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Increasing Engagement with Social Media

Engagement has become the favorite social media buzzword of late—to gain a return for your social media efforts, to create relationships that promote sales, to reach a wider audience, it’s all about ENGAGEMENT! Yet, many clients continually struggle with the TYPE of posts that will generate that magical word (engagement), aside from a basic promotion or coupon deal. Below are 10 ideas for posts that aim to get people liking, commenting and sharing (roughly in order from less impact to more).

1. Tag another company or user in your post. This is possibly the most basic way to expand your reach, but tagging another user on social media gets your brand in front of new eyes since all of their followers will also see your post. Ideally, the tagged will comment back, beginning the engagement circle.

2. Share an article or video. Providing information relevant to your industry and that your consumers will find valuable is a great way to engage your audience. This will help establish you as a thought leader and urge people to keep coming back to your page. Bonus Tip: Ask a question with the article or video to encourage comments. Just remember, engagement doesn’t work if you also don’t engage—you must reply to comments!

3. Focus on culture. Consumers like to know brands on a personal level, and social media makes it easier than ever to show a brand’s human side. Post behind-the-scenes photos and videos, a weekly employee spotlight, fun outings or activities your company does as a staff—anything customers may not see during regular business. Bottom Line: You’ll create more loyal followers and customers if they feel connected to your brand.

4. Become a source of information in the community. Expand your focus outside of just your brand or product. Post other local happenings in your ‘hood—fairs and events, restaurant openings, even deals other companies are offering. This plays on the idea ‘a rising tide lifts all boats;’ people feel good about supporting businesses that support their community. Plus, becoming a go-to source of information will bring you more followers too!

5. Take advantage of themed days. Throw back Thursday (#tbt), man crush Monday (#mcm), flash back Friday (#fbf) and woman crush Wednesday (#wcw) are all days with a specific theme for posts. Take advantage of these days by posting an applicable photo. Even better, create your own theme for these days. One idea is to pick a leader from your industry for man crush Monday or post personal baby pictures of employees for flash back Friday.

6. Offer an incentive for customers when they post a picture and tag your company. If a consumer is happy with their product or service, it should be an easy sell to ask them to post a picture and tag your brand. When this happens, repost the image with something like, “We love all of our awesome customers!” to your account (and of course tag them!). This is somewhat of an incentive in itself, but to really up the ante, offer an additional incentive, such as a discount on their next order. Think of this like a social referral program, by posting a picture, they are providing validation for your brand to all of their digital ‘friends’.

7. Create a repost challenge. We’ve all seen the ‘If I get 10,000 shares I’ll get a puppy’ posts, but that concept can work for any brand. Offer an incentive to the first five people to share your video or photo, or offer a small incentive to ANYONE who shares it within 24 hours. Each time your content is shared, you’ll cast a much wider net for attracting new followers. As participation increases, you can also add additional steps to qualify for the promo, like having to tag a friend in the comments or use a specific hashtag. Bonus Tip: Track the new followers you gain during that period to determine the ROI.

8. Create your own ‘DIY’ or ‘How To’ video. Videos are the Holy Grail for creating engagement right now, since they hold your audience’s attention longer than a photo or article can. Plus, your own DIY video let’s you connect with your audience at an authentic level. Aim to keep videos under five minutes to maximize conversions. Pro Tip: The more information you can provide that your audience will find valuable, the more followers you will attract and keep.

9. Create a weekly contest. This can work two-fold to create engagement and promote your brand. Create a photo contest on Instagram with a specific hashtag, have a weekly trivia contest or post an ‘I-Spy’ photo with your product hidden somewhere (even better: create a live scavenger hunt with your product as the end prize! Participants will have to provide image proof of each step completed!). Of course, contests like this work best with a freebie for the first to comment correctly or the best photo, and the better the prize the harder followers are willing to work to win. Another way to approach this—if you can gain just one new customer from a contest, what is that customer worth? That may help determine the prize value.

10. Host a live chat. If you have questions that are regularly asked, or perhaps a big upcoming event that needs some explaining, hosting a live chat across social platforms is a great way to interact with your customers and drive awareness of your social activity. For best results, determine a small window for the chat to take place (we like one hour), make sure the chat is advertised well ahead of time and someone is actively answering questions during the entire period.

And one more…since we couldn’t just stop at 10! 11. Have guest ‘takeover’ day. Ask a local celebrity (think mayor or well-known blogger) or an industry leader to post as your brand for one day. They can share photos of their day, how they’re involved with your brand, community information, just about anything goes. This can be easily planned ahead of time and will again greatly expand your reach since all of their followers will also see the posts. Aim for five to eight posts in a day from the guest.

Social media is an important source of validation in today’s digital world and therefore a necessary component to add to your marketing mix. However, it’s important to remember that the goal of social media is primarily relationship building and boosting SEO—both factors that can influence sales, but may not directly correlate to revenue. Do you have a specific question? Ask it here and a Weise wiz will send you an answer!

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