There is no doubt that social media plays an intricate part in the lives of many people. In fact, there are more than 2.3 billion active social media accounts in the world. This means that more than 30 percent of the world’s population is using sites like Facebook and Twitter regularly.
Think about it, that’s almost one in every three people you see walking down the street. If you walk into a crowded room at a party, there’s a good chance that one-third of the people may be sharing it on Facebook the next day.
Because so many people are flocking to these types of sites, many businesses are investing in social media marketing. According to Adweek, as many as 91 percent of these companies are using at least two social profiles to engage a wider audience.
However, it takes more than just having a social profile to get people to follow your company or like a blog post. In fact, it may take a great deal of effort in order to succeed at social marketing. Below are more than 21 tips of how you can boost social media engagement while improving your brand’s online reputation.
1. Keep the Updates Coming
While you don’t want to flood your social profile with posts that may annoy your target audience, it’s important to keep the updates coming. More people trust a brand that is active on social media.
But when are the best times to post your updates? Well, that depends on two major factors: your industry and the social media channel. For instance, QuickSprout shows how Facebook posts in general do better on Thursdays and Fridays. According to CoSchedule, Wednesdays are peak moments for those on Twitter especially at 3:00pm depending on the time zone of your audience.
These are based on averages across multiple industries. Tools such as Fanpage Karma can be very helpful determining the best time to post your own content. It may also help to take a look at analytical tools inside each social channel. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all have this capability.
2. Know the Length of Your Posts
Studies show that certain lengths in specific social channels perform better. According to Buffer, a widely popular social marketing platform, keying your posts to specifics can be very beneficial.
For instance, Tweets between 71 and 100 characters have a 17 percent higher engagement rate. Facebook posts with approximately 40 characters are 86 percent more likely to engage fans as opposed to longer pieces. The most popular YouTube videos are less than three minutes long.
Keep a record of how your social shares are constructed. You might see a pattern in your own pieces that can give you the most engaging material for your specific brand. Include everything from the length of your titles to the number of characters in your posts and descriptions.
3. Add Images
According to WebDAM, social posts that include imagery have a higher engagement rate by 650 percent than just plain text. From nice images in Twitter to short videos in Facebook, rich media simply performs better than a basic sentence or two.
Really, how often can you go through your Facebook feed and not see someone you know sharing a cat photo?
Images play a powerful role for humans. In fact, more than 90 percent of what we learn is through visualization. Adding a photo with a link could easily enhance your interaction with those who follow you on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
4. Emoticons and Emojis
Who would have thought that something as simple as a smiley face could increase comments on a post by 33 percent? Some believe this is a mixture of both the visual aspect mentioned before and adding the human element to posts. Emotional states can be expressed by a simple minor graphic, which can encourage interaction.
Facebook, Twitter and even SMS text marketing can all include these minor graphics. All it takes is an extra set of characters when creating your post to increase interaction by a third.
5. Join Groups and Forums
Groups and forums are a widespread method of sharing on the Internet. Facebook alone is host to millions of these pages. In fact, Facebook Groups experienced more than 25 billion “likes” within the posts on the group platform in 2015.
Virtually anyone can start a group. But keeping it maintained with regular feedback takes a bit more effort. Keep your organization active on these outlets as it will boost the connection others have with your brand.
6. Join Twitter Conversations
There are more than 313 million active users on Twitter each month. It accounts for almost 30 percent of all social media traffic on the Internet. Yet, not everyone joins in on the conversations.
Using hashtags, you can include comments within virtually any conversation. For example, using “#Health” in your message puts your text in front of everyone currently reading about “health.” The right comment in the conversation has potential to engage thousands of readers almost instantly.
This often leads to comments becoming viral.
7. Call to Action
Never underestimate the value of a good call to action. According to Adroll.com, these snippets can inspire people to click on your content in social media by almost three times.
A call to action is when you suggest to your readers to click a link, make a phone call or otherwise interact with the company. For instance, the term, “Click to get your 10% coupon today” can be considered a call to action.
Some of the best YouTube stars always suggest the viewer to, “click the subscribe button” after the video. A common practice for many businesses is to include the phrase, “Follow us on Facebook.” This is because these two terms encourage people to interact.
8. Create Awesome Blog Content
No one wakes up in the morning hoping to write a bad piece of content for their blog. However, not everyone takes the time to make it sparkle either. Use content marketing tools and analytics to create something that is “share worthy.”
The more value someone finds in your content, the more likely he or she will share it. This means you need to put out something that is special and unique.
And don’t forget to use your own sharing tools such as SproutSocial or Buffer. Tools such as these can help you share content across a wide scope of social media while saving you a lot of time.
9. Share Your Videos
Video content generates approximately 1200 percent more shares than using text and images combined. This includes everything from a short six-second clip on Vine to in-depth tutorials on YouTube and Facebook.
If you can mix in a bit of comedy, all the better. When it comes to video content, people want to be entertained as well as educated. Perhaps creating a comical “How Not To” video is your way of going viral.
10. Throw In Some Surveys
Putting a survey out for your guests to use can help engage your audience while giving you insight into their behaviors. In fact, you might be amazed by just how much data you could accumulate about those who follow your brand.
A survey puts a sense of control in the hands of your visitors. It makes people feel like they have a voice regarding the operation of your business. In a sense, they do. And a survey can be a fun way to gather information while keeping people interested in your brand.
11. Hold Contests
People are always looking for freebies and other prizes. Holding a contest in social media can easily swell the number of people who follow the account. It’s also a great way to keep those people interested in what you provide.
If you hold a regular contest, people will be more likely to stay tuned to your social media channel to see what’s coming next. As a result, the material can be shared even further expanding your reach. Sometimes a freebie can be worth its weight in digital gold when it comes to marketing.
12. Interactive Content
How often have you taken an online quiz to determine what part you would play in a bank robbery? Although you may not be planning to rob a bank in reality, this is just one example of interactive content. It’s material that changes depending on the outcome based on answers a visitor provides.
This adds a great layer of connection to your target audience. It gives them something else to do while keeping them engaged.
By the way, I’d be the get-away driver.
13. Sharing Evergreen Content
Content that is evergreen is material that doesn’t change over the passage of time. For instance, a scientific blog post about why the sky is blue can remain true for an incredibly long time.
One of the reasons why these are so effective is because they can continue to generate visitors for an extremely long period. What’s more, you can also share them periodically on social media while still offering relevant material.
It’s not uncommon for a company to share an evergreen post on Twitter from several years ago. It gives you a conversational piece that can be reused again and again each time potentially targeting new users.
14. Integrate Your Social Media
One of the more engaging aspects of social media is how well it all integrates with each other. For instance, you can create a YouTube video and share it on Facebook with a click of the mouse. This means a single piece of content can be working for you in either platform.
By the end of 2015, as many as 65 percent of adults in the United States were using at least one social networking site. This includes those who don’t necessarily have the Internet available at home.
By integrating your social accounts, you have potential to broaden your reach while engaging a portion of those individuals. Those who don’t use YouTube may not even see your amazing video unless you share it on Facebook.
15. Sharing Quotes
Quotes are among some of the most shared content on social media platforms. Many people see visuals with inspirational messages that cause them to act, share or comment. Whether you’re quoting Robert Frost or Doctor Emmet Brown from “Back to the Future,” it can all resonate deep within fans and followers on an emotional level.
This goes beyond simply making a meme. However, even some of those silly cat messages you’ll see scrolling across your Twitter feed can have a profound impact on followers. For instance, the “Hang In There” cat poster is probably one of the most pronounced visages in many offices around the globe.
16. Host an Online Event
Events are a great way to gather a group of people to interact with your brand. Webinars, Twitter chats and even Google Hangouts can all be used to engage your target audience. Make the experience fun and educational. People love the idea of walking away from an experience with memories and knowledge.
Once the event is over, don’t forget to share it on social media. If you hold a live event in person, keep the updates going on social media. Often times it’s these updates that wind up increasing the traffic to the gala.
This is one example of how social media marketing can impact a live, offline experience.
17. Show Off Your Fans
Sharing posts and photos from your fans on social sites adds an incredibly high layer of interaction. People love to be singled-out in such instances. It’s all about giving those who trust your brand the attention they crave. It may make them more likely to share and interact with your brand.
Fans and followers are not the only ones you can show off, either. A lot of companies will showcase their employees while demonstrating pride in accomplishments. Sharing this information can then work great as a way to boost morale in the workplace. It’s a bit like those “Employee of the Month” placards that some companies use to show appreciation.
18. Incentives to Share
A lot of people and businesses alike will offer incentives for people to share. For example, some people will offer more in-depth and detailed “how to” posts if an article receives a certain number of shares. Authors in Wattpad will often use this by promising to add new content as soon as a story hits a certain number of votes.
It’s a way to boost reputation while turning all of your fans into micro-marketing partners. If they share the content, they get something in return.
Many eCommerce sites will deliver discounts and coupon codes to those who share products on social media. While many people will share your content because they find it valuable, others can easily be swayed by such incentives.
19. Share More than Your Own Posts
Approximately 83.3 percent of marketers will share content from other sources. This shows that you are providing quality content no matter where you find it as a way to enhance user experience.
If you contact those third parties, they may also share your material as well. It’s kind of like sharing links to each other’s websites, only this is done through social media channels. As a result, you may reach a much wider audience in a shorter amount of time.
20. Hold an Ask-Me-Anything
People love to get to know businesses and other individuals responsible for products or services. Holding an Ask-Me-Anything may have potential to have a great turn out. This gives visitors a chance to get to know more about you or the company you work for. It’s incredibly popular on sites like Inbound.org and Reddit.
An AMA can be held in virtually any social media platform. Twitter, Facebook messages and even YouTube can all be used to host a question-and-answer forum. These work exceptionally well because of the human need to understand. It’s curiosity that drives most of these people to participate.
21. Starting a Podcast
How often have you desired having your own radio talk show when growing up? The Internet can give you that ability while further engaging an audience. In fact, Podcasts have grown quite popular over the years. Approximately one in every five people has listened to at least one Podcast in the past month.
One of the best things about starting a Podcast is that it’s relatively easy to promote and cost-efficient to set up. You may even get a few paying sponsors if you have a popular broadcast. Some website management systems like WordPress even offer plugins to make the experience easier to manage.
You didn’t think we would really stop at 21, did you? Here are a few more ways to take advantage of social media engagement.
22. Respond in a Timely Fashion
One of the reasons why people will follow a social profile is because of the interaction itself. If you respond quickly to those who comment on your posts, you keep them further engaged and interested in the brand.
If you don’t respond to your fans or followers, it shows that you’re not really interested in their comments. This could hurt your reputation on the Internet. In fact, that’s the whole premise of this form of engagement: being social.
23. Social Issues
Approximately 69 percent of people who share social issues do so to feel more connected with the world around them. It also helps to demonstrate that a brand can care about situations around the globe. For example, many companies who are going green will share eco-friendly content as a way to show the company cares about the environment.
This can also be a great way to help out charitable organizations by bringing attention to the cause. It “humanizes” the company while breaking free from the stereotype of a “faceless corporation.”
24. Be Conversational
Remember, the primary element of social media is the word, “social.” This means you want to be more conversational in your tone when addressing fans and followers.
This also helps demonstrate that the brand is operated by humans. Humor, intellect and interactivity all play into how your brand is viewed online. You don’t want your responses to be robotic or lifeless. Add some pizzazz to your comments and inspire others to do the same.
27. Go beyond Yes or No
Yes or no questions can essentially end a conversation. You want to be personal and keep the interactions going. This means you’ll need to ask questions that are open-ended. It forces someone to actually put thought into the answer.
For example, you could ask, “Do you like green eggs and ham?” Or, you could ask, “How do you feel about green eggs and ham?”
Do you see the difference there? One can be answered with a quick, single-word response while the other requires more detail.
Social media marketing doesn’t mean you create a profile and forget about it. Most people online want more of an interpersonal connection with the brands they trust. In reality, it can be one of the most influential parts of customer service. Get more out of the experience and put social media to work for you.