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How to increase engagement on Social Media

Social media marketing is increasingly valuable in 2020.

Building relationships through social media and engaging with audiences is increasingly helpful for small, local businesses and global, international businesses alike.

It is very easy to treat social media like a box ticking exercise. Posting links or images without any thought or meaning as to why we are on social media in the first place.

If you start putting your audience first, engaging with them and building your relationship, you will be able to increase the reactions that you want. Generating leads, boosting brand awareness, and improving customer experiences will all become more natural through social media.

Making a concerted effort to measure, adapt and increase social media engagement is essential for businesses who want to take control of their marketing efforts.

In this blog I'd like to take you through:

  • What is social media engagement?

  • Why businesses need to engage with audiences on social media?

  • How to increase social media engagement

What is social media engagement?

Social media engagement is defined as any interaction from your audience through your social media account.

These interactions can include:

  • Likes

  • Follows

  • Shares

  • Comments

  • Retweets

  • Click-throughs

  • Direct Messages

  • Link Clicks

  • Donations, Poll Votes, Story Mentions and more...

There are many other metrics for the range of social media channels that classify as engagement. For Youtube there are likes, Reddit there are Upvotes, you can react on Facebook and like on Instagram too.

Why businesses need to engage with audiences on social media?

If you think of your relationship with your audience on social media as a conversation, many businesses shout their message out to their followers. Posting about their new products, blogs or trying to get their audience to do what they want.

Engagement is the audience's response to your message. It is their chance to let you know whether they liked or disliked that message. It is their voice in your conversation.

When your audience has their say it is imperative to listen and react to that response.

As you react and respond to what your audience is saying, the conversation becomes more valuable to both parties and you can start to build trust.

After all, businesses are targeting real people. If you have real conversations with your audience, you can build your relationship with them.

On social media you can see these conversations through many different ways, through many different avenues.

Likes, mentions and shares are great ways to spot your audiences reaction to content. Comments give an instantaneous, verbal reaction to your content too, where you can see, first hand their (sometimes) honest response.

Their are many tools on different social media channels that give more information. for example Facebook have now introduced reactions, where you can not only like a post but you can share your response with an emoji. Showing anger, sadness, laughter etc can give businesses valuable insight.

The re-sharing of posts, tweets or images with mentions are a great way for social media accounts to reach their audiences audience. Boosting reach massively.

With a myriad of social media channels now on offer to audiences, there is now so many ways for audience to engage with social media.

This conversation isn't just B2C companies. B2B companies can have conversations too!

Professional social media sites such as LinkedIn can help businesses build their relationships with other businesses too. Showing off partnerships and collaborations is a great way to expand reach.

How to increase social media engagement

Starting with a plan for boosting social media engagement and increasing your conversation with your audience is essential.

Creating a social media engagement plan can give direction to your messages and can help you build the type conversations you'd like to have with your audience.

I have split this social media engagement plan down in to 8 steps. You may recognise the structure of these 8 steps from my other blog 2 Examples of Great Marketing Campaigns in Ilkley or in my eBook that I co-wrote The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Strategy for Start-ups and Small Businesses eBook. These 8 steps are essentially the foundation for every marketing strategy, no matter the channel.

These will work when creating email marketing campaigns, website marketing strategy and of course social media engagement plans. And more!

These 8 steps will help give more direction and thought behind your social media engagement strategy and help businesses take control of their engagement.

Step 1. Set Goals

Really go into specific detail about your goals with social media engagement. Take a look at your overall business goals and your marketing goals to ensure that you are creating the right conversation.

If you are looking to increase your reach throughout social media to boost market awareness, focusing on mentions and shares will help get your page in front of new audiences.

Step 2. Outline Your Audience

Explore what your audience likes and dislikes. Take a look at your previous posts and see which have gained the most engagement but then also look at other pages too. If your competitors are doing a campaign which is getting great engagement, think about why your audience is attracted to that.

Taking a deeper look into your buyer personas and exploring how your audience has their conversation, you can learn to talk in their language.

For example, if you are selling beauty products to a young female audience, the likelihood that they spend most of their time on Instagram is very high. Their tendency to share a product they love on their page, whether on their stories or on a post can mean that increasing your activity on Instagram is a very good idea.

Step 3. Build Your Platforms

Ensure that your social media platforms are the best they can be and that they lend themselves to the engagement that you want.

If you are looking for your audience to shop now through the shop now button on your Facebook page, editing your cover photo to highlight that button might be a sensible idea.

Step 4. Create Content

Content is one of the largest parts of boosting engagement with your audience and is one of the biggest on-going worries for businesses trying to improve their social media channels.

I have broken down my top 3 tips and advice for improving social media content to encourage engagement here:

  • Keep topical - Keep up to date with your environment, news and what is trending.

  • Mix up the media - Don't just post the same type of images for every post, use videos, polls, podcasts to engage your audience.

  • Its not all about you - Treat your followers like a community, they don't want sales-y posts all the time. Share good news stories from your local area, inspirational or motivational posts or user generated content.

Step 5. Engage With Your Audience

Respond and react to your audience. Reply to questions that they ask on twitter, respond to comments on your Instagram posts and follow up with enquiries on Facebook.

Letting your audience know that you are reactive and that you will reply if they reach out to you will boost your audiences trust in you and will make them more likely to engage with you again.

Step 6. Convert That Engagement

Through these micro-conversations that you have, the small conversations with each customer, there is sometimes an opportunity to convert.

Whether that is encouraging someone to book a demonstration instead of buy straight away, offering samples or after replying to a customer service enquiry, offering a discount code as a thank you are all great ways to encourage conversion through engagement.

Step 7. Re-Convert and Re-Engage

Inspiring your audience to share their experience after they have converted or engaged previously can help increase your reach and give prospects an insight into your business.

Customers who are willing to re-purchase are the best customers to have.

An audience who consistently engages are more likely to become customers again in the future and share their experiences, which is great for your channel and business.

Step 8. Analyse, Adapt and Grow

Take a look back, see what worked and what didn't and how you could do better next time, and do more of it.

As we've said, engagement is all about having a conversation with your audience. As the conversation ebbs and flows, so too will your content.

Keep your finger on the pulse and adapt your messages to what your audience are saying or doing.

Mastering social media engagement

Mastering social media and boosting your social media engagement will pay dividends in the long run.

I know first hand the impact that social media can have on businesses, large and small.

If you are getting started on your social media journey or need a hand getting it to the level you would like, then get in touch with me and together we can build your social media engagement.

I am marketing expert in Ilkley, West Yorkshire and have managed social media channels for some of the largest brands in the UK.


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