There’s so no doubt about it, social media has become one of the most effective forms of marketing. In today’s age, individuals now have access to social media everywhere they go. One of the reasons social media marketing is so effective is because it’s a fun and engaging way to collect and share information. People are able to share their stories, ideas and values anytime, anywhere and any way they want.
Because social media is so popular, it can be a challenge to stand out in the crowd, especially for businesses. CoSchedule reports that 97 percent of marketers are using social media for business, making social media marketing one of the most competitive marketing tools out there.
However, many businesses underestimate the value of social media engagement. If your business is on social media, one of your biggest goals should be to increase your engagement. Many brands want more engagement around their social media posts, but don’t know where to begin, what else to try or are stuck in the same old strategy.
In this article, I cover the top 10 ways your business can increase its social media engagement. Let’s dive in!
So, what is social media engagement exactly? Buffer defines it as, “a measure of how people are interacting with your social media accounts and content. The term can cover a broad range of actions across all social platforms.”
For example, some engagement might include likes and favorites, comments, direct messages (DMs), replies, shares and retweets, saves, clicks and mentions. Why is social media engagement so crucial? In short, social media posts with more engagement and thoughtful interactions will get more reach. Meaning, your posts will end up in front of more people.
Building relationships with your consumers is an essential component in increasing your organic reach and customer loyalty. Increasing your social media engagement helps to build strong relationships with your consumers. Social networks give you the opportunity to interact directly with customers and fans, and likewise give them the chance to interact directly with your brand. Unlike traditional media, which offers only one-way communication, social media is a two-way street. Building these relationships is an essential component in increasing your organic reach and customer loyalty. By increasing customer loyalty, you will ultimately increase your sales. Customers who you engage with on social media will feel involved in your brand and want to purchase from your business. Hence, an engaged audience is a buying audience!
We briefly discussed the importance of social media engagement for increasing sales, but how else can it benefit your business?
High social media engagement boosts brand awareness. Each time a consumer interacts with your brand on social media, overall awareness of your brand is increased. If a customer likes your Instagram post, friends and followers of that person will see that engagement, followers of your brand may see that engagement and overall awareness of your brand increases. Ultimately, when your content shows up at the right place and the right time, with the right audience, it’ll improve your brand’s reputation. The more quality social media content customers see, the more likely they are to have a positive association with your company.
Now that you know what social media engagement is and how it can benefit your business, let’s go over the top 10 ways your business can increase its engagement!
It’s hard to measure your engagement growth if you don’t know where you’re starting from. First things first, run some analytics. Look at your number of followers, likes, comments, clicks per post or audience growth. Nearly all social media platforms come with helpful dashboards that lay out all the information you need in one place. All you have to do is know how to read the data. If you are looking for some help getting started, check out the best social media analytics tools according to Hootsuite!
If you’re still trying to define and finalize your social media engagement goals – don’t sweat it. You’re definitely not alone.
Sprout Social highlights a few key points when it comes to setting your social media engagement goals:
“To increase your social media engagement, you’ll need to break the process down into a few parts. First, understand what engagement is and which parts you want to focus on. Second, analyze the current engagement you have. And third, figure out which long-term and short-term strategies you want to use to increase the engagement.”
Have you heard of the SMART goal-setting framework? In case you aren’t familiar, Sprout Social outlines the acronym as follows:
By setting clear social media engagement goals and following the SMART goal-setting framework, you will know where your team should be focusing its social media marketing efforts in order to achieve maximum engagement.
Hootsuite mentions if you want customers and followers to be engaged, you must be engaged yourself! Stay involved and respond to comments and questions on your own social media posts in a way that’s appropriate to your brand. This also means encouraging users to like, comment or share your content.
This can be as simple as adding “don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family!” or “hit the like button if you relate to this content.” It doesn’t have to be complex, try to engage with your audience in a way that feels comfortable.
One of the most important things you can do to increase your social media engagement is sharing relevant content for your audience. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you want to make sure the content you are posting is sharable, relatable and original.
It’s important to remember that the needs and wants of your target audience must come before anything else. Discover what your audience values and provide them with social media content that reinforces those desires and needs.
Including images or videos with your social media marketing strategy is proving to be one of the most powerful business assets for gaining new followers, growing your brand and driving sales. According to Forbes, 91 percent of consumers prefer interactive and visual content over traditional, text-based or static media.
Incorporating video content within your social media marketing strategy has become a must within the last few years. Video content has become increasingly more affordable and accessible, and it’s critical for brands to create emotionally charged videos to accompany their other marketing initiatives. Forbes mentions:
“By producing easily shareable video content, consumers will view your videos with the idea in mind that someone they trust has already viewed and shared it. All of this time spent watching your video content means longer time spent on your website as well, ultimately signaling to search engines that your site is full of great content.”
Putting yourself out there on social media can be scary. Will consumers like what you have to say? Does your voice reflect your business in the best way possible? Buffer explains that having an authentic voice on social media is important, but not as easy as it sounds. Having an authentic voice is essential because it humanizes your brand and encourages people to respond and talk about you positively. Establishing a brand voice is also especially important if multiple people manage your social media accounts; you want to make sure your voice is consistent. By staying both authentic and consistent, your social media engagement is sure to grow!
Keep an eye on what’s going on in your business’s surrounding area. Current events are great conversation starters on social media platforms, especially if the events directly affect the brand’s target audiences. Hootsuite mentions:
“Just join a conversation that’s already happening. Commenting on current events and trends in a way that ties in your brand is an opportunity to instantly connect with an audience in a timely way.”
While the content you share is crucial, your lack of social media engagement could be a result of when you are posting. Are you being strategic about when each update goes live on each social media platform? Thanks to social media tools like Hootsuite, you can craft updates in advance and schedule them out for the specific days and times you want them to go live. Find out when your followers are most
likely to be online and schedule your social media posts accordingly. The goal is to have them see your posts and possibly like, comment and/or share them. The best times to post can differ according to the social media channels you’re using. So, you might have to run a few tests to see which timing works best for your brand on different platforms.
You don’t always have to come up with creative strategies to increase social media engagement. Sometimes it’s best to use tried and tested techniques to engage customers and prospects. For example, you can promote discounts, coupons, special services, freebies, free shipping and more. Such offers can help you increase social media engagement as well as sales. You should experiment with different types of offers and promotions to see what your audience responds to best.
Develop a personality or unique voice for your brand. Personality and voice heighten consumer trust when your business is engaged and interacting frequently with its customers. People use social media to be entertained, not to be sold to! If all of your social media posts are overly promotional and invite people to buy your products, you might end up losing your audience’s attention. Instead, use humor regularly in your posts to entertain your followers and increase social media engagement. For example, use memes or GIFs to convey emotion or come up with clever puns related to your industry.