5 Strategies to Maximize Your Social Media Engagement
Likes are cool and all, but they won't get ya paid.
Gone are the days of mass-market advertising and one-way information flows. The world is shifting toward a more conversational, meaningful kind of advertising and many brands are engaging social influencers who are native to this. But with an almost daily announcement of yet another social platform shifting to an algorithm-driven feed, you have got to up your engagement game if you want to ensure that your content gets in front of followers’ eyes. You can no longer broadcast your content simply to be consumed--now if you even want to be seen, you must engage and be engaged. Your followers want to be heard, and if you want to stay relevant, you have to hear them. Plus, pitching unique engagement strategies to brands will make you a stronger candidate for paid content creation and brand partnerships.
So how do you increase meaningful engagement? We’ve put together a few of the top strategies that will help you stand out from the crowd. But don’t bother reading on unless you already have the basics down: (a) creating quality authentic content, particularly visual content, (b) posting at a regular cadence, and (c) promptly liking and responding to your followers’ comments. If you aren’t currently doing those things... you’ve got some groundwork to lay, my friend. If you’ve got the basics covered and want some new techniques, here are 5 strategies that will take your engagement to the next level.
1. Write captions that encourage engagement.
You can motivate your followers to do something beyond tossing you a “like” if you prompt them in an actionable way. Conduct polls on Twitter or Facebook. Crowdsource advice about what movie to see, or what new product to try, or what restaurants to visit when you’re in a particular city. Ask them interesting questions (but please, just don’t ask what their plans are for the weekend… it’s so overdone). It’s also a good practice to periodically ask your followers for feedback: what sort of content have they enjoyed, what do they want to see more or less of, what do they think is missing from your feed? Not only does this make them feel engaged and heard, but it can serve as a goldmine of inspiration as well.
2. Make yourself accessible to your audience.
It can be difficult to keep up with all of the comments and questions you receive. If this is the case, set aside some time to do live Q&A sessions for a more intimate and effective form of engagement. Your followers will appreciate you giving them your full attention for a period of time, and in the long run it’s probably more time-efficient than typing out all of your responses. Plus, your audience will love having this direct and unfiltered access to you. You can use platforms like Google Hangout, Snapchat, Facebook Live, or Twitter to host your Q&A sessions.
If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you could create a Facebook group to encourage your followers to connect with each other. The group functions like a message board, and just like Q&As, allows you to interact with your audience in a more intimate and seemingly exclusive setting than the public format of the comment section. This is a particularly strong approach if the group is exclusively for your email subscribers, or those who purchased one of your products, or those attending one of your events (online or offline). Just don’t make the group a place for people to come fangirl/fanboy about you-- it shouldn’t be about you, it should be about creating value and opportunities for your followers and building community.
3. Create games and run contests.
Gamify the engagement experience by facilitating games and contests. Here are a few ideas:
- Get your followers to flex their creative muscles. Share madlibs, trivia questions, or other word games. Or you can pull a Taco Bell and create a “coloring book” on snapchat and ask your audience to color it in then send it back to you.
- Run a caption contest: post a funny photo and say “caption this,” then give a shoutout or prize to whoever comes up with the best caption.
- Create a hashtag campaign: come up with a unique hashtag, then ask your followers to share their own photos or tweets using the hashtag. Repost your favorites with tagged credit.
- Conduct a giveaway of a product you love: ask your followers to enter the contest by tagging a friend in the comments, retweeting something, sharing a Facebook post, or posting their own content with a contest-specific hashtag. You can also ask them to answer a question in the comments to enter the giveaway-- for example if you’re giving away a jar of peanut butter, you could ask, “what’s the first thing you’re going to spread this peanut butter on?” or “what is your favorite peanut butter recipe?” You might get some weird answers but at least selecting a winner will be entertaining ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
4. Create content that inspires resharing.
Give your followers something to share with their followers, whether it’s a hilarious original meme or a beautifully designed quote. Clever memes and graphic quotes get shared like crazy. If you aren’t design savvy, you can use an application like Canva to create your shareable content. Just be sure to add your own unique watermark with your social handle to the image so that when people reshare it, it can be traced back to you.
5. Leverage current events to generate discussion and exhibit awareness.
Tap into trends and recent news to spark conversations and boost engagement. Chime in on (non-political) debates and hot topics, and ask what your followers think--people love sharing their opinions. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your responses to current events, like Oreo did in response to the Super Bowl blackout in 2013.
Engagement is one of the most important factors that brands look to when selecting ambassadors to represent them on social. You can learn more about meaningful metrics here.
Have you implemented any of these techniques? How did they go?
Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence.
I'm the Oxford comma's biggest fan.