Many businesses fail to nail engagement on their social accounts because they cannot understand the purposes of it, instead focussing on posting content and becoming little more than a broadcaster. Little do they realise that the social media is two-way, and customer engagement is vital to success. How well does your business fare with the ‘social’ side of social media?
By now, we all should know social media has become one of the most powerful marketing tools. It’s important for businesses to take advantage of it to better their company image as a whole. Social media is as much PR as it is advertising.
If you’re one of those who struggles to understand the whole engagement malarkey, don’t panic. The Social Bods team is here to give you some advice.
What is social media engagement?
This is the million-dollar question, what is engagement? It’s simply where your audience interacts with the content you post on social media. For example, a video posted on Facebook could generate a number of likes, comments and shares. The more users interact with your post, the more popular it looks to the social network, and the more the post is offered to your followers. A snowball effect will help your post reach people outside of your usual audience as it appears in the newsfeeds of friends of fans.
Every time your audience interacts with your content, you should receive a notification which will appear in the notification stream. Now, you’re probably sat questioning yourself whether you should check all notifications? Short answer – yes! It’s important to check all notifications as soon as you receive them to keep up to date with who is interacting and how. If a user has commented on your post asking a question, then you’re able to instantly respond whilst they are still active. Speedy responses increase conversation rates and set a positive image for the brand. What’s your current response time?
Most social media channels have similar metrics so you will quickly become familiar to them and learn how to measure your engagement rates and response times. You should measure engagement so you can see what content has done well over time, and hone your content strategy.
Here is a run-down of some of the metrics you can measure for each channel:
Twitter – Retweets, likes, replies, mentions, direct messages, follower growth and engagement rate.
Instagram – Likes, comments, direct messages, mentions and follower growth.
Facebook – Comments, shares, likes, direct messages, ratings & recommendations, mentions and followers growth.
LinkedIn pages – Comments, likes, shares, and follower growth.
Pinterest – Pins, Repins, Pinners and Repinners.
Why is social media engagement important?
Encouraging engagement should be a vital part of a business’s social media strategy and it’s important to have engagement as a KPI that is relevant to your business goals. This could include increasing brand awareness, enhancing market research and ROI, or attracting new customers and building a relationship with them. Lack of engagement results in loss of positive opportunities that helps businesses develop and evolve. Engagement contributes to the bottom line by turning the unknowing into followers, followers into fans, and fans into customers.
Engagement also helps the social media networks to understand what is ‘good’ content and what isn’t. If content is keeping people happy and on their platform, then it will be shown to more people. If it’s shown to enough people, then the content is said to have gone ‘viral’, though there aren’t any official numbers that determines what viral means. If you want your content to spread beyond the people who already follow you, then engagement is key.
How can you generate engagement on social media?
To receive engagement from your audience, you must be at your ‘A game’ with your social media marketing strategy. There are many ways to build engagement, here is how it can be done:
- Creating relevant and interesting content – This will grab your audience’s attention and encourage them to share your content with their network.
- Ask questions – People love answering questions.Your audience will be thrilled to share their interests, emotions, and attitudes to pertinent topics. You can turn this into an opportunity to learn more about the audience’s behaviour and personality, and to build relationships.
- Use both rational and emotional content – Switching your content from rational to emotional from time to time is good practice. No-one wants to see the same kind of content because it gets boring. Entertain your audience, as well as educate.
- Reach out to your audience – Don’t just rely on receiving direct messages and comments, be the first one to interact instead. Give your audience’s content a compliment, a like or perhaps share it. At the end of the day it’s for a good cause! People appreciate their content being shared so do your bit and you might get rewarded in extra brownie points.
Put the Social into Social Media Marketing
You don’t have to wait for your audience to engage with you – get out there and do it yourself.Networks like Twitter and Instagram are designed for two-way conversations – Facebook and LinkedIn pages not so much – so get out there and get conversing. If you don’t, then you’re falling into the trap of using social media as a broadcasting tool, and if you do that, you might as well cough up for paid advertising and have done.
What you can do:-
Twitter – like a post, retweet, or reply to it
Instagram – like a post, leave a comment
Facebook pages – you can react and comment on other pages as your page if you follow that page. You might need to go to your ‘pages feed’ from your own page to see it. You will almost certainly need to have had your page like their page.
LinkedIn pages – there’s not much you can do BUT there is a trick where your page can follow a maximum of three hashtags. Go to your page, click through from your selected hashtags and check out the trending content. You should be able to like and comment on that content as your page, whether the content is on a page, or on someone’s profile.
Make the time!
We recommend that you set aside some time from your social media ‘budget’ to carry out meaningful engagement. We know it goes to the bottom of the pile and never gets done properly if you don’t block off the time to do it. Little and often is better than in chunks, so start with 10 minutes twice a day and see how you get on. Get onto Twitter and do a search for a relevant keyphrase and interact, or like it, or retweet it. Go on Instagram and like a few pics and leave some nice comments.
Following – especially on Instagram and Twitter – is also a good strategy for growth and to encourage engagement. We will soon be writing about effective following strategies on social media networks, so stay tuned.
Little and often is better because if you try and do too much in one hit, the networks get really cross. Too much liking, commenting, following, or anything really in too short a space of time can get your account temporarily suspended, or even permanently deleted. Better to take it slowly and carefully than crash and burn and end up in ‘Facebook jail’ or worse.
For Instagram, we recommend you look at Gary Vaynerchuk’s $1.80 Instagram growth strategy. If you’ve got the time, it really does work! This is something that can be strategically broken down into smaller, manageable steps that can be done over the course of a few days.
So there you have it – social media is designed for people to interact with each other, so get out there and get interacting.
Can you recommend any ways in which you have successfully engaged with others on social media?
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