Most brands have an active presence on more than one social media platform. It will be difficult to boost engagement on these platforms if you are doing everything manually.
You can automate your social media strategy using a tool like Iconosquare. Iconosquare allows you to schedule posts at optimal times, analyze your brand's social media efforts, receive automated reports, and monitor mentions of your brand on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Start your 14-day trial now. No credit card is required.
In this article, we have seen 15 effective ways you can increase social media engagement. Rome wasn't built in a day. You need to put in the effort to start seeing the engagements you desire. Take the tips one at a time and get started from there. Remember to analyze your current engagement levels before starting a new campaign. This will help you identify when you are making progress, and what works for you.
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Every week, Emily interviews top brands, renowned influencers, and hidden agencies with one goal in mind: to understand what happens backstage of their social media strategies.Listen to esm2