Don’t you get frustrated that after all that effort on social media, your Facebook post or Instagram photo doesn’t get a bunch of likes and at least 1 retweet or reshare?
Engagement is not just a satisfactory conclusion to your social media marketing effort but it’s the currency that will make or break your social marketing.
Zero or low engagement? Your page/profile is as good as dead and you’re not reaching enough people to make social media marketing worth it.
First Facebook, then Twitter and Pinterest… and now Instagram. Everyone – every single social media – follows the same pattern of problems that creep up in their social platforms.
When there’s a brand new social platform, not a lot of people are posting on it so your posts will be seen by everyone that follows you. 100% reach.
But then, more people join, more content is produced.
Every new social media channel faces the same problem: too much content.
When there’s so much content, you start missing content that was posted several hours ago.
Every social platform tries to solve this problem by creating algorithms so you are shown what’s most relevant to you and what’s most interesting to you.
Every social media channel solves this problem of too-much-content by reducing what you see, selectively.
And it solves it the same way: only some content is shown to the user.
What happens next is this: what you post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. only a small portion of your fans and followers. On Facebook, this number is about 4%. Bad, ain’t it?
Instagram is the most-popular example right now: went from a show-everything-you-post to show-only-engaging-content.
The recent change in Instagram means you can no longer reach a lot of people – unless your posts generate a lot of engagement.
It’s the same case on Facebook or Pinterest (or any other social platform you want to set foot on).
The ultimate key to social media marketing success is this: engagement.
So here’s the truth that can save us all when we try to promote our businesses on social media. Try to get engagement from our fans. Try to get our fans to respond to our posts and we win.
What’s engagement, by the way?
Engagement comes in a variety of forms: likes, shares, comments, favorites, mentions, tagged etc.
Different platforms have different values for engagement (for instance, Facebook might value a like much less than Instagram valuing a favorite). But from what we’ve learnt, all platforms value engagement as the key to letting your content show up on more of your fans’ newsfeed.
Only engaged posts get shown to your fans and followers. Only a highly-engaged page gets to reach a lot of its fans for free. Everyone else fails.
All your social media effort rests on how much engagement you get on your posts. So it’s time to pause your social efforts and think this through.
Here are 33 ways to get more engagement on your social posts.
1. Ask questions
Posts that end with a question garner more replies / comments than posts that don’t. Use this to drive up engagement on your social channel.
Make your questions specific. Don’t just go with “What do you think?” because that’s overused and we are all used to ignoring it now.
2. Do A.M.As
Your fans have a ton of questions to ask – about your brand, about your product, about your industry and so on. Do an Ask-Me-Anything to help them. This drives engagement up through the roof.
An Ask-me-anything (AMA) is where you let people ask you any questions they might have and you answer every one of them (as much as it’s possible).
Reddit AMAs are extremely popular. But other social channels are catching up and becoming popular hangouts for AMAs.
3. Promote customer’s content
Got a customer using your product and posting about it on social media? Re-share/retweet/repost their social post and tag them (and thank them!).
User-generated content has always played a big role in helping businesses become very popular. Do you know why?
Because when you share a photo posted by your customer, you are connecting at a personal level – and they feel that connection. “OMG! This seller I bought from just reshared my photo!” is a powerful, positive emotion for anyone.
4. Tap the trends
Post on what’s trending (bonus points if you can tie it up with your brand / offering) and you’ll be able to increase engagement for free and for very little effort.
Current trends are powerful when you use them in your social posts. That’s because everyone is tuned in to the latest, trending thing that’s happening in the world and has an opinion about it to share.
5. Engage with people who use relevant #hashtags
Reply, retweet or favorite posts made by other people (not just your fans) who use #hashtags relevant to your market.
Use #hashtags to track and find out people who are using them. They are most likely your target market and engaging with them live promotes your brand like no other.
And then, this engagement leads to replies and other engagement from these folks you just engaged with.
6. Track and engage with people using social search (keywords)
Use social search to find and engage (like, share, comment etc.) with people who show interests in your niche.
Social media search is a very powerful, underused technique of finding potential customers and fans.
Just search for something related to your niche, and like/reply to all the posts that show up (and are relevant to your niche). Offering helpful suggestions, ideas etc. also earns your business credibility.
7. Respond to brand mentions real quick
Use a good tool to track mentions and respond to them quickly. Quick responses generate higher engagement.
When someone tweets to you or mentions your shop’s name, be there to track it, know about it and reply to it ASAP.
The irony of social media is that customers don’t want to interact with brands but they do want lightning-quick replies to their queries.
8. Promote someone else’s content and credit them appropriately
Share content from other people and @mention or +tag them correctly. They notice you, engage with you – and help your engagement go up.
You’ve heard experts talk about content curation and share other people’s content. Hack this: whenever you share a content from an external source – say a product from another seller or an interesting article – credit the source and the author explicitly (@mention them) so they get notified!
People and businesses that have been mentioned/tagged like/retweet you – increasing your engagement.
9. Be socially aware and responsible
You can’t fake social awareness and charity but ask yourself what’s the greater good that you believe in and post about these. You’ll connect better.
Social awareness, goodwill and responsibility towards social causes helps people associate with your business better because of shared values and ethos.
10. Run giveaways and contest often
Giveaways and contests get people to engage with you easily and increase your social reach.
Get people to like or favorite or reply or share your social media post in order to win a contest or a giveaway. This is an easy way to increase engagement on your social posts.
11. Curate lists and tag all sources
People love lists of things. And when you start with a list and tag people in it, you get an engagement spike like nothing else.
This is #8 on steroids.
You can create a collage of 8-10 items (from various sellers). Or you can create a list of articles (DIYs etc.) from various sources. Let your imagination fly, get ideas from a variety of sources and compile them.
Then, tag all the sources.
12. Hijack trending #hashtags
Trending #hashtags are trending for a reason – lots of engagement. Try to find out ways to use them in your social posts. Guaranteed engagement boost.
Make sure you don’t force a connection with your brand/niche and a hashtag that’s trending. People know.
13. Answer queries from people on social media
People ask a lot of questions on Twitter and Facebook. Search for and answer them.
14. Use the fear of missing out
F.O.M.O gets people to act – to click mostly – and you can use this to increase click-throughs.
Post something that’s going out of stock or a discount that’s expiring soon and people are wont to click.
15. Use GIFs
Want to engage with millennials? Try GIFs – they’re funny, contextual and convey a lot through popular memes.
Pictures are worth a thousand words and videos are worth a thousand pictures. A GIF falls smack in the middle of a picture and a video – best of both worlds.
When businesses use GIFs, it shows a lighter, humanizing side that makes people connect instantly. That makes people want to engage with your posts more.
16. Call for ideas, inputs and feedback
Your fans (and others) love to talk about their ideas on what you should do next (or how your product looks). Ask for it and ye shall be given. (Driving engagement up).
Asking for feedback on your product (or a work-in-progress) is a great way to include your customers (and fans) into your creative process. People love to be part of something creative.
Do this often to get fans to engage with your social profile a lot.
17. Be funny and humorous
Humor is known to increase engagement by leaps.
Of all the emotions, humor connects easily and quickly with your fans. Use this to get your fans to like or share your posts more often.
18. Do surveys and polls (with some offer)
Twitter polls and Facebook surveys are one of the easiest ways to get your fans to engage with your posts.
Even though surveys are old, you can spice it up by mixing current trends, feedback on upcoming products and so on to get people to respond to the survey / poll.
19. Join Twitter chats
Participate in Twitter chats frequently not just to boost followers but to increase engagement and reach.
Twitter chats are where many people come and share their ideas / thoughts on a particular topic – and they do this with a specific #hashtag so everyone can just search for the hashtag and follow the chat.
Find Twitter chats related to your industry. And if you can’t find any, host a new Twitter chat yourself.
20. Share customer reviews and mention / tag the customer
Use customer reviews to your advantage by sharing them on social media. Tag the customer so they know – and this also increases engagement.
First off, customer reviews are social proof and you should use them in a variety of ways (your website, product page, social media, videos etc.).
Secondly, you should use them to drive up engagement (by posting your reviews on social media and tagging the customer who reviewed you).
21. Find and follow relevant people all the time
Following new, relevant people gets your brand in front of more new fans who will engage.
22. Use emoticons
Everyone understands emojis. And they add a big human element to your posts, which is responsible for driving up engagement.
The language of our world is now emoticons. Your fans will connect with your posts when you speak their language. Emoticons tell that there’s a real human behind your social media posts and it’s not some disconnected, robot tweeting out stuff.
23. Be ready for holidays and seasonal events
Holidays and seasonal events are trends. Tap these too to increase your engagement levels.
This is an aside to tapping the trends. People are primed to engage during holidays and seasons. Toss in an offer, or a giveaway in these times and you’ll be able to leverage a lot.
24. Thank your followers
Followers who don’t respond to your informative posts often engage when you show your gratitude.
25. Post at the right time
Optimize and schedule all your social posts for times when most of your fans are active and online.
It’s super-important to know when your fans are most active on social media. And it’s not very hard to find out what the best times are.
Posting at optimal times helps you reach more people and get more engagement easily.
26. Always include “Call-to-action”
CTAs get people to click or do the action that’s mentioned. Use them wisely.
If you want people to click-through (a click is also an engagement; the best of all so to speak), just ask them to.
“Click the link to grab this now” or “Click here to buy now:” often drives more clicks than posts without this explicit call-to-action.
27. Ask to “Tag a friend”
This is a super-hack. When you ask people to tag their friends, they really do. It follows from the previous CTA tip.
Ask to tag a friend: “Tag a friend who you’ll like to gift this!”
Or: “Who do you think of when you see this? Tag them.”
Post things that connect with people and encourage them to tag their friends.
When your fans tag their friends, your post not only gets more engagement but your brand is exposed to more people.
28. Use location tags
Locations play a big role in discovery and engagement – use them in your posts and tweets.
Social platforms take location into account when they show posts to people. If you’re in D.C and you tag the location whenever you post something, more of your D.C fans will get to see your post.
29. Use really great, high-quality photos
Relevant, optimized and high-quality photos are must-haves for at least 3 major social channels (and posts with images get more engagement).
We know that photos get more likes, favorites, retweets or other forms of engagement.
While this is not a hard thing to do, I’ve noticed sellers often post low-quality images on social media.
This is bad because Facebook, Twitter etc. try to compress the photo you post (which makes the quality go down).
30. Ask people to engage – explicitly
Use keywords like “Retweet this” or “Share this” or “Like if you…”. This is proven to get people to do what you ask them to do.
Ask explicitly: “Like if you agree.”
Put a call-to-action: “Share if this happens with you!”
Make people comment: “Tell us what you think of it in the comments!”
31. Use shoutouts to thank and start a conversation
Initiate conversations and increase engagement through shoutouts to other people or sellers.
Shoutouts show you care about relationships and you care about being reciprocative. And shoutouts start conversations that increase engagement on your social profiles.
32. Promote on other channels
Get more fans to join and engage on all your social channels by cross-promoting your profile on all channels.
One big mistake that online sellers do (when trying to promote on social media) is assuming that your Pinterest/Facebook profile will grow on its own.
No. You have to market your channel too to get more fans and more engagement on your social channel.
33. Partner with other popular people + influencers
Reach more fans + get more engagement by being featured by influencers and other sellers.
Influencer marketing is huge. Try to reach out to influencers, other sellers with a lot of followers etc. and connect with them. It may not immediately result in a partnership or cross-promotional deal but it will help in the long-run.
The Only Mantra for Social Media Success
The only mantra that can help you make sense of any social media effort you put in is engagement. Go out there, apply any of these 33 things you just learnt and let your engagement rates go up.
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