Businesses tend to behave in two ways when it comes to social media engagement.
Either they are passersby – Businesses who grab the mic, shoutout their new products, boast their new content, and disappear from the platform just to be seen again on some fortnight – or, the ones who stay put, and engage with their audience, maintain discussions and create authentic interactions.
Which one are you? I hope the latter.
Since, social media engagement is a major proponent in increasing leads, brand awareness and generating ROIs.
Recently, SocialPilot hosted a webinar to discuss how to move the needle on social media engagement.
What Is Social Media Engagement?
Social media engagement is a two-way connection between your business and the audience. It is a long-term relationship with all channels open for advice, complaints, and interactions on social media platforms.
The first part of social media engagement starts with your quality content, where you hook your audience to interact with you on social media. When they take an action with your piece of content such as like, reply, share or DM they have ‘engaged’ with your content.
The common assessment of social media engagement can be done in the form of Comments, Click-through, Likes, Retweets, Shares, and Follows. Sam believes that “comments” counts much better when engagement is considered, we’ll discuss that later in the article.
Moreover, you should not confuse social media engagement with customer relationships. Engagement is more than just retaining customers and driving sales growth. Here comes the second part of the engagement, It is about indulging one-on-one with the customer to start and to maintain a trustworthy relationship.
Take this example from an amazing customer-oriented e-commerce company Zappos.
Here Zappos exhibited a fine example of one-on-one interaction by replying back to their happy customer in just a span of minutes after the user tweeted. Since its social media, not only it leaves a stamp of trust on your audience that your brand is all ears and listening to them but also promotes your goodwill among prospects.
Also, it shows that a good engaging brand not only pays heed to the customer’s problem and queries but also takes part in their happiness.
What Isn’t Social Media Engagement?
Impressions and reach are not social media engagement.
They are just the total number of posts people see and the number of times your content is displayed on their feeds. They might help you in increasing the chances of engagement but they are not engagement itself.
With the constant change in algorithm, each Platform has shifted its focus on meaningful engagement. Facebook admits that “Interacting with people is associated with a greater sense of well-being” and criticized “just scrolling through your Facebook feed, passively reading or watching without interacting with others, tends to make people feel worse”.
That brings us to the “ Evolution of engagement on social media”
Gone are the days when Likes and followers were the only basis of counting engagement. Some businesses even buy fake followers and likes just to show multiple digits up on their profiles. Believe me, they won’t do you any good.
Whereas Active fans generate
- Real engagement
- User-generated content
- Real conversions
- and, Build-relationships
Comments are the best examples of 1-on-1 interactions. They take more thought and time than a mere like. Comments give you an opportunity to interact with your audience. It draws more eyes than likes and hence is better than any other form of engagement.
Plus, engagement weighing matters. One of the major factors of weighing various forms of engagement – TIME!. For example, a comment takes more effort than like. And, a longer comment takes more effort than a one-word comment!
Why Does Social Media Engagement Matter?
Gives a shoutout to your brand
Good engagement precedes you, in the eyes of prospective customers, and the algorithms. When algorithms see your post creating the atmosphere of interaction, it increases your chance to be seen again and again in the user’s feed. Also, engagement helps you create social proof. When people following your existing audience see that you engage back, they are likely to interact with you too.
Creates a circle of prolific audience
If you are just aiming for a high number of followers and not concentrating on engagement, you will end up with a larger crowd but fewer conversions. Engagement attracts an audience related to your niche and hence leads to better conversions. It creates a ripple effect, as discussed above, and increases your brand awareness among people belonging to your niche on social media.
Encourage customer loyalty
It is not always about acquiring new customers. According to Clickz.com, the success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. Engagement helps you build a strong connection between your brand and its existing customers. Making you their first go-to-stop whenever they need information, motivation or a product. Engagement needs trust, and once it’s built customers remain loyal.
Not every content you post is great. But if you are engaging enough with your audience, they will let you know what they liked and what they didn’t. With a constant flow of communication, you start to get a brief idea of what your audience wants on social media.
Social media platforms have features that let you see engagement analytics of your individual posts. If you are active on multiple social platforms then use “SocialPilot Analytics” to see the engagement you are generating on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn of individual posts without opening multiple tabs.
How Can We Increase Social Media Engagement?
Connect with your audience through content
Create content that connects you with your audience and use it to tell your brand story. Rather than promoting your products, focus on sharing content that empowers your audience.
Too much promotional content can cause people to dislike your brand. People don’t mind viewing posts that sell products to them. But sharing such content all the time can disconnect your followers from your brand.
Content that helps your customers resolve their problems will draw them closer to your brand. It will also encourage them to share their experiences with others. And, this will make your content go viral and increase engagement on social media.
User-generated content is more useful to increase social media engagement. You can share user-generated content like reviews and testimonials. Statistics show that up to 80% of online content is user generated. Compared to content created by brands, user-generated content is more trustworthy.
Measure the audience engagement
Above we discussed to make more of what your audience liked. So first we should know what they liked the most in the first place. Now how to do that?
By measuring engagement analytics.
Every social media platform has a feature to provide multiple insights into audience engagement. Engagement analytics helps you in monitoring what type of content is working for you in getting more comments, likes and reach and also the type of content which is good for nothing.
With a social media management tool like SocialPilot, you can cut the hassle of opening multiple tabs and get the birds-eye-view on all your major social media platform engagement statistics under one URL.
According to Databox, 21% of the marketers said measuring social media engagement was more important than other channels.
So, once you find out the favorite scroll-stopper that resonates with your audience, start investing more of your time and dollars in that.
Include engagement call-to-actions
A call-to-action encourages your audience to take the next step. In addition to posting valuable content for your audience, you should encourage them to engage further after reading the post. You may have seen posts on Instagram asking people to Double-tap if they liked the post, or giving CTAs like “what are your thoughts on”. People tend to engage more when they are told to do so than when they are not.
You must include some killer social media call to action either on the top of your content or at the end.
You can try the below given CTAs for social media engagement.
Once you get the ball rolling with your amazing content and CTAs, it’s just as important to get in the comments section yourself and start engaging with your followers manually.
If you want to maximize social media engagement, you need to take the time and interact with your audience one-by-one and be creative in your replies.
Replying to comments and mentions with a simple “thank you” is a great first step, but if you want to truly encourage discussion, you can go further than that.
There are many ways you can spark discussion in the comments section and show off your brand’s personality. You can try asking questions, jazz your conversation with GIFs and emojis or run polls to get your audiences’ opinions.
Social media being the biggest platform for communication demands active listening and responding channels, Hence practicing engagement shines a light on your brand and helps you stand out from the crowd. So it is important to block out the time especially for engagement.
Experiment with your content to find out what touches your audiences’ nerves. Use Analytics to find out if they loved it or not. Be active on your Social Inbox to engage in conversation with your fans. Comments section is the goldmine for engagement, dig it as far as you can.
Moreover, you have to keep in mind that creating an atmosphere of engagement takes time, it’s important to plan ahead and set the objectives that you want to achieve through your social media engagement. So, keep patience and start engaging.