Social media has grown exponentially in the last five years and is now one of the most prominent forms of communication used. Almost every industry uses it to communicate with their audiences, from government to non-profits and restaurants to retailers. With a variety of social media channels, there is intense competition for audience attention online. That is why increasing engagement (interactions AKA likes, shares, comments, etc. with your audience) is so important.
Engagement increases reach, which is a fancy way of saying how many profiles (people) saw a post. The more people interact with your page or content, the more other people will see it. The algorithms on social media platforms favor popularity, so in the giant popularity contest in the world of social media, be the most popular.
How to Increase Engagement
In our experience, the top four most effective ways to increase engagement include:
- Tagging Others
- Interacting with Followers
- Sharing Value-Added Content
- Highlighting Employees or Customers
Using these tips will help strengthen your engagement and expand your reach into larger audiences, directly affecting your bottom line and legitimacy in your industry.
Tagging other pages seems simple but be sure to be thoughtful and strategic. Only tag for the right reasons, not just for exposure. Industry partners, collaborators, or local organizations (chambers, non-profits, governments, etc.) with relevance to your brand could warrant a tag on a post. Or perhaps it’s a company that complements what you do (i.e., a tire provider and you sell bikes). Tagging aimlessly may diminish your credibility and without strategy could result in lower results than you were hoping for. Be strategic with your tagging and have good intentions behind it.
Interacting with Followers
Another simple concept — talk with your audience, the keyword being “with.” Social media is a two-way communication tool. As defined by Oxford Languages, social media is made up of “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” They are not sales tools or strictly advertising platforms — they were created for connection.
Social media is so popular because people love to connect with others, their friends, and their favorite brands/businesses. When followers comment on your post, be sure to react or comment back. Acknowledge their opinion or feedback. Try to go beyond just “thanks” or a thumbs up, and instead provide added-value information like website links or FAQ pages as needed. This builds relationships with them and incentivizes them to continue interacting with your page, therefore increasing engagement and reach.
Sharing Value-Added Content
Value-added content is crucial to the validity of your page. We recommend a 4:1 ratio. For every four posts you share that provide education, insights, industry news, or tips and tricks, etc., you get one “promo” post or post about your business’s offerings, upcoming events, etc. This keeps your channel from becoming overly salesy. It also shows your audience that you care about their needs and positions you as an expert resource in their minds (the one they’d likely buy from as a result). You want them to know what is happening or how to use your products without directly telling them to buy anything. It sets a foundation for a relationship vs. a transactional arrangement.
Highlighting Employees or Customers
Along the lines of connection and relationship, people love to read stories about people. Highlighting your staff is not only good for company morale, but it also scores points with your followers. Celebrating your employees’ achievements, personal accomplishments, or fun facts can help your audience fall in love with more than just your company. They will enjoy seeing your content beyond just face value. Some ideas for these posts, if you haven’t already thought of a few, include birthdays, work anniversaries, fun facts, milestones, professional achievements, or community involvement. You can also recognize star customers — feature them if they’ve just accomplished something or if there’s another tie into your brand.
The underlying theme to generate awareness is to focus on your existing audience/target audience’s interests. The easy path is to talk about yourself — your brand, company, and achievements. The harder and more rewarding route, which allows for engagement, reach, and trust, involves focusing more about what your followers want. Listen to them and they will tell you what they want. Couple that engagement with data provided by your chosen social media platforms (insights/analytics) to identify top-performing, and then create more of it. We are willing to bet its content that relates to one of our discussed tips.
Use these four tips for increasing your social media engagement and reap the rewards of a more connected audience — and maybe even more sales!
Caitlyn Anderson is the Communication Specialist with Pushing the Envelope, Inc., a strategic marketing communication firm based in Fort Myers, Florida, servicing clients regionally and nationally.