The first social media website is said to have been created in 1997; it was called SixDegrees.com. But it wasn’t until 2003, with the creation of MySpace, that things started to rocket. By 2005, it had one million active users – a record for that time. I bet the 90s generation remember MySpace well; it was the place to be at the time!
Fast forward to 2020, and wow! The market evolved quickly since the early 2000s! It’s now part of our daily lives whether we want it or not, changing the way we interact with one another, with businesses and even how we consume the news.
According to a report by Statista, around 3.6 billion people are using social media worldwide in 2020. This number is expected to increase to 4.4 billion by 2025 as social media penetrates regions that are developing their digital markets.
The most popular social media platform is Facebook, with 2.5 billion monthly active users. Now there’s Instagram, Tik Tok, What’s App, Youtube and the list goes on.
If you are a social media user, a marketer or a business owner, by now you must know that this isn’t only about the number. It’s about engagement. The way we engage is different for each social media platform. It can be a comment, a reshare, a tag, a referral or doing a live video where you interact with your audience.
Engagement shows that your followers are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. It improves relationships and helps build customer loyalty. Not to mention that it’s a great way to grow and strengthen your branding. It’s all about your business’s added value!
We go into this in our article B is for Branding.
“The face of your business is your brand — it denotes who you are and the promise you seek to deliver. When a customer sees or hears from you, your brand and identity should evoke the same kind of feeling.”
What better way to do that than through social media? It’s every business’s shop window!
💡 Oh, and if you’re looking to push further and figure out your business’s purpose, have you stopped to think about the Golden Circle?
Some reports show that increased engagement is also linked to increased sales. The more engaged your followers are to your brand, the more likely they are to make a purchase. Even if they do not directly purchase, they can help spread the word and contribute to growing your community. Of course, you shouldn’t settle for a small number of followers or likes and focus only about engagement. It’s by promoting engagement and interacting with your community that you’ll get those numbers to go up!
So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that companies invest a lot of resources on increasing engagement. For those that are just starting their social media adventure, don’t panic! This is not an impossible task, and you don’t need to spend a ton of money! It’s actually an excellent way for you to grow your business alongside your social media presence.
Below you’ll find some tips on how to boost engagement, create a community around your brand and make sure you’re making the best of what these platforms can offer your business.
How to Boost Social Media Engagement
To put things simply: an engaged following is an audience that knows, likes and trusts you (or your brand). That, at its core, is how you can successfully help fuel sales through these channels.
Know Your Audience and Define Your Goal
Build a community around your business by engaging with your audience. First things first, you must know who they are (it’s all about the demographics!). This will be crucial in the next steps of your social media strategy.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- What’s your audience’s average age? Set the tone accordingly.
- Is your audience mostly male or female? Tailor your messages accordingly if needed, but don’t forget about your brand’s identity.
- What content has been having the most engagement so far? Identify the posts that have had the most engagement and work from there.
Next step? Define your goal.
Does your current age group make sense or do you want to reach another out to another one? If your audience is mostly female, ask yourself if this is line with your products and if it’s worth reaching out to the opposite gender. Remember, it’s all about trial and error. Once you’ve tried out different types of posts, identify the ones that worked the best and then adapt your strategy.
Define your goal according to what you want to achieve and your market. Your tools are what you know about your audience. Don’t overdo it, set the bar too high if you’re beginning. Plan to grow incrementally. Decide how many platforms you’re going to use. Remember to focus on one or two, so you don’t spread yourself thin.
Tailor your content to your audience
Now, you must be asking yourself: What content should I post? It’s crucial to post material that’s informative, shareable, and interesting to your audience. It must be relevant to your page, ‘in demand’ and it should work towards achieving your goals.
Content can be in the form of videos, articles, images, statistics and many more. The type of content you share depends on the platform you’re using.
💡Re-sharing content is also great as it helps build credibility. But we’ll talk more about that below.
According to reports, social media posts that contain images and videos tend to generate more engagement than posts that only contain text. Facebook is a great platform for videos, with users watching 100 million hours of video every single day. Meanwhile, on Twitter, 82% of users watch videos.
If you’re thinking of taking a step further, consider going live and interacting with your followers. Particularly since the global pandemic, this has become a great way not only improve engagement but also to strengthen relationships and add value to your business.
💡 Be aware of the time you publish your content! Every social media platform gives you analytics about your account. Check out when your audience is the most active and try to post during that time. For example, user activity can be higher in the morning. Most likely, your followers are commuting to work or just starting their days.
Give Your Page a Voice and Be Consistent
Your followers should have a reason to follow your page and stay engaged.
>> Read all about the importance of the Golden Circle here!
It might be a good idea to consider your social media profile as an entity and give it a voice of its own. Everything from the tone of your post to the hashtags is of importance. Be consistent in all your posts and remain active.
What are some of the best practices in building a voice?
🖋️ Do not spam your page by posting too much. Pages that post more than thrice a day tend to see a 50 percent drop in engagement per post. Be quick to respond to comments and DMs and make sure to post at least once a day. (add best practices)
🖋️ Reshare content and make partnerships. This is a great way to compliment your strategy. Associating your brand with other pages and people will add value to your business and give you credibility. Sharing content will also help establish you as a source of information, thus creating a link to your audience.
Remember, your audience is drowning in information! Share with them valuable content, and in turn, they’ll trust you. They’ll trust you to do a better job at finding and sharing information that they want to see better than an algorithm.
💡 This is what marketers call content curation, a vital tool in their strategy. And it’s a way for you to show that you know your audience and understand their needs.
Use Statistics to your Favor
Make sure to keep an eye on the numbers to know how you’re performing. As mentioned, most platforms offer engagement analytics, but you can also turn to paid analytical tools if you wish. Track your performance, so you know what’s working, and what’s not!
They can provide vital details, including top posts, the best time to publish, and trending hashtags. Use this data to adapt your strategy.
Another way to use statistics in your favor, particularly if you’re new to this world, is to know what users like. A quick tour online will tell you that:
- Using emoticons increases comments by 33%
- 35% of users like a page so they can participate in contests (this is particular for Facebook)
- Shorter posts get more interaction! Text with less than 250 characters can mean 60% more engagement
🚀 Stats are the key to unlocking your social media presence!
Don’t forget about the Call to Action! (CTAs)
Sometimes, users need to know what you want them to do, so do not hesitate in asking for likes, shares, and comments. However, make sure not to force people to do something.
Your followers should feel proud to be a part of your community. Make it sound like sharing your posts will benefit them or those around you.
I,e: “Share this post and let others know how to stay safe.” is a better CTA than “share this post to make us popular.”
Make Use of Social Media Tools
There are hundreds of paid and free social media tools out there that can perform a variety of tasks, including automatic posting, generating reports, finding hot topics, and comparing performance.
Some of our favorite tools include Hootsuite, Canva, Buffer, Sniply, and SEMRush. They all do different jobs. Some are meant to improve posts, and some are designed to make maintenance easier.
Try getting your hands on a mix of tools and seeing which one works best for you. Also, if you are present on multiple social media accounts, then make sure to use an automation tool that can manage them all. But remember: don’t spread yourself thin! Pick the best social media platform for your business!
That’s it! These are the main tips that you need to know to increase social media engagement. It’s what we do here; the key lies in defining a voice for your brand, staying active, keeping an eye on stats, and making posts that can genuinely interest your audience. However, remember that results don’t appear overnight, be consistent and true to your value!