In an age when businesses are utilizing social media as their primary (and sometimes only) tool for marketing, it can be disheartening to see a sudden drop in marketing effectiveness. Three months ago, your brand’s social posts were hitting thousands of people and receiving hundreds of comments, but suddenly (overnight it seems), you count yourself lucky to see even half of that level of engagement.
For one, social platforms continue to throttle back organic reach, meaning they’re putting your post in front of less and less of your following. Another factor? More brands are producing more content. More content means more clutter, and more clutter means that it takes more work for your content to be seen in the marketplace.
In order to earn more social engagement, your social media marketing strategy needs to include tactics for counteracting these reach-strangling factors. We’ve laid out four seven tips to help your brand drive more engagement on social media.
That’s right, we’ve updated this post with even more ways to boost social media engagement in 2022!
Four Ways to Improve Social Media Engagement
1) Give Your Post A “Boost”
The easy way to get more engagement? Pay to get your social media post in front of more people! Facebook has a blue “Boost Post” button and by clicking that button, you can push your message to reach a wider, targeted demographic.
Boosting your post involves a bit more than just clicking a button. Spend some time fine-tuning your brand message to best hit the desired target audience. Boosting, when done correctly and efficiently, often results in an increase in your organic reach.
Keep in mind the cost. At the end of the day, it’s your credit card getting charged for these boosted engagements.
For brands that are looking for additional ways to earn social engagement without paying for it, here are a couple additional ways to earn those sacred engagements.
2) Content that Captures: Video
Much like an episode of America’s Funniest Videos, a key to building your social media impact is to provide your audience with content that makes them stop and watch. According to Animoto (2015), your audience quadruples when you put a video in front of them as opposed to text. TechCrunch tells us that in 2016, over 100 million hours of video are watched daily on Facebook alone. 50% of internet users are turning to videos to research a product or service before they venture to a store and 4 out of 5 customers look at demonstrative videos as a help in making a decision.
Keep in mind, video content is not limited to specific industries. If your brand involves the best cheeseburgers on the East Coast – make a mouth-watering video that has all of your customers craving one of your cheeseburgers. Does your brand install HVAC systems in the Mid-Atlantic? Create a short video of one of your sales reps cooling themselves off in front of an AC unit.
Pro Tip: If you can’t showcase the product, showcase the benefit of the product.
Videos on social media are also easy for your fans to share. Keep the video clever, clear and quick (30 seconds or less) with a high entertainment value. A short but memorable video with a clear message will improve your social media bang. Videos are also favored by Facebook and other social platforms algorithms, putting your brand in the de facto top spot.
3) Micro-influencers Are Better Than Micro-Managers
What is a micro-influencer? Simply put, a micro-influencer is a believer in your product or service that has a small(ish) following of their own. The micro-influencer encourages everyone they know to go to you. Again, you can find micro-influencers in almost any industry. If your company manufactures snowboards, your new best friend should be a snowboarding instructor who will use and promote your product to all of his/her snowboarding students. Think Under Armour: Kevin Plank initially turned to his friends, not celebrities, to wear and promote his brand. These athletes spread the word and turned a small business that was run out of the trunk of Plank’s car into a multi-million dollar company that outfits everyone from professional athletes to babies and soccer moms.
It wouldn’t have been possible without those early believers who were willing to convince everyone they knew that Under Armour had a product worth trying.
When you think about your brand, think about the real people who might be willing to promote it. Your micro-influencer might only reach a couple thousand people, but those people will buy in at a higher level of commitment to your brand because of the personal referral.
4) Fan Advocacy With Your Everyday Fan
According to the 2016 Nielsen Harris Poll, 82% of Americans seek recommendations from friends and family before making a purchase. 67% of those polled said they are more likely to make a purchase if it was recommended by someone they know on social media. 88% of those people said they really like having an incentive to share. An astounding 95% of 18-34-year-olds polled are motivated by those same incentives. This is where Fan Advocacy comes into play.
Fan Advocacy allows your customers to work for you. Your most loyal customers have already bought into your brand and likely have already spread some of the word for you. Create a program that encourages your social media fans to shout their love for your brand from the rooftops and get rewarded in the process. Encourage the shares, likes and personal referrals and capitalize on that 88-95% of the population who want to be incentivized to share your brand. People like being rewarded, and rewards can be a great motivator for spreading your good word.
Starting a Fan Advocacy program can seem daunting, especially if you are unsure of your demographic. SocialToaster published a Fan Advocacy 101 article that covers some easy ways to convert your fan base into your brand advocates.
The best kind of advocacy is organic in nature. Your fans embrace your brand and run with it – without any kind of reward from you. (Think about the latest Apple iPhone release and the lines around the block at your local cell phone store. This is a perfect example of the organic brand advocate.)
5) Engage With Your Audience
If you’re treating your social media profiles as a megaphone – you’re doing it wrong.
If you want your audience to engage with your posts, you need first to show that you’re willing to engage with them. How? By responding to comments!
Foster a conversation in your post stream by :
- Asking follow-up question to audience comments.
- Thanking fans for their comments.
- Providing additional value/insights to build off their comments.
Be sure to address your commentor directly, either by using their first name or tagging them in your response.
The more active you are in your community, the more likely your fans will engage in future posts. It’s a bit of a fly-wheel. The more active you are conversing with your audience, the easier it becomes to drive engagement on future posts.
This brings us to our next point…
6) Ask For The Engagement
Too many brands assume that because the post is on social media, it’s an open invitation for their audience to engage with it.
The reality? Most of your audience (any audience really) will only take action when you ask them to. Sure, they might Like your post. But, if you want to encourage comments, shares, and other reactions – you need to give direction in your post.
Here are a couple of our favorite post calls-to-action:
- Ask a question in your post, then encourage responses.
- Request that certain portions of your audience (say those that have purchased your product in the past 30 days) share your posts
- Have people vote their opinion using emojis
- Include a comment conversation topic to foster a specific conversation in your post stream
7) Post Consistently
A consistent posting cadence is critical to driving engagement. Sure, post creative is important. As is the frequency of your posts, but if your current posting strategy is akin to “whenever I feel like it,” you’ll never achieve peak post engagement.
Having lulls between your content posts is a clear sign to your audience that you aren’t active on a specific platform. If you’re not willing to be engaged on your Facebook or Instagram profile, neither will your audience.
This doesn’t mean that you have to post every day, or even every other day, but it does mean you need to post on a regular cadence.
Train your audience when to expect your posts. Then leverage all of the above best practices to drive engagement.
Additional Bonus Tips to Drive Post Engagement
Did you think that was all of our advice for driving post engagement? We’re closing out this posts with a lightning round of tactics and tricks:
- Leverage the new post formats that have been introduced across the social landscape – Stories, Reels, etc.
- Show the human side of your brand – even if you’re a B2B company, there’s no reason to be stuffy.
- Use emoji’s in your posts! The smile face emoji can improve engagement by 25%. The grimacing emoticon can increase post interaction by 138%.
- Run contests and sweepstakes – maybe using the award-winning SocialToaster platform.
- Track performance, experiment, optimize, and improve your strategy over time.
SocialToaster Helps Improve Social Media Engagement
A satisfied customer is a happy customer – but a loyal customer will bring more customers to your door. Engaging your customers through social media will keep them interested in your brand and have your brand message be top-of-mind with your targeted audience.
Building an organic advocacy base is a SocialToaster specialty, so don’t feel like the task is overwhelming or daunting. If you have any questions, or want to get started, give us a shout! Request a free demo or call or email us today and one of our advocacy strategists can help create an engagement-driving program that is customized to suit your needs.