Top Ways to Increase Social Engagement
by Julie Hauck
Hardly anyone would argue that social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools in existence, but for many businesses, social engagement has been a hit-or-miss pursuit. In essence, social engagement simply means garnering some type of response from your target audience by way of likes, follows, comments, reposts, mentions, repins, retweets, etc. Engagement is proof that your audience sees and has a relationship with your brand online. So how exactly can you leverage your brand’s social platforms to boost earned media and foster more social interaction with your audience? Below are the top ways to increase social engagement.
1. Add images to your social posts.
Now more than ever, the Web is a visually-driven experience, and brands who are making the most waves are consistently publishing eye-grabbing images to accompany their social posts. According to a recent Social Intelligence Report published by Adobe, Facebook posts with images provide the highest engagement rates, nearly double that of purely text posts.
Additional research found that image-based posts resulted in higher interaction rates on both Facebook and Twitter, boosting engagement by 85% and 35%, respectively. Just keep in mind that your images must be able to grab the attention of your audience, either by telling a story, sparking a dialogue or evoking some type of emotional response. In addition, be sure to provide a variety of different types of images, including memes, photos, infographics, banners, etc.
2. One word: Video.
Video is by far the most engaging type of social interaction right now, and in terms of the growth rate of video usage on social media, there’s not even a close second. The advent of live streaming video publishing tools such as Meerkat, Periscope, and Facebook Live has completely changed the game for social media content producers, and brands who are in the know are leveraging these highly interactive platforms to engage their audiences in an entirely new way.
Keep in mind that your videos don’t have to look like they’ve been produced by a big-budget studio; the average HD camera on a smartphone can provide ample quality and resolution for your video posts. In fact, it’s almost an expected thing for live streaming videos in particular to have a somewhat raw or stripped-down look and feel. The point is to not get bogged down with too many worries about video quality; just start adding a variety of video content to your posts (e.g., how-to’s, company updates, behind-the-scenes peeks, live events, vlogs, etc.), and watch your social engagement begin to ramp up.
3. Q & A is an unbeatable format for social engagement.
The simple act of soliciting questions from your fans and followers can produce a phenomenal level of social engagement, whether it happens by way of a Q&A session on Twitter or Google Hangouts, a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), or any other similar format. Question-and-answer sessions allow your audience to learn more about your products and services, and they help create a greater sense of community around your brand.
4. Ask your audience questions!
People love sharing their opinions, so if you give them a chance to do it in a way that also includes interacting with your brand, they’ll gladly do so. Polls are one of the most popular methods being used on Facebook and Twitter, but you can also just put a question out there and see what type of response you might get. Even something as simple as asking your audience what they plan to do over the weekend can generate surprising results.
As the responses roll in, remember to like and comment on your audience’s reactions. Be careful about asking for their opinions about social or political current events, or about your business, products, or services – that may open up a can of worms in the form of incendiary remarks. Keep your questions fairly neutral and you should be fine.
As elusive as social engagement seems to be at times, it’s not impossible to master. Just design your posts in a way that is audience-focused and provides an easy way for them to interact with your brand.