Why is engagement important?
Social media platforms have evolved from places where people connect with friends, family and colleagues, to places where they can connect with businesses and brands and engage in meaningful conversations. People don’t use social networks for a one-way experience. They are seeking connections. Savvy brands turn those connections and conversations into followers and customers.
Social media engagement has a major impact on small businesses, affecting everything from brand awareness to customer loyalty.
An engaged following is an audience who knows, likes, and trusts your company. Without engagement, social media is just media.
Facebook uses “meaningful engagement” as an important ranking signal that a post should be prioritised and therefore seen by more people.
Here are my tried and tested ideas to boost your social media engagement: –
- Compelling Content
Whether we post photos, carousel or videos, our aim is to get our followers to stop scrolling and take time to read our posts. With so many posts bombarding our customers we need to create visuals that are stand out.
It’s become easy to produce visual content to win the attention of our social media followers by using free programmes such as Canva because minimal design skills are required!
The statistics show that faces in photos get 38% more likes and videos get twice the engagement. Using a variety of post types — single images, carousel posts, videos, stories etc. is key to successfully creating engaging posts.
I know it’s daunting, but just do it! Did you know Facebook users are four times more likely to watch live videos than recorded videos, according to Sprout Social? Its engaging, authentic and this transparency encourages trust.
- Strong copy
Once we have the visuals, next we need to create strong copy. Tailor the content for the platform; for example on Twitter there are 280 characters available to you whereas on Instagram there are 2200.
Engage the audience by asking questions, social media needs to be social, it’s not just a broadcasting medium.
In businesses we often use abbreviations and jargon which are meaningful to use but may be meaningless to our audience, so it’s important to use the language and vocabulary that are audiences uses and understands. Check the spelling, grammar etc is on point and proofread the post before posting.
- Persuasive call to action
When we set goals for social media we know what we are looking to achieve and we can then tailor the call to action on posts to help us reach these goals. For example, do we want to promote a particular product? Do we want our followers to join our email newsletter?
Whatever it is it needs to be clear for our audience, simple for them to do and easy for us to measure.
- Strategic targeting
Our followers will be at different parts of their customer journey, so we need different types of posts to appeal to them wherever they are.
How can you move your audience along from where they are now to where you’d like them to be, to purchase your product or service?
Think about 6 different pillars of content (ICEISE)
Try to make sure you cover all of these – often we focus too much on the convince – “buy our stuff/ book our service” and not on the other categories.
Don’t forget to use curated content as well as created content. Curated content is more than simply re-sharing other people’s content, curation is a way to provide extra value to your followers while highlighting your own industry expertise. Carefully using curated content positions you as the expert in your field. When you find an article online that you think would interest your audience, save it and use it as a social media post.
- Schedule posts for when your followers are online.
The best times to post can differ according to many factors, such as platform, time zone and your audience. There are generic researched ‘best times to post’, however it’s so much better to use your data and your analytics (provided free by each social media channel) so you know when your customers and potential customers are online. You can then schedule the posts at the BEST time, when they are likely to be seen and therefore increase engagement.
- Use social media like a telephone not a television.
As mentioned earlier, social media is designed to be social. It’s important not to post and run but to reply to all comments, preferably with a question which encourages a discussion and further conversation.
Reply to all messages, especially to direct messages which follow from story interactions. If you are using Instagram and Facebook it’s so much easier to access these now through the Facebook Business Suite rather than via the myriad of different inboxes there were before.
If you have questions about your social media engagement, I’d love you to come to my FREE weekly social media clinic (on Zoom) where you can ask me anything. Book your space here: https://onlinemediaworks.co.uk/workshops/free-social-media-clinic/
I’m Esther Partridge-Warner and I work with businesses to raise their game on social media; by helping them find clarity and to develop the skills and the confidence they need to drive company’s forward to stellar success.
I run a marketing consultancy in Malvern (Online Media Works) and teach Digital Marketing for three UK universities.