The number of social media users worldwide has grown significantly and consistently over the past eight years and is expected to continue to grow. In 2010, the number of global social media users was 970 million. By the end of 2018, that number is expected to be 2.62 billion—an increase of 270%. Social media engagement has never been so critical to business growth.
Why is social media engagement important? To put things into perspective, the number of social media users is expected to exceed 3 billion by 2021. That amounts to more than one-third of the world’s population. And that growth shows no signs of slowing down.
With so many people using social media, it’s logical to assume that more and more consumers are looking to social media to inform their buying decisions. Increasing social media engagement can catapult you to a new level of competitiveness in your industry.
But how do you increase social media engagement? Which social media engagement tips and tricks will differentiate you from the competition? Below we cover the most effective social media engagement tactics and strategies that will guide you to success.
1. Create a social media style guide
A social media style guide defines various aspects of how you will present your brand on your various social media channels. It helps you maintain consistency through the creation of a social media vision statement, audience summary, brand voice, style standards, use of hashtags per social channel, and more. Learn more about creating a social media style guide.
2. Develop brand personas to inform your social media strategy
You’re probably aware of buyer personas. Marketers create them to identify and understand potential buyers’ needs, pain points, challenges, goals, demographics, etc. Businesses typically gain this insight through an online customer survey.
Social media personas are quite similar. They are hypothetical profiles of your average social media followers. Developing social media personas helps you zero in on what your audience wants and needs to see; which types of posts and content will engage them the most; and how you should communicate with them. Learn more about social media personas.
3. Use a different tone and voice for each social channel
This may seem like common knowledge, but it is, in fact, something that many companies struggle with. Each social channel has its own intended purpose, and you need to align the voice and tone of your posts with that purpose.
Facebook is more playful, for example, while LinkedIn is more professional. Avoid posting the same post verbatim on multiple channels. The audience of each channel will expect a different, unique tone that aligns with that particular social platform. You can define your tone and voice for each channel when creating your social media style guide, as mentioned above.
4. Participate in social media groups
Social media groups, particularly LinkedIn and Facebook groups, are great places to expand the reach of your message and increase social media engagement.
First, do your research and identify the groups that are most relevant to your market and audience. Then slowly join them one by one. Before you start to post in groups, take some time to observe what others there are posting about and what kind of dialogue is taking place.
Once you have a feel for a group’s “personality,” you can start commenting on posts or replying to others’ comments. In this way, you can slowly ease yourself into the group and create your unique presence there. Over time, you’ll develop a tight grasp on the nature of the information users share, and you can start to post your own posts in that group.
Group participation is one of many effective social media engagement ideas because it increases the exposure of your brand and generates new followers—if done right.
Pro tip: It’s fine to post product pitches now and then on your company’s social page. But refrain from doing so in groups. Groups exist to allow members to share important information and learn from one another. They are not the correct venue for you to pitch your product. If you start posting product pitches, group administrators may well ban you from that group for spreading spam.
5. Identify and approach industry influencers
Influencer marketing has grown in popularity and effectiveness in recent years. Industry influencers are authorities in a particular space. They have large followings on social media. If you can identify the right ones and form relationships with them, you can collaborate in many ways.
For example, ask them to write a guest article and post it on your blog. Then, share that blog on social media and tag the influencer. Your influencer will also likely share the article with their social networks, dramatically expanding the reach of your content and increasing brand exposure to a new audience.
6. Generate social media brand advocates
A brand advocate is someone who loves your brand so much that they speak positively about it or even promote it on social media. They can be loyal customers, satisfied employees, or anyone else that sees the value of your brand and is willing to plug it on social media.
Brand advocates produce free word-of-mouth advertising. And it’s been shown that consumers trust product or brand advice from friends, family, and colleagues much more than they trust traditional forms of brand promotion.
7. Leverage social listening tools
When someone mentions your brand name on social media, it’s crucial that you respond and engage them as quickly as possible. Social listening tools notify you when someone mentions your company, allowing you to engage your audience at the moment that they are engaging with you. This significantly increases social media engagement and positions your company as a customer-centric brand that pays attention to the voices of its followers.
8. Use visual content to increase social media engagement
Increasingly, social media users—and consumers in general—are more engaged by visual content than written content. Incorporate images and videos into your social media posts, and you’ll increase social media engagement.
This is especially true for millennials, who tend to prefer visual content over traditional, written content. Incorporate visual content to align with the preferences of your audience.
9. Provide educational content that solves problems
It’s tempting to fill your social feeds with product pitches and messages about how effective your product or service is. However, it’s best to keep product pitches to a minimum.
Instead, focus on sharing helpful, educational content that solves real problems for your followers. If they see that your posts help them solve everyday problems, they will follow you, share your posts, and keep coming back for more tips.
10. Share engaging content from other sources
Once you immerse yourself in the strategy of sharing helpful content with your audience, you can start sharing engaging content from other sources. You don’t need to limit yourself to only sharing your own content.
Your followers will appreciate any content that helps them solve problems, regardless of the content’s origin. Always be sure to tag the original source to encourage the creators of the content you shared to comment on your posts and share them with their audience. It’s a surprisingly effective example of effective social media engagement.
11. Leverage hashtags correctly
Hashtags can make or break your social media efforts. When used correctly, hashtags can greatly expand the exposure of your posts.
Be sure to research the hashtags you plan to use to ensure they are actively in use. Otherwise, you’ll waste your time and increase your posts’ character limit unnecessarily.
Furthermore, the effective use of hashtags varies across social channels. Learn more about how to use hashtags on each social platform.
12. Ask questions to encourage dialogue
When forming strategy to inform your social media engagement campaigns, incorporate the use of questions to encourage dialogue. Rather than simply posting a statement about your company or product and linking to a web page or other content, position your post as a question.
Ask viewers what they do in certain situations to achieve success. Encourage viewers to offer their opinions around the topics you write about. This will start a dialogue and motivate viewers to chime in with their opinions. More dialogue equals increased social media engagement, so don’t forget to incorporate this tactic.
13. Create social contests
Most people love competition. You can engage social media users by developing social media contests and awarding prizes to the winners.
For example, you could hold a contest that asks your followers to submit their ideas for how best to succeed at X, Y, or Z.
Provide a deadline for submissions. And ask participants to tag your company when they submit their ideas. This will put your content in front of new viewers. It will also encourage social sharing as many people will share your contest announcement with their followers so that they can participate as well.
Social media contests can greatly expand your following in a short time. To make your contest even more effective, post updates that alert followers to the pending contest deadline. Then share the results and winners in social media posts.
14. Use social media polls
Just like social media contests, social media polls have a great potential to engage your audience in a fun way. To make things interesting, incorporate some humor into your poll.
People love sharing their opinions in social media polls, which is why they are so effective. They not only motivate your followers to engage with your posts, but polls are also more likely to be shared by your followers, which does wonders for social media engagement. Learn more about social media polls.
15. Track your results
If you use a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that includes social CRM capabilities, it’s easy to track the engagement levels that your posts produce.
Use URL shorteners that allow you to track the number of clicks each link receives. Keep an eye on engagement levels by monitoring each post and identifying the ones that are most engaging to your audience.
Doing so provides insight into what is working and what is not so that you can continually refine your approach and consistently increase social media engagement levels.
Businesses that embrace best practices to increase social media engagement are the ones that will thrive in the future. Those that don’t will fall behind and find it increasingly difficult to compete in their respective industries.
Following the tips above, you’ll increase social media engagement, bring more prospects to your website and content, and develop a reputation as a customer-centric brand.