Your business wants more customers. So, you think, “Okay, I’ll just make a Facebook or Twitter page, toss up some posts about our products a couple of times a week, and bam! The sales are gonna come rolling in.”
But instead of users flocking to your feed, all you’ve got are tumbleweeds blowing by. Does this scenario sound familiar? If so, then you’re in the right place.
If you want people to care about your social media, you need a foolproof and rigorous yet user-friendly strategy to get your bearings. That’s why I’m here to tell you how to boost social media engagement and send your likes, follows, and subscribers soaring.
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Why Does Social Media Engagement Matter?
Social media platforms aren’t just for advertising your stuff. At its core, social media is about building relationships with people.
People want to buy from a business they truly like. Thanks to social media, you don’t have to be just another faceless company. It’s a great tool for showing off your business’s personality.
“My business has a personality?” you might wonder.
Of course, it does. Or, if it doesn’t, it should.
If your company sells corporate solutions, its personality might be formal and knowledgeable. You want to come across as an expert who knows what they’re talking about.
On the other hand, if your business sells kids’ toys, your personality can be a bit more light-hearted and fun.
It all depends on the image you want to project.
With social media, you can show off that personality to get users to engage with you. You’ll boost brand recognition, so when someone needs a product like yours, they’ll think of you.
You’ll also build customer loyalty. Show them you care by quickly responding to customer questions and complaints. When customers know they can count on you, they’ll likely buy from you again.
How Is Social Media Engagement Measured?
If you’re wondering how to boost social media engagement, you probably also want to know how to tell whether your methods are effective.
You’ll find several ways to measure engagement depending on your social media platform. Some metrics include:
- Shares and retweets
- Branded hashtags
- Audience growth
Keeping track of all this stuff manually can turn into a real headache. Thankfully, you can find several free and paid social media analytics tools to do the job, helping you automate certain tasks so you can focus on what matters.
What’s Your Goal?
Before you can get started on your social media strategy, you need to know your goal. Social media may be a part of a greater marketing strategy, but that does not mean you can simply post content without thinking. What are you hoping to get out of social media?
“Well, I want to sell stuff,” you say.
Sure you do. But you can leverage social media for so much more. Possible goals include:
- Educating your audience
- Developing leads
- Collecting feedback about your business, products, and services
- Changing customer perceptions of your brand
The first thing to do is figure out your goal — or goals (you can have more than one). Without this, driving your social media strategy forward will be next to impossible.
Know Your Audience
If you don’t know your target audience, your social media posts will get ignored, at best. At worst, you could turn people off so much that they swear never to buy anything from your business again.
What is a target market? Basically, it’s the group of people you want to sell your products and services to. You can define your target market by such criteria as:
- Geographic location
- Spending power
- Challenges and pain points
Where do you get all this information? If your business already has a big social media following, that can be a goldmine.
On social media, people love to talk about themselves. You can see what they’re complaining about, any problems they’re facing, the exciting things they’re doing, their accomplishments, and so much more.
Your website can be a great source of information, too. Google Analytics gives you lots of data on who’s visiting your site, where they’re from, and what type of content they engage with the most.
Another idea is to check your competitors’ websites and social media feeds. This gives you an idea of who they’re advertising to and the audiences they serve.
Does your business have a sales team? Talk to them! They probably have insights into leads and customers you never even considered.
Oftentimes, the demographic of people can change depending on the platform. It is worth it to consider that fact too!
Once you’ve got a better picture of your audience, it can help to build target personas. Think of a persona as a fictionalized user who matches everything you’re looking for in a customer.
For example, let’s say your business sells wedding cakes. A target persona might look like this:
- Gender: Female
- Age: 25-35
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
- Income: $80,000-$125,000
- Interests: Reading, gardening, sports, hiking
- Spending preferences: Doesn’t mind spending more for higher quality
- Challenges: Trying to buy their first home, working long hours to progress their career
For ease of reference, give your persona a name like “Sarah Spends-a-Lot.” Compile all your target personal information in an easily accessible place. That way, you’ll have it close at hand when you work on your social media strategy.
The Hunt for Hashtags
Do you know the power of hashtags?
Think of hashtags as an index for quickly finding the most popular content in your niche. You don’t need to spend hours combing through social media posts. Just click on a hashtag, and you’ll instantly see what’s trending with your target audience.
Try searching for hashtags related to your business and industry. You can also check out your competitors’ feeds for more ideas.
When you find a trending hashtag, you know it’s one you’ll want to target.
You can use the hashtags you find for your content, but be aware that your stuff might get buried in search results if those hashtags are too competitive. On the other hand, if your hashtags are too niche, nobody will see what you post.
Don’t just use your business name as a hashtag. Try location-based hashtags to target users living in your city or country. You’ll have less competition that way.
Content Is King
Many people think they can simply post random stuff on social media once a week, and the users will come flocking. If that were the case, we’d all have subscriber counts in the millions.
For your social media strategy to work, you must post quality content relevant to your target audience, as I discussed above.
This is the part of social media management that tends to trip people up the most. Creating great content takes time, and we all know that’s something in very short supply.
Many business owners try to take shortcuts by reposting content from other sources. That’s okay sometimes, but it shouldn’t be the biggest part of your strategy.
So, what kind of content should you post? That all depends on your goals and audience. If your business targets young men who love basketball, your posts should look very different compared to a company that sells beauty products to older women.
Remember, no matter what you sell, don’t just make posts that advertise your stuff. I can tell you that very few people are going to care.
Let’s take the above example of a business that sells beauty products to older women. You could share tips for applying makeup, looking younger, or choosing the right product for one’s skin type.
That type of content speaks to your target audience’s interests and problems, prompting users to think, “Hey, that sounds interesting. I think I’ll check it out.”
Questions and polls are fantastic for boosting engagement, too. People love to see how their answers stack up against others.
What kinds of questions should you ask? Your questions could be industry-specific or more general. It depends on who your target audience is.
Some questions you might ask include the following:
- What’s your favorite way to stay productive?
- What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
- What are you making for dinner tonight?
- What’s your opinion on [trending topic in the news]?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which is just as true on social media as it is in the real world.
People love pictures — and videos — on social media. They’re easy to consume and share. Plus, they get your message across without throwing walls of text at potential customers.
So, you should make visual media a big part of your strategy.
A hilarious GIF has the potential to go viral and spread to millions of people around the web. Wouldn’t you like to get in on that kind of action?
You don’t necessarily need to create original pictures and videos. It’s possible to piggyback on the success of content that’s already gone viral.
But if you can create your own stuff, even better.
And your content doesn’t even need to go viral to make a big impact on your audience. As long as it’s helpful or interesting, that’s what counts.
It’s All About Relationships
To build your social media engagement, you must engage with users.
Shocking, I know.
How do you do that? For starters, check out what your users read and comment on. When a user posts something, try making a comment of your own.
A comment like “That’s very insightful” or “You make some excellent points” will go a long way toward building rapport with users.
Your customers use social media to connect with you, too. They might have questions about your product or complaints about something that went wrong. Many people would rather reach out over social media than call or email you.
Always try to respond to users as soon as you can. Never make anyone wait more than 24 hours for a response. If you respond too slowly, it sends the message that you don’t care.
And if a customer doesn’t get a fast response, they’re not likely to stay quiet about it. This is social media, remember? They’ll probably blast your company to all their friends and anyone else who will listen.
This can seriously damage your reputation in a way that’s hard to recover from.
I understand if you don’t have time to write a custom reply to everyone who messages you. Thankfully, you can find tools that will respond with a prewritten message for you. These tools can automatically send a message based on keywords you’ve set up in advance.
Make sure your message still sounds like a human, though. Your users won’t be very happy campers if they know they’re talking to a robot.
Collaboration Can Be Powerful
What if your business is just starting and doesn’t have a big social media following yet? You can take advantage of someone else in your industry — or a related one — who does.
Be on the lookout for companies and organizations that have some relation to what your business does, even if it’s small. For example, assume you sell running shoes. You could target local athletic groups, gyms, or companies that sell exercise equipment.
Collaboration can be as simple or complex as you make it. If you don’t want to go too deep, you could just agree to cross-post each other’s content to your feeds. That can help both of you attract new followers you wouldn’t have reached alone.
If you’d like to go further, you’ll need to work out a collaboration strategy so that everyone knows what to expect and nobody gets hurt.
Everybody Loves Free Stuff
Want a really fast way to get people engaged with your social media? Try a giveaway!
If your business sells something cool, offering it as a free giveaway prize will grab your users’ attention in no time. They’ll probably even share the giveaway with their friends, which can translate to more followers and subscribers.
Even if your business doesn’t sell anything you could give away, you have other options. Remember my point about collaboration? If you’re working with another company or organization, maybe they’ll agree to give something away on your page — if your relationship is strong enough, that is. But you’ll likely need to return the favor in the future. Still, with the boost to your engagement, the trade-off is well worth it.
To send your engagement through the roof, you can’t just give your prize to the first person asking. You need to make it interesting!
Try giving users a prompt and asking them to answer it if they want to enter your contest. Prompt ideas include:
- What would you do with this product if you won?
- What’s your favorite way to use this product?
- Share your best story about [something relevant to your industry].
You can choose the response you like best or select the winner randomly to keep things fair.
Get Started on Your Social Media Engagement Plan Today
By now, I hope you have a better idea of how to boost social media engagement on Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform of your choice. If you take away one piece of advice, let it be this: Regularly publish great content your target audience loves. Do that, and you’re well on your way to a social media engagement strategy that will pay you back in spades.