Of the 7.2 billion people on earth, 3 billion have Internet access; 2.1 billion are active on social media; and 1.7 billion use social networks from a mobile device.
Eighty-one percent of small and medium-sized businesses use social media today because they recognize its importance.
While many businesses use social media, a lot of them struggle to get engagement.
Engagement is an essential thing any company should strive for on social media. It indicates prospects like you.
And when prospects like you, it becomes easier to convert them into customers.
What is social media engagement?
Businesses struggle to get engagement on social media because they do not know what it means in the first place.
Social media engagement isn’t interacting with a single customer on social media.
It is building a relationship with all your customers over a long period of time.
For example, think about people you’ve met in real life.
You tend to trust someone you’ve known for months or years than someone you met yesterday, last week or month. Social media works much like that.
Don’t forget that social media is where people connect, associate with each other, and share content just like we do offline.
For example, see how WeWork, a company that provides shared office spaces in cities and countries all over the globe, is receiving engagement on social media.
This is what social media engagement means.
When people engage with your content on social media, it shows they trust you. Anyone can use social media to build trust with prospects and customers. Karen Brody coaches married men to become better husbands. And she uses social media to reach and connect with potential clients.
35 Ways to Increase Your Social Media Engagement
Now, that you’ve known the definition of social media engagement, how can you increase yours?
In this article, I’ll be sharing 35 effective social media engagement tactics.
1. Initiate Conversation with Your Social Media Followers
One of the fastest ways to get engagement on social media is to initiate a conversation.
For example, Manchester United is a successful football (soccer) club in the United Kingdom.
See how they are initiating a conversation with their incredible fans that span across different parts of the world.
2. Mention Your Followers
Want to connect deeper with a fan and increase engagement on social media?
Mention your super-fans.
Another name for them is “Brand enthusiasts.”
These people are not only following you on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – they are also committed fans.
Mentioning them by using the “@” feature shows you recognize them.
This does not apply to business brands alone. Even personal brands (individuals) can use it.
The feeling of being recognized by a brand or an individual you follow on social media is amazing.
Make your followers feel this amazing feeling too, and watch your engagement increase.
It’s true you won’t be able to mention all your followers, but by recognizing the dedicated ones, you can definitely increase engagement.
3. Connect Content with Current Events
Your followers are real people like you.
They watch the news.
They are aware of what’s happening in the world right now. (Maybe, not all of them).
What’s happening right now?
Father’s or Mother’s Day?
Well, I’m not saying you share contents about these holidays or events.
At least, try to connect these events with the content you share.
What happens these days are on social media users’ minds and it’s important you recognize and leverage that to earn more of their trust.
Walmart does this extremely well.
4. Respond to Questions and Customer Issues
If all you do on social media is post content, you are doing it wrong.
Social media marketing is not about sharing alone.
Social media is another channel for customer service.
Digital marketers call it social service care.
According to J.D. Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service.
In fact, 92% of companies are failing when it comes to social service care.
Consumers do not only use social media as customer service channel. They also expect a fast response when they use it.
According to research cited by Jay Baer, 42% of consumers expect a response within 60 minutes.
JetBlue Airways have mastered social media as a customer service channel.
When you use social media for customer service, prospects notice it. It makes them more likely to follow you and engage with your contents on social media.
5. Ask Specific, Pointed Questions
Asking straightforward questions is the fastest way to get people talking on social media.
It’s not hard to do.
Just ask followers about something they care deeply about.
You’ll be amazed by the amount of response you will receive.
Stuart Walker does this very well on his Nichehacks Private Mastermind Group on Facebook.
No wonder Walker has such an amazing following on Facebook.
6. Do AMAs (Ask Me Anything)
Over the past few years, Reddit has remained an authority in the social media space.
Reddit may not be as big as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But trust me, the site has a loyal and dedicated following and users.
Lots of small and medium-sized businesses have sprung from Reddit.
The site receives high engagement.
One of the cool features that have kept Reddit going in the face of tough competition is their AMA sessions.
In an AMA, you can ask the person hosting the session any question.
For example, President Barack Obama did a Reddit AMA when he was running for re-election in 2012.
I can’t say this helped him won re-election. But what I can say is that the AMA helped Obama connect with a lot of voters on a personal level.
In fact, Obama is an adept user of social media.
That is very visible in the 2008 presidential campaign where Obama had more “friends” on Facebook and Myspace and more “followers” on Twitter than his opponent John McCain.
AMA is now on Twitter. They work well on Facebook too.
A marketing platform like GrowthHackers is using it.
Even Quora is using AMA to increase engagement on the site.
Gary Vaynerchuk built an amazing business just by hosting AMAs on YouTube.
No wonder he has a high engagement on social media.
7. Promote User-Generated Content to Your Fans
What are the good things customers are saying about you on social media?
Don’t repeat what they said.
Instead, promote it.
How do you do that?
You can share or retweet what a happy customer said.
Others will jump in the conversation and take it further.
Zappos does this.
8. Use Hashtags That Relate to Your Business
What is a hashtag?
It is a word or phrase that is often preceded by a hash sign (#).
Hashtags are very common on social media.
Some businesses are even creating their own hashtags.
For example, in the marketing niche, you’ll often see hashtags such as #marketing, #socialmedia and #emailmarketing.
If you are a marketing company, you’ll be using these hashtags in your posts because they relate to what you do, and prospects are also following them on various social channels.
How this boosts engagement?
People who are interested in those hashtags are more likely to engage with your posts.
And when they do, it boosts your engagement outside your following, which is a great thing.
9. Search for Users Who Use Your Hashtags and Respond to Their Tweets
It’s not a bad idea to post content with hashtags and hope people who are interested engage with it.
But if you don’t like waiting for engagement, it’s a better idea going out to communicate with people who use hashtags related to your business.
Social media is about connecting, sharing and associating with people.
You want engagement. Isn’t it?
You get what you give.
Give other people engagement so they can do the same to you.
10. Respond to Mentions
Nobody likes being ignored.
When someone mentions you, and you fail to respond, they may stop mentioning you and caring about your content because you don’t care about theirs.
Respond to people by mentioning them. That shows you care.
If you receive a lot of mentions and don’t have time to respond, at least show some response by clicking the “like” or “love” button depending on the social channel.
11. Promote Other People’s Content
Some people believe that tweeting or sharing other people’s content takes away their fans and followers from them. That’s a bad way to see things in the social world.
You are on social media to provide people with information that will help them understand and solve their problems. People come first in whatever you do on social channels.
Sharing other people’s content promotes trust and authority in the minds of your fans. It tells them that you truly care.
I ignore brands and individuals that only talk about themselves, or share content that only comes from their websites.
I tend to trust them less.
12. Post What’s Good for The Society (E.g. Charity and Help)
We like to help others in need. Most of us are attracted to those who need our help.
When all you care about is money, like persuading followers to buy your product, they can easily become tired of repeated offers.
One way to keep your social media engagement high is to post about what’s good for the society.
This can be asking for a small donation to help a good cause. People will like to be part of it.
You don’t have to be the person organizing the charity (help).
13. Organize Giveaways
Individual and business brands are organizing giveaways because they boost awareness and engagement.
Here’s an example of a perfectly organized giveaway.
14. Curate and Promote Other People’s Content
Other people care about their content as much as you care about yours.
When you promote other people’s content through content curation, they are likely to return the favor by tweeting or sharing the post with their followers.
Content curation gets more eyeballs on your content.
It also drives engagement to your social accounts, as more and more people you mentioned are talking about the post with their followers – that kind of create a buzz in the social world.
15. Use Animated GIFs
GIFs are the fastest ways to arrest anyone’s attention on social media.
They contain no sound, yet, you see some movements.
It’s another way to be humorous.
Humor has always been a core part of what people do on social media.
After a busy work day, people want to spend some time away worrying about work and social media is just the right place to do that.
It’s good to include some jokes or humor into your content.
And when you do that, make sure you include GIFs too.
16. Ask for Feedback
Social media has become the best place to test run anything these days.
Want to test a product idea and get feedback?
Social media is the right place to do that.
People always want to be part of something you are doing.
Want to a/b test a headline and ask for feedback?
Social media is the best place to do that too.
For example, Buffer is currently using social media to test almost everything. That act alone is boosting their engagement.
17. Do Surveys and Polls
Polls let you learn about your social media followers.
Keep in mind that the more you learn about your followers, the more you know about them.
And the more you know about them, the better your posts will resonate with them.
Your engagement increase when your posts resonate better with your social media followers.
For example, Walmart is constantly polling their followers on social media.
Social media users like participating in polls.
18. Participate in Twitter Chats
On Twitter chats, users meet at a shared time to discuss issues that are relevant to them.
Twitter chats are very effective for increasing your followers and engagement.
It helps you build deep connections with people partaking in the chat.
Here’s an example of a Twitter chat where I am a regular participant.
19. Share Customers Reviews and Emails
If you have a happy customer who shared something positive about your company on a review site or email, you can capture the testimonial and share it with your fans on social media.
This increases trust in your business and gets people talking.
20. Regularly Follow Relevant and Active People in Your Industry
His engagement and traffic increased too.
What he did was very simple:
He followed relevant and active people in his industry.
You can do it too.
Start following active people in your industry and be active.
21. Use Emojis to Show Humanity
You have a short time to say what you have to say on social media.
There isn’t enough space, and you’ve got to say it real quick without losing meaning behind the message.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a social media KING. He has mastered how to use emojis.
Emojis help you say less and increase engagement.
22. Show Gratitude to Fans
Find ways to thank fans.
The real social media masters do this a lot.
Show fans that they mean a lot to you.
The more you connect with people on social media, the more they are likely to do the same in return.
23. Find the Best Time to Post Depending on When Your Fans Are Online
It’s important you are posting when the majority of your fans are online because that’s when most of them are likely to see your posts.
People can only engage when they see your updates.
Posting when fans are busy is a bad social media strategy.
First, it’s important to know which time zone you want to work with.
If most of your fans are based in the United States, you may want to work with the Eastern or Central time zones because they contain 80% of the U.S. population.
That doesn’t mean you should not be posting when people in Pacific and Mountain time zones are most active.
What it means is that you’ll be working around the Eastern and Central time zones more.
Study the time when most fans engage with your posts.
Numerous studies have been conducted on the best times to post on social media.
For example, on Twitter, if you are a B2C, the best time to post is 12 PM, 3 PM and 5-6 PM.
Posts from B2C businesses tend to perform 17% better on weekends.
And updates from B2B businesses do better during business hours.
24. Use A Call-To Action
Tell people the next step to take in a social update.
At least, give them clues of what to do next if you can’t say it.
People are likely to engage when you ask.
25. Share Photo Posts
Visuals are making the biggest impact on social media right now.
Take this finding, for example:
“When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.”
Web users love visuals.
In fact, content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.
If you are looking for the best way to increase social media engagement, you’ve found it: images.
26. Ask People to Retweet or Share
Here’s another part of the CTA rule.
There’s nothing bad in asking for a retweet.
In fact, people are more likely to retweet when you ask for it.
Believe in the old saying:
“Just ask, and you will receive.”
27. Shout Out to Amazing Content Creators
There are people who regularly produce high-quality content in your niche.
Who are these people?
Except you don’t know your niche very well, you should be able to mention them.
You should be developing a strong relationship with these people because they’ve built a massive and active following through their good work.
By developing strong bonds with them, you’ll get noticed and be able to get a share of their following. You’ll tap into their engagement too.
28. Cross Promote Your Social Profiles
We live in a very small world.
The people who are on Facebook are also on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and so on. Though, one platform will always be bigger than the other.
Also, each social channel has its own distinct demographic.
Cross-promoting your profiles help followers quickly recognize you on other social channels and start engaging with you there.
29. Partner with Popular Brands
Who are the top brands in your industry?
When you collaborate with the top brands, you are able to tap into their following and engagement.
They promote you on their social profiles. Those mentions mean a lot as they can increase your engagement.
30. Use Social Media Management Tools
You need the right tools to get more out of social media.
Social media can be overwhelming, especially when you are running a business profile.
Sharing other people’s content, creating images for social media, following people and a lot more can quickly stress you out.
But with the right tools, you can achieve more with less effort in less time.
The good thing is there are also social media engagement tools.
I am a big fan of Buffer.
Buffer helps you manage your social media activities from a single dashboard.
Our own CrazyEngage does a better job when it comes to social media engagement.
CrazyEngage helps you grow your social media followers and engagement without being annoying. In fact, we also build your email list.
31. Monitor Mentions (Both Tagged and Untagged)
It’s not everyone who mentions you on social media will use a # sign.
For example, this is an untagged mention of McDonald’s and IKEA:
Responding to mentions like this help you win the customer for life and they are likely to engage with your future posts as a result.
32. Get Your Employees on Social Media
Social media shouldn’t be left to the marketing department.
Your employees across the board should be involved in your social media activities too.
Everyone breathe and live social media. Employees shouldn’t be excluded.
Customers want to know the views and opinions of your employees.
Do they believe in your message and brand?
For example, a company like HubSpot. They make sure their employees are involved on social media.
Michael Pici is the director of sales at HubSpot.
How this boosts engagement?
Potential customers can see that your company is real with employees who are proud to be working at your organization. That builds trust and breeds engagement.
33. Set the Expectation on Social Media
The Royal Dutch Airlines set customer expectation with their social media engagement strategy.
With such a perfectly-crafted social profile like this, customers are likely to engage with them.
Let customers know how long they should wait to receive a response from you on social media. And keep that promise.
34. Write Captivating Headlines for Social Media
People don’t click boring headlines on social media.
Writing interesting headlines is the only way to catch people’s attention on social media.
Headlines are worth 90% of the advertising dollar.
It’s the first thing social media users see.
You’ve got to make it so tempting that people can’t wait to click.
Spend more time writing the best headlines for content you create.
Good headlines receive more engagement.
I use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to measure the effectiveness of my headlines.
35. Be Active on Social Media
Very serious about increasing engagement on social media?
Be extremely active.
Post content on a regular basis.
Follow active social media users.
Retweet and re-share other people’s content.
Join trending conversations.
And help a lot of people on social media, every day.
The secret to social media is hard work, dedication, and consistency.