Engagement is one of the most important ways by which you can measure your social media marketing. It tells you how your content is being received and it can help attract new faces to your accounts.
Engagement includes any likes, comments, shares, or reactions that people have to your content. While likes and comments can be considered vanity metrics, they can still be useful in telling the algorithm to push your content out to more people.
If you’re trying to grow your audience or increase awareness of your brand, it is essential to monitor engagement. A trap that people fall into is focusing too much on engagement tactics that don’t work, like following random people hoping for a follow back, or commenting and liking random posts.
Some people even buy followers, which ultimately has the opposite effect and hurts their engagement. This is often a waste of time, and the limited engagement growth that might occur is fleeting and poor quality. 97 Switch explains 5 ways that you can actually increase your social media engagement.
Don’t Just Sell
One mistake that a lot of people make on social media is focusing too much on selling their services or products. While it is important that your audience knows what you can do for them, no one wants to follow or engage with a bunch of ads.
It’s important to find a balance between promoting your business and providing value to your followers. Some have suggested that an 80/20 rule should be followed, with 80% of your content being value-based and 20% of your content selling your product or service.
What is considered valuable can vary depending on who your audience is, so it’s helpful to analyze what types of your content have performed well in the past and learn what to post in the future? You can always ask your audience what they want to see as well. Remember that valuable content should be entertaining, educational, or motivational.
GoPro’s social media does a great job of entertaining and providing value to its audience, leading to exceptional engagement. GoPro is a company that sells durable cameras built for adventure, including being waterproof.
They focus on videos that are out of the box and people enjoy seeing the interesting videos on their feed. Their posts are also educational by giving advice in the captions that explain how some of the videos were taken. By doing this, they are providing their audience with more than just ads, instead offering an account that they actually enjoy engaging with.
Follow the Trends
Trends are a great way to get discovered by new people on social media. When you post using trending music, hashtag, or meme, it is more likely to be shared with new audience members. It also is more likely to show up on discovery pages as it relates to other content that certain users are interested in.
Trends aren’t just dances from TikTok or funny photos though. Trends can include anything that relates to news and events going on in the world or conversations being had on social media. Posting content that relates to what people are experiencing in real life can cause them to feel emotion, which can lead to more engagement.
However, being creative when following trends is essential. People don’t want to see the exact same thing over and over again. Making a trend your own and relating it to your industry makes it something worth sharing and talking about. Creating this conversation is how you increase engagement.
One trend that is not going away any time soon is short-form video content. In fact, the average engagement rate for short-form videos is 53.9%. What started on TikTok is now spreading, as Instagram introduced Reels and continues to emphasize and reward using the new video features.
Make Your Brand Personal
While algorithms can be hard to crack, there’s one thing that we know for sure. Social media encourages social interactions. People feel a lot more comfortable and connected to a company when they see a person behind it. Creating relationships with people is essential to encourage engagement.
One easy way to do this is to show faces in your videos, feeds, and stories. Showing more than just well-thought-out graphics and product photos can create a human connection.
A study found that 86% of people prefer an authentic brand with personality over a brand that seems distant from customers. Don’t be afraid to show mistakes you’ve made and your authenticity when planning your social media calendar.
Dude Wipes is a very relatable and authentic brand. They sell flushable wet wipes for at-home and on-the-go use. They talk about unpleasant subjects on their social media channels, but they make it relatable to everyone and use humor and wit to make it interesting.
They are also experts at using content from their fans on their own page, therefore putting more faces and relationships into play.
You don’t have to target the same audience as they do, but taking a book from their page on how to appear relatable and create authentic relationships could be a great way to increase your engagement.
Post at Optimal Times
Every company has different optimal times to post its content. It all depends on who your target audience is and when they are active on social media. For example, a businessman who works a 9-5 job will probably be most active during his lunch break or after he gets home from work.
You should also think about the optimal days to post. Some brands would see the best results on the weekends, and others would be better off posting during the work week.
While the purely chronological feeds have for a large part disappeared, algorithms still take time into account when ranking posts. Posting when your audience isn’t active means that your content most likely won’t be at the top of their feed, so they will be less likely to see and engage with it.
This is why it’s important to define a target audience and a buyer persona for your business.
A business in the restaurant industry, for example, would be smart to post in the late afternoon on a Friday. This is because that’s when most people are probably making their weekend dinner plans.
This same strategy wouldn’t be as successful for a company involved in business-to-business sales, as all of its target audience would be getting off of work for the weekend. By the time Monday rolls around, they will have forgotten about the post they saw on Friday, or they won’t even have seen the post.
You can find the optimal time for you by looking at audience analytics on your social media accounts. It will tell you when your followers are the most active, and therefore when you should post.
While each account has its own optimal posting time based on the audience, there are studies about when the best time to post generally falls. It might also take some experimentation to figure out what time works best for you.
Engage with Your Audience
Finally, if you want your audience to engage with your content, you should first engage with them. When going about this, it’s important to be authentic and genuine. Interacting with your potential audience will help you get discovered and encourage them to engage back with you.
Instagram and Facebook have created stickers to use in stories that are gold mines for engagement. Sliders, polls, and questions can be asked in a way that’s quick to engage with and easy to respond to. Using these stickers and asking questions encourages a conversation. When people respond, you should genuinely interact with them.
Another way to engage with your audience is by including a call to action at the end of your captions that literally tells your audience what you want them to do.
Saying things like “share this post with someone you’d go on vacation with” or “ comment on your favorite ice cream flavor” gives them clear instructions and ways to engage with you.
One company that utilizes calls to action and engagement stickers every day is Crumbl. This is a company that sells specialty cookies with a rotating weekly menu in stores across the country, as well as offering catering and shipping.
They have an excellent social media strategy, but what sets them apart from others is that they have a strong relationship with their followers and customers. Crumbl is always asking for feedback and showing that they’re listening and interested.
They use strong calls to action in most of their posts, and the engagement rates show it.
The Importance of Engagement
While your engagement rates aren’t going to skyrocket overnight, they can be improved slowly and steadily. Utilizing these techniques is a great way to grow your business on social media, and they can be implemented right away.
One must be cautious to not allow engagement to take up more than its fair share of time as well. Creating quality content is still more important than spending hours a day obsessing over engagement.
The bottom line is that engagement doesn’t have to be a mystery if you listen to your customers and be authentic.