Social media platforms are an increasingly important area for online marketers to master and boosting social media engagement is a top priority for many of today's marketing professionals. After all, if you are using social media accounts on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote your business, you want to attract clicks, comments, likes, shares, retweets, follows and other social media interactions from your audience.
When other people engage with your social media posts, you are essentially earning some of their valuable time. This potentially offers you opportunities to increase awareness, attract new customers, build a rapport with potential business partners, provide a service to existing customers and promote the virtues of your brand. In this article, we take a closer look at social media posts and offer five top tips that will help you to increase engagement.
1. Understand Your Audience
The first step to any effective social media strategy is to understand your audience. This means gaining insight into who they are, what they want from you, and how they want it. It is also important to understand that your audience may differ, depending on the social media platform in question. As an example, you should know that 90 percent of Instagram users are under 35, while 46 percent of Facebook users are over 35.
"You need to get into your audience's head before you even decide on things like the social copy, posting frequency, and what you're going to share," explains Tony Tran, in a blog for Hootsuite.com. "Too many businesses make the mistake of guessing at what their customers want on social media. And when they don't engage, the same businesses are left scratching their heads. It's because they didn't know their audience."
2. Set Clear Goals or Objectives
Knowing and understanding your audience is the first step, but it is also essential for a social media strategy to include clear goals and objectives, so that everyone involved in the process of creating or publishing content knows what they are aiming to achieve. The precise goals or objectives you select will depend on the nature of your business, and the nature of your marketing strategy, but try to be as specific as possible.
For instance, it could be that the goal of your social media marketing is to educate your audience or help them to solve problems. Alternatively, your efforts may be geared entirely towards boosting brand awareness and attracting attention, or towards customer service and one-to-one interactions. When setting your goals, if at all possible, make them realistic, achievable and measurable, so that progress can be tracked.
3. Remember that Content is King
Marketers may be sick of seeing the phrase "content is king" by this point, but it is repeatedly emphasised for a reason. As Marketing Donut points out, many modern customers do not reach out to brands directly in this day and age. Instead, they check out the brands that interest them on social media, and then look for clues that the business is trustworthy or has something useful to offer them. This is where content is important.
Ultimately, regardless of anything else, there is no substitute for high-quality content if you are attempting to boost engagement. Your customers or potential customers want to see that you know what you are talking about, that you have the expertise to assist them with their problems, and that your solutions are better than your rivals'. Make your social media posts useful, interesting, or helpful, and try to offer unique insights that cannot be found elsewhere.
4. Be as Consistent as Possible
Next, you should try to ensure that you are as consistent as possible with your social media posts, meaning you should try to adopt a consistent voice and avoid presenting contradictory information. In addition, to maximise engagement, you should also try to stick to a consistent posting schedule. The key advantage of doing so is that your audience knows when to expect content and can make consuming that content part of their routine.
"It can be easy for you to let days, or even weeks, fly by without publishing a new Facebook post or tweet," says Thomas Smale, the founder of FE International, in an article written for Entrepreneur.com. "That's why a commitment to scheduling is so important. If your audience members can't count on your business to deliver relevant content in a timely manner, you'll find it difficult to keep them engaged."
5. Reap Rewards from Visual Content
Finally, one of the most fool proof ways to boost social media engagement is to ensure that more of your content has a clear visual component. This could come from the presence of photographs, graphs, infographics, video content or other images. Not only can this help to attract more attention in the first place, it can also help to improve the extent to which audiences remember information from content and share it with their friends.
According to statistics compiled by HubSpot, Twitter posts that contain images or a visual component receive 150 percent more 'retweets' than posts without images. Meanwhile, Facebook posts with images generate, on average, 2.3 times more engagement than those without images. Furthermore, the presence of a visual component in a social media post also helps to significantly increase audience knowledge retention rates.
The Last Word
Most brands and marketing experts understand the importance of social media, but many still struggle to optimise engagement levels. Nevertheless, the tips presented in this article should help you to attract more interactions from your target audience, and to gain a wider reach as a result of the increased number of shares and retweets.
In particular, you need to be clear about who your audience is, what they actually want from you on social media, and how you can provide that for them. You also need to create clear objectives, so that all social media posts have a purpose, and try to remain consistent in terms of voice, tone, insights and your posting schedule. Of course, in the end, the best way to increase engagement is to create high-quality content, which is worth engaging with.
By Rebecca Hamano Cabot
I have been consulting on Social Media Strategy for a number of years now, providing management solutions as well as running social media campaigns for a diverse client base. I spent the previous decade of my career working as a specialist in the tech industry which, combined with my passion for social media, has put me in a unique position to exploit social media platforms to their best. I maintain a vigorous program of professional development, allowing me to stay at the forefront of my industry. Follow me on LinkedIn @ Rebecca Hamano Cabot to keep abreast of my latest findings and industry news.