Marketing people always joke that social media platforms change their algorithms so frequently that no one, not even the people who do this for a living, can keep up with them. Anything you think you know about how to increase your social media engagement is likely to be outdated by tomorrow, or next week, or next month.
What we CAN tell you is that the social media algorithms reward users who are engaged, who know their audience and post good content. At least that’s the truth as of the time we wrote this blog!
But let’s back up and explain exactly what that means.
What is Social Media Engagement?
In a nutshell, it’s the way your audience interacts with your social media accounts. Metrics include:
- Likes, comments, and shares on your posts
- Audience growth (people liking or following your accounts)
- Mentions and tags
- Page and profile visits
- Click throughs
- Use of branded hashtags
Why Does Social Media Engagement Matter?
Social media is an important part of how we communicate and connect with people and brands. We look for jobs, ask for recommendations, give reviews, research everything, shop, solve problems, contact customer service, educate ourselves, watch the news, build relationships, and keep up with trends and friends—all on social media. The possibilities and opportunities to promote your business are endless.
When done well, social media can grow your business by engaging followers in meaningful conversations that turn them into customers. How you engage with them affects your brand awareness, customer loyalty, and yes, even your sales.
How Do I Increase Social Media Engagement?
Step 1: Know Your Audience
Don’t try to be everything to everyone … you’ll run yourself ragged. Focus on creating meaningful relationships with your target market.
If you’re running a business, chances are you already know who your audience is. If not, we need to talk. Seriously though, you’ll need to identify your customers’ demographics: Age, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, education level, income, interests, etc.
Step 2: Find Your Audience
Each of the major social media platforms cater to different people for different reasons.
A teenager we know likes to say that “Facebook is for old people.” They’re not wrong. Facebook does skew to an older and potentially wealthier demographic. Just be sure to manage your expectations for reaching this coveted market. Fostering organic engagement can be difficult since Facebook’s algorithm will only show your page posts to a fraction of your followers.
Though it still appeals primarily to the 18-34 demographic, Instagram really is for everyone. Retailers in particular have benefited from the platform’s emphasis on online shopping. If you’re selling entertainment, fashion or beauty products and services, Instagram is the place for you.
This business-oriented platform focuses on helping users connect with other professionals. Not only can you post and apply for jobs, but you can also share industry news and updates. If you’re a B2B company, you need to be on LinkedIn.
This is the place to go to follow hot topics and trending discussions. In terms of content, anything goes on Twitter. Users tweet about everything under the sun—from sports, news, and politics to beauty, fashion, and entertainment.
Another platform that began with teens and now appeals to everyone. TikTok is FUN, and if you aren’t already on it, drop everything and set up a personal account right now because you’re missing out. Is it right for your business? Possibly, but that depends on your target market.
Here’s our advice:
If you aren’t already on social media, figure out where your customers are spending their time, set up your own personal accounts, and become active on those platforms. This is the absolute best way to learn how to use social media effectively.
That’s doesn’t mean jumping on every new trend that comes along (looking at you, Clubhouse). Your time is precious, so focus your efforts on platforms that will give you the greatest return.
Step 3: Provide Great Content
The key to increasing engagement is giving your followers content they value and being active on your brand’s social media accounts. What your audience will find “valuable” will vary depending on their needs. It could be content that is informative, educational, or entertaining.
- Keep it real. People want authenticity. Content shouldn’t feel overly produced.
- Don’t “sell”—tell stories instead. If people sense they’re being sold to, they’ll skim right past your posts.
- Aim for quality vs. quantity. You’re better off posting engaging content three times per week rather than posting boring or uninteresting things every day.
- Be active. Post regularly, talk to people, and share other organizations’ posts.
- Get your followers involved: Ask their opinions, start conversations, and let them ask you questions.
- Jump on trending topics by using hashtags, and create a branded hashtag for your business.
- Respond to all comments and questions as quickly as possible.
- Spend a little time every day following the people you want to follow you—customers, content creators, influencers, celebrities, community leaders, businesses, partners, and vendors. Like and comment on their posts.
- Consider running contests and giveaways. It’s an easy way to quickly build your audience.
- Tailor your content for each platform. The way you write for Instagram is not how you write for Twitter or LinkedIn.
- Consider posting behind-the-scenes videos and user-generated content (with permission, of course!)
- Tag people and organizations in your posts/tweets to increase impressions.
- Regularly check your statistics to see what’s working and the most effective days and times to post. It will vary for every brand and audience.
- Include a call to action but keep it doable. If it involves too much effort, chances are your followers won’t bother. Set realistic expectations.
It’s Harder Than It Seems!
People are always surprised to learn how much work goes into creating great social media content. Unlike what you see on TV (ahem, Emily in Paris), it takes a lot of planning, researching, writing, designing, and scheduling to do it well. If your business is posting regularly on multiple platforms, you’ll need to dedicate at least several hours per week to content creation.
A few caveats:
- Know that organically growing your audience—and engagement—takes time. Be realistic and don’t expect results overnight.
- Never buy followers. Trust us…just don’t. You want followers who are genuinely interested in your business, not bots and junk accounts.
- Anecdotal evidence indicates that running paid digital ads can give your organic posts a boost, so consider adding some $$ to your advertising budget.
Need help getting your brand established on social media and creating amazing content? Our experts have the know-how to guide you through the continually changing world of social media.