Capturing your customers’ attention on social media is no easy feat. Engaging them is even harder. Data shows that users are uploading more than 300 million photos, posting 510,000 comments and 293,000 statuses, and watching 4.1 million YouTube videos each day. It’s a lot of competition, so when your audience is liking, sharing, commenting, and clicking on your content, that’s a huge compliment.
Still, your brand thrives on social media engagement. The more your customers engage, the more connected to your brand they become. Here are 10 tips to boost social media engagement and enjoy all the benefits that come with it.
1. Get to know your audience.
Who exactly are you trying to engage? That’s the first question when building your social media engagement strategy. You’ll have an easier time creating content that captures your audience’s attention if you know what they like (and why they like you).
Take advantage of AI technology that will help you get to know your audience on multiple levels. For instance, Linkfluence’s Radarly helps you conduct 24/7 consumer research to learn about your customers’ preferences, behaviors, habits, and more. Use this data to drive your content ideation strategy and create more engaging content for your audience.
2. Offer a look at your brand, not just your products.
Social media is crowded enough with product-focused content. But users also like to get to know the brand behind the products you sell. Pull back the curtain on your company by offering behind-the-scenes tours, “how it’s made” demos, or things you’re doing in your community that have nothing to do with sales.
Branded content like this helps others feel more connected to your company. They learn more about your values and see you’re not just a corporation. Patagonia excels in this area by promoting its values about sustainability and creating a better world.
Experts at Fast Company share a few ways you can humanize your brand on social media:
- Tell relatable stories about how others have experienced your brand.
- Reflect your business values in your social content.
- Be transparent about how you operate as a company.
- Speak the way your customers do and try to avoid business jargon.
Put these tips to work and watch how perceptions of your brand change for the better.
3. Respond to customer comments and reviews on social media.
Customers are increasingly engaging with brands on social media with the expectation that brands will return the favor. In fact, studies show that the majority of customers expect brands to respond to their comments and reviews within 24 hours.
If a customer comments on one of your social media posts, you can simply like their comment or briefly reply to it. If they leave a review, good or bad, you should respond to those, too.
This is especially important for negative comments and reviews, as it’s not just the person leaving the comment that cares what you have to say. A study from Bright Local found that 89% of people read a business’s responses to online reviews, and they consider your response when deciding to do business with you. This is your chance to right any wrongs, retain that customer’s business, and show anyone else who reads the comment that you care enough to ensure everyone has a great experience.
4. Discover trending topics early.
If you want to increase your chances of earning customer engagement, consider building your content around trending topics. These are topics that are already being talked about by other brands and social media users. It’s your chance to contribute to the conversation, share your unique perspective, and give your customer something they’re familiar with and can relate to.
There are lots of ways you can find trending topics in your niche. One tool is BuzzSumo, which aggregates content on social media based on keywords and the number of shares. You can also check out popular sites like BuzzFeed, Reddit, and Quora to see what others have posted recently.
A more data-driven approach is to use AI social media monitoring technology. For instance, AI solutions can scour the web for topics related to your brand or keywords of choice. It monitors a myriad of data, such as how often terms are mentioned and whether certain topics are being talked about more often. From there, you can create content ideas based on current or predicted trends.
5. Post frequently.
If you’re not posting often enough, you risk falling off your audience’s radar altogether. Instead of being in their inner circle of friends, you’re like the hermit neighbor that only comes out of hiding once a month or so. That’s not a good way to build familiarity.
So, how often should you post? That depends on the channel.
The consensus seems to be that posting once per day on Facebook is ideal. Posting more than this and you might even see a drop in engagement. For Twitter and Instagram, one to two times per day is normal. For LinkedIn, keep it anywhere from one to five times per day.
You want to strike the right balance of being visible without being annoying. Posting too much can have a negative effect on engagement. For many brands, this is something you’ll want to keep a close eye on as you “trial and error” your ideal posting frequency.
6. Offer valuable content.
No amount of posting or crafty headlines will drive engagement as much as valuable, quality content. If your audience doesn’t get something from your content, they simply won’t engage.
There are hundreds of thousands of brands advertising products on social media. To cut through the noise and reach your audience, you need to offer them something beyond advertising. Instead of only promoting product features, for example, show users why they would need your product and how it can make their lives better.
The same goes for service-based businesses. Teach your audience something useful in your content and relate it to what you offer. Even if they don’t buy from you on the spot, they’ll at least have learned something and will remember you for it.
Valuable content can take many forms, including:
- How-to and tutorial videos
- Fun facts
- Lists or listicle articles
- Plans, templates, and guides
- Best practices
Take this branded Diversity and Inclusion report from HubSpot, for example. It supports the company’s brand values and offers helpful insights to companies that have their own D/I initiatives.
The biggest thing to remember is that content for the sake of content isn’t going to cut it if you want true engagement. There’s enough filler content out there that doesn’t resonate with audiences. This makes it all the more important to put thought, care, and creativity behind your content so that you can stand out to the right person.
7. Sprinkle in some humor.
People use social media because they want to be entertained. That’s why humor — when done well — can be powerful in engaging your customers.
In general, brands have a reputation of being too serious and stuffy. They’re all business and consumers have a hard time seeing the human side of the company. Brands can change these perceptions with their social content. The rise in meme marketing is a perfect example of brands trying to connect with audiences in the same ways they communicate with friends.
Yappy uses meme marketing flawlessly. Here’s an example from its Instagram page, showing how anything is possible when you want it bad enough.
That said, humor for the sake of humor is just like creating content for the sake of content — it doesn’t work as well as authenticity. Jokes, puns, memes, and humorous stories should somehow connect to your brand. Otherwise, your attempt at humor might be lost on your audience or look like a feeble attempt at trendiness.
8. Post content to drive direct sales.
The buyer journey has undergone an extensive makeover in recent years. Customers no longer follow a predictable, linear journey that’s broken up into distinctive stages. In some cases, customers go straight from discovery to purchase in a matter of minutes.
If you sell products that customers will buy on impulse, then a sales-driven content strategy might be the perfect fit for you. Create and share content that’s designed to earn immediate sales. Demo videos combined with discounts or coupons can encourage customers to engage immediately — either by buying the product on the spot or liking or sharing the content so they can come back to it later.
9. Send direct messages when appropriate.
Not all social media engagement takes place in the public eye. Your inbox is a powerful tool for building trust and loyalty, resolving issues, and reinforcing your brand.
Here are some ways you can use direct messages (DMs) to drive engagement:
- DM your followers about a sale, special, new product launch, discount, webinar, or other valuable news.
- Connect with influencers who can promote your brand.
- Personally respond to issues, complaints, or bad reviews to raise your brand image.
DMs make your communications more personalized. They take a little extra effort on your part since you’re having one-to-one conversations instead of mass messaging your audience. But it’s little details like this that leave a lasting impression.
10. Find ways to engage authentically.
The most engaged brands tend to receive the same in return. You can spur engagement by increasing your own activity on social media. Join conversations in relevant groups or other brands’ pages. Take a stance on social issues that reflect your brand’s values. Speak about a cause that’s important to you. When you contribute to conversations in authentic ways, others are more likely to return the favor.
Empowering your customer engagement strategy with AI technology allows you to capture more opportunities to connect with your audience. To learn more about how Linkfluence supports social media engagement, get a demo.