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How to Engage Customers on Social Media

December 06, 2021   /   by  Roger West

Social media engagement is a measure of how people are interacting with your accounts and content across social media channels. Most social platforms use several ways to track engagement, such as likes, shares, comments, or reactions to your various posts. Social media engagement is important for many businesses because it can impact advertising effectiveness and improve brand awareness.

The more engaged people are with your posts, the better your chances are of making them aware of your products and services. Social media is an opportunity to get your brand’s message out to existing and potential customers in a way that feels personal and authentic rather than a sales pitch.

It’s important to remember that not all engagement is equal. Sure, you might be able to juice your social media engagement by posting cute cat videos every day, but unless you’re a pet store or an animal clinic, that engagement probably isn’t going to do much to grow your business. What’s worse, shamelessly pursuing engagement by any means necessary can actively harm your brand. The challenge is to generate engagement by people who are interested in your brand and might eventually become (or already are) customers.

So, how do you make sure the people you want are engaging with your social media posts? Let’s take a closer look at a few strategies.

How to Increase Social Media Engagement in 12 Easy Steps

Here are a few ways to increase engagement across your social media channels.

1. Make Sure You Have a Strategy
Before you do anything on social media, it's important to create a clear-cut social media marketing strategy. You’ll need to decide which channels you want to use for engagement with your followers, then figure out what types of messages you'll post on each one. In order to determine the most appropriate channel for your campaign, identify which one aligns more closely with your target demographic in terms of active users. If you’re primarily a B2C company, for instance, most of your strategy will probably focus on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For B2B companies, LinkedIn is also an important platform and probably where you’ll want to focus most of your attention since that’s where your customers are probably most active. You may want to add additional platforms to the mix that match your company's interest and audience, but don’t take on so many that you pull attention away from your most effective channels.

Think about how your company wants to come across and craft the perfect personality for your brand. Setting up a spreadsheet can be helpful because it will keep your efforts organized when you have multiple campaigns running.

2. Use Engaging Images or Videos in Your Posts
Visual content tends to get more social media engagement than plain text posts, so use videos and photos strategically for better results. As we’ve already mentioned, you’ll want to make sure the images you share are related to your business or what you’re promoting. If you’re hosting an event, for example, your updates leading up to the date might include photos from previous events or current shots of the venue. As you get closer to the date, take advantage of using engaging visuals with messages about how excited you are about the upcoming event.

If you have design resources available, you can also create graphics with short messages that can be shared across your social networks. Again, make sure that you’re sharing images and videos that are appropriate for your business and your brand. That meme you just shared with a coworker over Teams might be funny, but it probably doesn’t belong on your company’s social media posts.

3. Ask Questions in Your Posts
A great way to increase social media engagement is by posing a question to your audience within the post. For example, you could ask your followers how they feel about a particular topic or if they have any tips to share with others. These questions are perfect for encouraging debate and discussion on social media, which not only increases engagement but also keeps your audience coming back to hear what you have to say next.

Another benefit of this social media engagement strategy is that it encourages people who might not otherwise engage with your company's posts to interact. Instead of simply scrolling by, they might jump into the conversation to share their thoughts or reply to a comment.

Of course, it's important not only to solicit responses but also to respond appropriately when people do answer. Don’t get defensive if someone makes a negative comment about your business. Thanks to screen captures, bad social media behavior can live on even after a poorly conceived reply is deleted. Always be on your best behavior and engage with people as if you were speaking face to face.

4. Create Contests, Giveaways, and Events Around Your Posts
Another strategy for increasing social media engagement is to create events around your content. You can do this in several ways, such as holding giveaways or contests where the winners are randomly selected based on who liked or commented on a specific post.

Or you could create an event around an update by planning to release new information only at certain times, announcing it ahead of time via social media, so people know when to tune in. For example, if you're hosting a webinar, make sure to remind them of the upcoming event multiple times leading up to it so there are plenty of people watching when it starts. Then post a replay of the information that was shared after it wraps.

5. Provide a Call to Action…
Calls to action are a must-have for increasing social media engagement, and you should always include one in your posts if you want your audience to take the next step and convert. This could be signing up for your company's newsletter, learning more about a product or service, redeeming a coupon code, or anything else you might ask of potential followers.

6. …But Don’t Be Too Promotional
While it's important to include calls to action in your posts, you should refrain from posting nothing but sales pitches as this can have a negative effect on engagement. People have come to expect this type of messaging when they see promotions on social media, and if that's all you offer, then they're going to tune out and ignore your posts completely. Instead of simply promoting your products and services directly, try creating blog posts or videos about topics related to what you sell. Think about how your offerings tie into current events or how they can make people’s lives easier rather than providing bland information without any context.

Remember, people generally don’t want to hear about you or even your brand. They’re interested in the things your products or services help them do and the problems you help them solve. If you sell camping equipment, for instance, you don’t want to lead with technical specifications about a tent, but rather with how the right tent will improve the camping experience. By offering valuable information instead of just pitching your offerings, you'll increase social media engagement because people will want to keep up with the conversation rather than tuning it out.

7. Don’t Just Post Links
A good way to kill your social media engagement is to simply post a link without any context. In some cases, social media platforms don’t provide a preview of the destination page, leaving nothing but a simple URL. If people don’t know what the link leads to or what it’s about, they’re unlikely to look twice at it, much less click on it. Even if the social media channel does provide a preview image for the link, viewers might interpret it as an ad and skip over it as they’re scrolling for useful or interesting information.

It's important to create an engaging post that also contains a link to the content you're promoting. For example, if your company is posting a link to a blog article, try including a quote from the piece as part of your post and then follow up with something like "Click here to check it out!" This way, users will still get valuable information even if they don’t end up converting on the link.

8. Use Hashtags Strategically
People love finding relevant conversations by following hashtags on social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram, so it's a great strategy for increasing social media engagement. In fact, using the right hashtags can bring your business to the attention of people who might not otherwise see your content.

However, you need to be sure you’re using hashtags strategically. Don’t just post a long list of irrelevant ones simply to get into as many feeds as possible. Using unrelated hashtags not only annoys people and discourages them from engaging with your posts, but also probably isn’t getting you in front of the right audience anyway.

If possible, create a spreadsheet that contains all the hashtags you plan to use and then match them with each update based on what they're about. This will help ensure that your posts remain relevant to the people following those hashtags.

9. Be a Human Being
Businesses often struggle to use social media effectively because they're too robotic in their posts. They forget that when people follow companies on social channels, it's because they like what they do and want to hear about what's happening behind the scenes.

It's important for businesses to be relatable by engaging in genuine conversations with customers and showing personality. For some companies, this might mean posting fun photos or videos of employees to show your workplace culture. Other companies may want to highlight their commitment to the community by highlighting their charitable efforts. The important thing is to show that there are actual people behind the company and that your social media account isn’t being managed by some soulless promotional algorithm.

10. Be Active and Consistent
One relatively easy way to increase social media engagement is to simply be active on the channels you use. Post-high-quality updates, respond to mentions and direct messages quickly, and engage in conversations with interested users no matter who they are. The more interactions you have with people, the more likely they will return for future posts, so you must constantly be posting new things and responding as soon as possible. Many social media platforms also prioritize this form of interactive engagement in their algorithms. If you regularly respond to people who engage with your account, your posts will usually wind up being shown to a wider audience.

Developing and sticking to a posting routine can be challenging if you don’t schedule your content ahead of time. Create a social media calendar that tracks what you plan to post on each channel (and when) so you can be both consistent and strategic about your content.

11. Use a Social Media Management Tool
When you're working with multiple channels, posting unique content for each one can be confusing without the right tools. Social media management software allows you to schedule your posts ahead of time so that they appear at the right times without having to manually post them on each account. These platforms also make it easier to monitor mentions and respond to people quickly so you can maintain strong communication across all channels.

The big advantage of social media management platforms is that they automate the actual management of your online presence so you can spend more time planning your social media content strategy. Rather than spending time each day posting content, you can devote time to developing and scheduling future posts that will improve engagement.

12. Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
When it comes to marketing, it’s always a good idea for businesses to experiment a bit. This is especially true of social media, which is always changing as companies make tweaks to their platforms’ algorithms and features. Try posting on different channels and see which one generates the most interactions, then focus on that one. You may also want to test out different formats for your updates, such as videos, images, and quotes from blog posts.

What you post on social media will always depend on your business, but there are plenty of ways to generate more interaction with people, so don't be afraid to try something new. Revisit your strategy frequently to reassess where you’re focusing your resources. Just because one social media platform didn’t do much for you a year ago doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results now. At the same time, if you’re experiencing diminishing engagement on a channel, try to determine whether the decline is due to a change in the platform or a case of your content missing the mark with audiences.

In Summary

With the right strategy in place, it should be easy for your business to increase social media engagement. However, it's important to note that not every strategy works for every business, so you may need to experiment until you see the results you want.

Be strategic about which channels you use and how often, create content relevant to your customers, and brainstorm ways to make interactions more personal. It may take some time to figure out what works best, but in the end, your efforts will pay off when your business sees an uptick in conversions.

If you need some guidance on developing a social media engagement strategy that moves the needle, we’re ready to help you get started.
Roger West Creative + Code

Roger West Creative & Code is a full-service digital marketing agency that helps companies build brands, generate leads, and keep customers inspired and engaged. The agency provides a dynamic environment for marketing pros to innovate and team up with clients to drive traffic to vibrant places and send messages that pack a punch.