Marketing | 30 Jul 2014

Things To Do To Drive Social Media Engagement

You’ve got your social media pages all setup. You are posting great content. You’ve got some likes and followers. People occasionally retweet and share your content. But you want to take it to the next level. You want people engaging with you and your content – more conversations, more comments, more shares, and more retweets. What do you do?

After doing a bunch of research, I’ve compiled this post of specific things to do to drive social media engagement. It’s not rocket science; you can start doing them today. And you’ll get engagement! I guarantee it!

In order to drive engagement, you have to do 2 things:

  1. Post great original content: People don’t do anything without proper incentive. But give them something they want, and they’ll do exactly what you tell them. If you want people to visit your social media pages and engage, you have to provide them with value in exchange for that – give them the information they are looking for, teach them something they don’t know, make them laugh, make their life easier. Give them something they want in order to keep them coming back. (Content is extremely important, and is a subject of a completely different discussion. This post focuses on driving engagement.)
  2. Be engaged yourself: Get out there, make contact, interact, ask questions and provide answers. No amount of great content will get you engagement if you are not engaged yourself. Don’t use social media as a soap box. Use it as a communication channel open to everybody.

Based on the points made above, here is a list of specific things to do in order to drive social media engagement:

  1. Join a conversation. Every single thing under the sun is being discussed online right now. Find the conversation you are interested in and join it. Remember you have to be engaged yourself to drive engagement.
  2. Stay on top of general feeds in your industry and watch for relevant conversations. It’s a great way to make new connections.
  3. Make sure to respond to people that engage with you. You only have one chance. If you don’t answer the question or respond to comment first time around, chances are you are not getting a second one.
  4.  Show your appreciation with “Thanks for sharing” or “Thanks for following” and use it as a starting point for a conversation. If they just followed you, ask them what kind of content they are looking for. If they retweeted/shared your content, ask them if they found it helpful. Don’t just thank them, engage them.
  5. Follow/like people back. It’s a great way to show your appreciation and make new connections.
  6. Share your fans’ content with your followers. That will get your other fans engaged too!
  7. Spend some time interacting with your followers in their space. Build the relationship by making it about them as much as about you. Go to their Facebook page. Comment on their blog post. It also offers you a way to find great content to share with your followers.
  8. Engage followers directly by asking questions and using polls. Make their opinion count and make sure they are aware of it.
  9. Be transparent. Respond to both negative and positive feedback. It’s easy to thank somebody for a compliment, but it might be tempting to ignore a complaint. Don’t do it. Acknowledge the problem and figure out if anything can be done to redeem the situation.
  10. Reward the behavior you want to encourage. Reward people who are engaging with you. Thank them for their comments. Share their content. Hold a drawing among most active followers.
  11. Promote your social media pages via other marketing channels to increase traffic and engagement:
    • Add social media icons and links to your web site and blog
    • Include social icons and links in emails
    • Send a dedicated social media email campaign
    • Ask email subscribers to connect on social media and share your content
    • Promote email sign-up via social networks
    • Include social media share icons and links in emails
    • Build an email opt-in form on Facebook
    • Offer discount to your followers for inviting others to like/follow you social media pages
  12. Experience shows that visual content gets more engagement on social media. Here are some ideas for visual content to post:
    • Product Shot – No matter what you are selling, don’t just talk about it. Show it off.
    • Team Picture – Humanize your brand. People like to know who they are doing business with. Don’t wait for special occasion. Take and share pictures on regular basis to keep your customers connected to your company and brand.
    • Team in Action – To add some diversity to your team pictures, show you team in action. Show what they do and how they do it. Fans love to see passionate people at work.
    • Look Behind the Scenes – Make your social media fans feel like members of an exclusive club. Give them something they will not see anywhere else. Show them how your product is built. Show them your process. Give them a picture tour of your offices/facilities.
    • Spotlight Your Customers – Post pictures of your customers (using your product or not) with a testimonial quote from them about how much they love your product. Promote your product and show off your loyal customers at the same time.
    • Feature Your Fans – Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame. Give it to your most active social media fans. Share their content with you followers. Post their pictures on your feed. Tag them in your images. Kill two birds with one stone – get more loyalty from your fans and reward the behavior you want to encourage.

Don’t forget to optimize your images for SEO. Before publishing images on social media, use your target keywords in the following (while these items will not be displayed in your social media post, they will affect the search engine rankings for your target keywords favorably):

  •  file name
  • title
  • alt text
  • description

With so many ideas, you are probably wondering what the ideal mix of content and activities is? The answer depends on your industry, product and preferences of your followers; but to start, try the following formula for your social media content:

  • 1/3 original content promoting your company, brand and products/services
  • 1/3 sharing content of others relevant to your industry, company and product
  • 1/3 personal interactions to build your brand and drive engagement

You’ve got your to-do list! It’s time to get busy!

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