How To Increase Social Media Engagement & Grow Your Audience

Written by Laura Roeder

On May 10, 2020

. Here’s a recent Edgar Live on how to increase social media engagement and grow your audience on social channels.

 

What is Social Media Engagement?

Social media engagement is when your customers or potential customers interact with your content on social media platforms.

Likes, comments, shares, reposts of your brand’s content, as well as mentions and tags of your business, are all forms of social media engagement. Any interaction someone takes with your social media profiles counts as engagement.

The more engagement you have, the more the algorithm will favor your profiles.

The Importance of Social Media Engagement

Engagement and meaningful social interaction help the algorithm recognize you are providing information of value to your audience. If you are a business that’s not engaging with your customers or producing content that prompts them to engage with you, you’re missing a huge opportunity for your business to grow and gain new followers.

You want your existing followers to trust you and to become raving brand advocates. When you have that human-to-human connection and people have a conversation and talk back to you on social media, it becomes a place they bond with your brand.

If you have had extremely low engagement during this time, you’re not alone; sometimes, you have to pivot your strategy a little.

If your main goal is social media engagement, you need to create content with a clear call to action. This will encourage your followers to interact with your brand and become loyal customers.

Let’s take a look at some social media engagement strategies.

How to Increase Social Media Engagement

Focus on Doing Less Better

social media engagement tip

You want to create space for what matters most, and that’s making meaningful connections and conversations with your followers.

Successful engagement is all about being relevant and current. You don’t have to rigidly stick to posting content on your stream that you had planned out for the entire quarter. You can produce content right now that is strictly related to what’s resonating in people’s lives and make space for engaging with people in real-time.

Perhaps your sales might drop; perhaps the social media landscape is changing. This doesn’t have to affect the amount you engage your audience. You’re controlling what you can control, and you’re doing the things you can do right now to boost engagement.

Get in the Right Mindset

Social media gives you this incredible opportunity to engage directly with your followers.

It’s not, “Oh, I have to go post on social media,” it’s “I get to go post on social media, and I get to go talk to people who my product or service can help serve.” Having that mindset creates a social media space where your energy can truly be felt by your followers on the other side of the screen.

social media engagement mindset

If you’re writing social media status updates from a place and a mindset of serving your community, you’re going to get more robust results. It’s not about closing a sale on social media; it’s about opening up an opportunity for someone to have a better life with your product or service.

When you flip the script like that, it becomes so much easier to promote your product or service and sell it to people who need it. Make sure you are opening up a conversation so people can self-select into knowing the opportunity to use your product or service is exciting for them.

Beat The Algorithm With Engagement

Why is engagement on social media is so important? Take a look at these numbers:

  • The lifespan of an Instagram post on average is 21 hours.
  • A Facebook post has a shelf life of 5 hours.
  • A Tweet will only last 18 minutes

These statistics can be a bit discouraging and sometimes get us thinking, “Why am I producing this content if it’s going to have such a short-lived time?”

Well, the good news is you can improve these numbers through engagement.

If people are engaging with your content by commenting and sharing, the algorithm reactivates that post and shows it to a bigger pool of your followers.

Each post is tested in a small pool of followers; if it gets great engagement, that’s a signal to the algorithm that, “This is relevant content for the people who are following this page; let’s show it to more people.”

Remember, social networks want to keep the user on Facebook; they want to keep someone scrolling on Twitter.

If the algorithm recognizes people are having a discussion and being social because it’s social media, after all, it is going to give a little bit more love to that post. Then, those numbers, those abysmal numbers on the lifespan of a post, will be improved.

Create Audience Personas

If you don’t have an audience persona, and you don’t know who exactly you’re talking to, it’s going to be hard to get engagement online.

Think about it, if you’re having a conversation with someone in real life and you’re not taking into account who they are and why you’re having that conversation, it’s not going to go that well. It’s the same way on social media.

You need to ask yourself, “What am I saying, to whom, why am I saying it, and in what way?

Every single post should have a lens filter with these questions in mind. This will help you create consistency on your social media feeds. People get excited knowing that content was created just for them.

Whoever aligns the best with customers these days is going to win attention on social media. You must sit down and write out your ideal audiences.

Give them a character, so a name, an age, qualities, what interests and motivates them. If you have a clear idea of who you are targeting, you will create engaging questions for social media.

social media engagement basics

Create a Content Map

Make a content map to improve your social media engagement strategy. Plan out what you want people to do with each post. What is your call to action for each post? Do you want likes, comments, mentions, or shares?

Vary the types of posts you create across social media platforms. For example, a poll to spark conversation can work well on Twitter, a video on Facebook, and a beautiful image with a thoughtful caption on Instagram.

Our attention spans are so short on social media. If we’re not super clear about the direction our content is leading people, it gets tough for our followers to guess the type of engagement we want.

Are you someone who is categorizing your social media status updates? Try to make sure you think about how these categories fit together in your audience’s day.

See what you can do to help them move from getting a productivity tip in the morning, perhaps. At lunchtime, encourage them to read one of your blog posts. In the evening, they may have more time to answer one of your engagement questions. Move throughout their day with them with the content that you’re creating. Map out their day and map out how your content will fit into each of their days.

This can be fun if you have Post-it Notes that you can stick all over your wall and create this journey visually.

Often, we can just whizz past it, thinking, “Of course, content is king; I just need to create more content.” But we need to step back and zone in on these things here to increase engagement.
 


 

Where Are Your Customers Hanging Out?

Watch what your followers do on social networks. Go into your Facebook Insights and see the other pages that they like.

Check Twitter Analytics and see what other interests they have. This is a goldmine for information about who they are.

Suppose you’ve never used the Insights in Facebook or your Analytics in Twitter. There’s a plethora of information because we aren’t going to force our followers to consume content they don’t want to consume. That’s not what social media is all about; social media’s all about giving them content they’re excited to consume.

Go and see what they are talking about on their profiles.

If someone follows you on Instagram, click on their handle, go to their profile to see what they do and what they’re interested in. Use the language that they’re using to talk about their day and pain points and consider their life experiences to resonate with that content.

Go to where they are, research them on that granular level, and use these insights when developing your audience persona.

Find Your Followers, Don’t Wait For Them To Come To You

Go to your followers and don’t expect them to come to you. Engage in Facebook groups, make your brand name known. Offer so much value in the comments of an Instagram post to someone who might be asking a question that it piques their interest to click on your handle and go over to your profile.

Search hashtags on Twitter or on the Instagram Explore feature. Which hashtags are your ideal clients using?

If I were to hop onto the Instagram Explore feature and I wanted to look for some research on the audience for MeetEdgar, which is small business owners, I’m not going to type in “Social media automation tool,” which is what we are.

I’m going to type in “Marketing tips for small businesses” or something like that, “#MarketingTips,” is going to show me people who are that audience group, rather than just hashtagging my tool. You want to find the hashtags your audience search for.

Everybody likes to build relationships with people and brands who actively reply and comment on posts.

Research icebreaker questions and interview questions online, you can get hundreds of questions that you can go ahead and add to your MeetEdgar library using our bulk import feature.

Or post them directly to social media if you’re not using a scheduler. Remember these questions asking people what their favorite book is or where they traveled to last might not be directly related to your product. By doing this, your followers are going to feel more of a personal connection with you.

The algorithms look for meaningful social interaction. A successful post with lots of interactions signals to the algorithm that the next post you share will also get a wide reach.

A little hack here is to share a post with one of these questions or one of these, “Oh, me too; I feel that way,” resonating moments where people will engage in conversation with you.

You want to share that post, and then the one directly after it, consider sharing one that will lead people to your site. That post will be shown to a much bigger audience portion on social media if the one before it got huge engagement rates.

how to increase engagement

Don’t post and ghost! When you’re hopping on social media, spend 10 to 20 minutes afterward on the hashtag explore page, commenting on people’s posts, looking through your comments from past posts to respond to people.

This has the added benefit that if you’re responding a few hours later, it’s another signal to the algorithm to bump that post up because it’s getting more engagement, and it’ll likely appear in other people’s feeds.

You don’t want to show up on social media as a broadcasting brand; you want to show up as an engagement brand. So you could reclaim two hours of your day by planning and using a tool like MeetEdgar.

Utilize User Generated Content

Don’t forget; you don’t have to create all your social media content yourself. You can ask your audience to do it for you. When they buy from you, remember to ask them to share a post using your product.

You can create a hashtag specific to your brand and encourage your audience to use it. It’s a great way to keep all the content for your brand organized in one space on the social platform.

Rules for Social Media Engagement: When to Post

Check what time of day your audience is online most and synchronize your scheduling with this. Your content will then have a higher chance of being seen by the right people.

Show up when your followers are online, not when it’s convenient for you to post. Don’t be afraid to automate with Edgar’s schedule. This tool allows you to choose the times you want your content to publish.

This simple automation lets you go about your day without having to stop to put social media engagement posts online.

social media engagement basics

If you don’t know when your audience is online, use your Facebook Insights.

Click on “Insights” from the top navigation menu; there’ll be a button on the left-hand side that says “Posts,” this will give you a graph to show you exactly when your followers are online.

It shows you the day and the times that they are most active, so you can start putting your time slots or start reminding yourself to post during those times.

If you don’t have a lot of data, if you’re a new brand, or if you just want to experiment, these are some aggregate numbers here of every network and when the best times to post are. Check out this post to learn the best times to post for each network.

 

Have a Call to Action and Start Conversations

Don’t just talk about your brand itself but about general topics related to your brand. Drop into conversations started by others. Talk about current trends and issues. The chances are that if you engage with others, they will engage back with you.

Ask people for their opinion on something that you’re making or something that you are working on. Use social media engagement questions to spark conversations.

For example, ask for people’s opinion on a new product you are about to launch, ask for their preferred color or which features they would like to see. If you involve your customers in the product development process, they are much more likely to stay engaged until launch.

Talk about an excellent success or a big struggle that you had this year. This is cool because you can essentially become someone’s mentor if you’re sharing your successes and your failures, and you can be that go-to person for your followers.

They’ll DM you, or they’ll post in your comments more often, asking you questions about things because they know and trust that you are an expert. Offering this personal insight is great for boosting your engagement rates.

the algorithm also recognizes your DMs; if you have more of your followers sending you direct messages, the algorithm sees that as a signal you are an authority. Make it known in your public posts that you’re open for DMs to ask questions.

social media engagement basics

The Texting Effect

This rule of engagement is pretty self-explanatory. You know when you find something online, and you want to share it with your best friend? You’re sharing it with them is because it makes you think, “This is so you.” Think about what your followers would want to share on their own social media pages.

If you want someone to share something, it has to say something about their values. This goes back to knowing your audience’s persona and who you’re talking to. You want them to look at the content on your page and say, “This is so me.” Think about what content will get your audience sharing on their wall.

This method is excellent for expanding your reach to similar people who don’t yet know about you.

If you want more engagement, conversational writing truly is the new business writing. You don’t want to write above your follower’s head using jargony terms; just use the terms you would use if you were speaking to someone sitting next to you at a dinner party.

 

Pay Attention To Your Customer’s Journey

Your audience is interacting with your brand in different ways and typically you’ll end up having audiences in three different phases.

  • The discovery and awareness phase for people who are just discovering that there’s a product or service that can solve their pain point.
  • The consideration phase for people who know that there’s a product or service out there, but they’re considering which brand to buy from, or they’re considering if it’s worth purchasing and spending the money on it.
  • The decision-making phase – when they are ready to pull out their credit card and buy because you’ve convinced them.

social media engagement basics

You need to consider creating different content to meet people in each of these phases. You don’t want only to have sales content. That’s going to miss the people who are colder leads and who need some more nurturing and education about your product or service.

  • In the discovery and awareness phase, posts are going to be things like your blog posts, your thought leadership tips, quotes, and lead magnets to capture people’s emails.
  • In the consideration phase, you want to start letting people know about your pricing page, the product itself, how it was designed, the features it, any sort of promotional deals that you might be running to give people a discount.
  • In the decision-making phase, you can create sale posts and offer coupons with an expiration date.

Attracting the right people in the discovery and awareness phase and engaging with them is essential. It will help them realize there is a human behind the brand and help them move to the consideration phase. You can then convert people in that decision-making phase. Make content for each of these phases.

Having your categories set up if you’re using software like MeetEdgar, makes it easy to think through this because you can make categories for each phase. You can then rotate through these at different cadences on your social media schedule, again making sure your content reaches each bucket of followers at the right time.

social media engagement basics

 

Have an Opinion

Everybody wants to see unique content that affirms your brand resonates with their values.

Don’t be afraid to have an opinion because you don’t want to repel some people to keep your audience broad.

By not targeting a niche, you do yourself harm. It makes your content generic, and it becomes easier for people just to pass it by. State your stance on specific topics relevant to your industry so that your audience can resonate with you.

If you want people to engage with you, be unique in the way you portray things online. If you’re the only person saying something out there about something, people are going to link back to you, and they’re going to start sharing your content..

 

Share Your Personal Experience

The best way to be unique is to share your personal experience. You are the only one out there! Share you because no one else has your story, share your story in an interesting way on social media, and people will be excited to be part of that story.

Teach what you know, and teach what you are learning. On social media, educational content is some of the most consumed content. People want to be entertained and educated more than anything. Do this in a friendly way to make sure that you’re not talking down to your followers.

You want to be on this journey of learning with them. We do this a lot here at MeetEdgar because we know that social media changes daily. We keep you up to date, but we’re also just learning along with you.

It helps make sure that we’re keeping our finger on the pulse of what our audience is going through, and it helps resonate with followers because they can see themselves in your story.

Make sure that you’re staying a few steps ahead of your followers. You don’t have to be 100% of an expert on something to teach it; you just need to be a few steps ahead of where they are.

If you’re staying a few steps ahead and sharing the learning journey you’re on, it’s going to help that content resonate. This will make it more likely that they’ll start asking questions about what you’re doing, boosting your engagement rates.

Teaching is such a cool sales strategy as well. If you’re teaching people how to do something, it becomes a great opportunity for you to say, “Oh, by the way, I’m teaching you the how and why, but you can get our product or service to do this for you.”

So you’ve given them all of the tools to do it themselves, but your product or service is something you can offer them to make their life a little bit easier.

Test Different Headlines

Headlines are just another way to promote your content. Making a headline-generating machine a part of your blog process will help your blog content skyrocket on social media.

So what is a headline-generating machine? It means once you’re done writing a blog post, you sit down, and you write 20 different potential titles and headlines for that blog post.

I’m not kidding; 20 is a great number to do this with; it sounds like a lot, but it’s not only going to let you find the best one, it’s going to let you repurpose the ones that you’re not using.

Not all your followers see the content you’re posting, and not all your followers have the opportunity to engage with that content if they do see it.

A piece of evergreen content is another strong strategy to increase engagement and traffic to your blog. Evergreen content is a piece of content that remains relevant all the time; it doesn’t matter what time of year your audience sees it.

Utilizing the different headlines you came up with adds a little variety to it because you never know what language will resonate with one segment of your audience over another. Testing different titles is the best way to see what is most effective.

For example, at MeetEdgar, we have found when we ask questions in front of our blog posts, we get a higher click-through rate. Click-through rates are a great sign of engagement.

 

Want to Learn More?

You can learn more tips and tricks for engaging social media feeds in our free course Social Brilliant! This course teaches you the exact steps our founder, Laura Roeder, used to build her brand and business on social media! Access the course for free!

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