Gone are the days when social media marketing was considered a ‘fad’. Today, it’s an integral part of any marketer’s arsenal. Social media engagement and brand awareness go hand-in-hand, but building a community of active followers who engage with your brand is not as easy as it once was. While many brands are successfully using social media to generate leads and grow their brand, others are struggling to connect with their audience.
So, how does one go about hacking social media engagement? Online users have become much more discerning in the content that they engage with. New trends emerge every day, and people’s social media preferences are constantly evolving. Keeping up can feel like a full-time job – and it often is. Many brands hire social media managers to ensure they’re building a strong following of loyal users who might ultimately turn into customers.
To reach high levels of engagement on social media, there are some tactics and strategies you can employ to encourage online interactions and get your audience involved. It’s not enough just to have a lot of followers; they need to be engaging with your brand to build that top of mind awareness and likeability. Engagement is hard work, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Here are some things you can focus on to take your social media to the next level.
What is social media engagement?
First of all, let’s define what we mean when we say ‘social media engagement’. Think of engagement as interactions with your brand and the content you’ve posted. For example:
- Reactions on Facebook posts
- Likes on YouTube videos or LinkedIn posts
- Clicks on your paid ads
- Comments and DMs (direct messages) on Instagram
- Re-pins on Pinterest
- Post saves on Instagram
- Mentions/retweets on Twitter
- Tags on Instagram
- Click-throughs to articles you’ve shared
- Post shares on Facebook or LinkedIn
- Video views on Instagram or TikTok
There are hundreds of ways for users to interact with your social media content, and your goal should always be to grow that number of engagements. Ultimately, each engagement is a customer interaction that helps to build a relationship with that person. Building and maintaining that connection is how brands grow.
Post regular updates on social media platforms
Consistency is key when it comes to hacking social media engagement. Social media is fast-paced. Consider this: more than 1,000 photos are uploaded to Instagram every second, according to 99firms. That’s a lot of content in 24 hours! It’s not enough to post once every so often and expect to generate likes, comments, and shares. With so much content passing through people’s feeds, you need to make sure your brand is present and being seen by your target audience.
Posting frequently is more likely to result in a community of loyal followers who interact with your brand. This is why it’s helpful to work with a social media calendar and prepare a schedule of posts ahead of time to ensure you’re consistently attracting attention to your profile and building brand recognition. Posting regularly builds trust because users get used to seeing your content and, by following you, actually invite it into their feed.
Host contests and giveaways
Running a contest or a giveaway is a surefire way to grow your following and reach a wider audience of potential customers. Nothing catches a user’s attention like a freebie! They’re also a great way to generate engagement. The interaction becomes the entry mechanism, for example:
- Comment on this post and tag two friends
- Like and share for a chance to win
- Share this post to your Stories for an extra entry
Every interaction with the giveaway content boosts your engagement and encourages more people to enter, exposing your brand to people who might never have come across your content otherwise.
Be authentically human
It’s easy for brands and marketers to get caught up in advertising speak, referring to “users”, “the target audience”, “consumers”, and so on. The problem with this is that we tend to forget that consumers are normal human beings, just like you and me. They’re not two-dimensional “customers” who are always in purchase mode. Consumers are not scrolling through their social media feeds to be marketed to and generally get pretty irritated by hard-sell advertising.
Consumers want to see content that’s relevant to their lives and feel like there’s a human being at the other end of the conversation, so it’s important to create content that humanises your brand and is genuinely engaging. Here are some simple things you can do to make that human connection:
- Keep your vocabulary simple
- Imagine you’re speaking to one person
- Use a friendly, conversational tone
- Share personal stories
- Use GIFs and emojis to add personality
- Speak to what you have in common
- Let people in ‘behind the scenes’
- Add in a little humour where you can
Remember, hacking social media engagement is about being social. Put the consumer ahead of your marketing goals and make sure you’re publishing content they’ll find relatable and want to engage with. People before product (or profit).
Share video content
The popularity of video content has exploded on all social media platforms. Videos are proving to be the most engaging content online, whether it’s TikTok trends, Facebook Live, short Instagram Reels, or longer YouTube creations. Video content is thriving, and it’s what you want to be focusing on if you want to reach and engage new audiences (especially younger generations).
Instagram’s algorithm promotes video more than other types of content, so your videos are more likely to be seen by people who don’t already follow you than a static image post. Start with 15-second videos before you upgrade to 30-60 second videos, and choose from the wide variety of video types to get started: how-to or explainer videos, Q&As or interviews, behind-the-scenes, teasers, product information, and anything else that’s relevant to your brand.
You could also create live videos to have real-time interactions with your audience. Live videos give people the chance to connect with you directly and get to know your business by asking questions in real-time. You can even advertise the live video ahead of time to build up the excitement so that more people log in to engage when you go live.
Increase your social media engagement
No matter what tactics you try, always keep in mind that people use social media to be entertained – they’re not going to be interested in content that’s overly promotional. Focus on making a connection and encouraging interaction by posting relatable content consistently. If you don’t have the time, consider engaging the services of a digital marketing agency that can not only create your content and prepare your content calendar, but also schedule your posts and engage with your followers.
Hacking social media engagement means understanding that social media is the new word of mouth. The more interactions you have with people, the more likely you are to build a loyal following and increase your customer base.