If you’re on social media, one of your biggest goals is to engage your audience. While social media provides an affordable platform to promote your business, you can’t drive conversions without engagement. And if you feel like your audience isn’t engaged enough, it’s probably time to review your social media engagement strategy. Here are nine of the best ways to increase social media engagement across various platforms:
#1: Use Wit and Humor
People use social media to be entertained; not to be sold to. If all of your social media posts are overly promotional and inviting people to buy your products, you might end up losing your audience’s attention.
Instead, use humor regularly in your posts to entertain and engage your followers. You can come up with witty puns related to your industry. Or you can accompany images with honest, relatable captions.
Chipotle does a great job of infusing humor into their tweets. Their tweets aren’t overly promotional about their products. Instead, they use relatable humor, which can sometimes be self-depreciating, but funny nonetheless. Their tone is casual, and in tune with the teen and young adult generation.
And as you can see in the screenshot below, their tweets get plenty of engagement.
#2: Create Original and Engaging Visuals
According to Wishpond, the average Facebook post gets 120% less engagement than posts that include an image. So if you want to increase engagement on social media, you need to post more images. It could be photos, memes, GIFs, or even original graphics.
There are endless possibilities of visuals you can create for social media. If you want to promote your latest research findings or a post with interesting facts, turn some useful points into infographics. You can then share the infographic on social media with a link to the complete study, or post in your blog.
Or you can also create an image that promotes a contest or event. You can also create visuals to promote an upcoming product launch, or to celebrate a milestone.
Taco Bell promotes their YouTube videos through Facebook. But instead of simply posting the video with a video preview, they include a relevant photo in the post to engage their audience.
Another example is how Samsung uses original images to promote their product unboxing. As you can see in the screenshot below, they’ve created a unique graphic to promote their #UnboxYourPhone event. The image has a subtle outline of the phone, the brand and product name, and the time and venue of the event.
#3: Create More Video Content
Original graphics and images are an excellent way to increase social media engagement on Twitter and Facebook. But on visual platforms like Instagram, you’re already posting eye-catching images to engage your followers. So how can you increase engagement on this platform too? The key is to create and/or post more videos. While you regularly post images, videos bring a refreshing change to your usual content.
GoPro uses Instagram to regularly post images taken using their cameras. Besides regular photos, they also post videos every now and then. These videos tend to get more likes than the photos. If you go through their profile, you’ll notice than many of their photo posts get somewhere between 100,000 to 300,000 likes on average.
On the other hand, their video posts generate more than 400,000 views. Many of their videos, like the one in the screenshot below, even generate 500,000 views or more. This suggests that posting engaging videos is one of the best ways to increase engagement on Instagram. You can implement this tactic on other social media channels as well.
#4: Schedule Your Posts for the Right Timing
Social media users aren’t online all the time. So if you happen to post something while most of your followers are inactive, you could potentially lose out on engagement opportunities.
To increase social media engagement, find out when your followers are most likely to be online and then schedule your posts accordingly. The goal is to have them see your posts and possibly like, comment, and/or share the posts.
The best times to post can differ according to many factors, such as time zone and target demographic. But it can also differ according to the social media channels you’re using. So you might have to run a few tests to see which timing works best for you on different platforms.
According to an analysis of 16 studies by CoSchedule, Facebook posts tend to drive the most engagement between 1PM and 4PM on the weekends. As for tweets, your best bet to increase engagement on Twitter is to post them around 12-3PM during the work week. On the other hand, Instagram users are engaged throughout the week with the most active hours being 8-9AM.
This data proves that you’ll need to create different posting schedules for different social media platforms. You can check out the full CoSchedule post to find out the best post timings for other channels like LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.
#5: Start Using Trending Hashtags
Based on how you use them, hashtags can dramatically increase engagement on social media. While your posts may already reach your existing followers, hashtags help you engage people who aren’t already following you. When you use relevant and trending hashtags in your Twitter and Instagram posts, you improve the chances of users finding your content.
You can use tools like Twitonomy to find trending hashtags in the relevant niche. Or you can use Hashtagify.me to stay updated with the latest hashtag trends. This research will help you participate in trending social media conversations. And it makes it easier for relevant users to discover your content, which can help increase social media engagement.
For example, there may be seasonally trending hashtags such as #halloween, #spring, #christmas, #thanksgiving, etc. And if you create seasonally relevant posts, you can use these hashtags to engage users. See how ASOS uses a relevant hashtag to celebrate the first day of spring with their Instagram post below.
In addition to this, you could also start your own hashtag trend. Come up with a unique, branded hashtag, and encourage customers to create relevant posts using said hashtag. You could offer them something in exchange, such as a chance to be featured, or a chance to win something. The goal is to get the hashtag to trend, so that other users who aren’t already within your follower base can discover you.
#6: Host a Giveaway Contest
Another excellent way to increase social media engagement is by hosting a giveaway contest. This tactic drives engagement mainly because people have a chance of receiving something. This could compel them to engage with brand or influencer content on social media.
And based on how you execute the contest, you could also boost the amount of user-generated content for your brand. For instance, requiring participants to share their photos using a unique branded hashtag will create more UGC.
By hosting a giveaway contest, you’ll increase engagement among your existing followers. For instance, maybe they’ll need to like the post, and tag their friends in the comments in order to participate.
Or in case of Facebook, you could encourage them to share the post if they wish to participate. And if your contest rules requires that people follow your brand or like your page, you could even increase your following.
Watch brand, Kapten and Son regularly hosts a contest every Thursday. The contest provides customers a chance to win a $50 gift card, which they can use to purchase the brand’s products. All participants have to do is to create their own Instagram posts using the hashtag #bekapten, and also watch the brand’s Instagram story. This helps the brand increase engagement on Instagram, and also encourages the creation of unique content by users.
GameSeek also hosts giveaway contests on a regular basis. They make the contest entries available on both their website and their Facebook page. As you can see in the screenshot below, people can participate by liking the GameSeek Facebook page, along with the post, and then leave a comment. They also invite participants to share the post with their friends, which can also help increase engagement on Facebook.
#7: Enrich Your Content with Influencer Content
Social media influencers have achieved an influential status because of their ability to engage an audience. They are excellent content creators, and they know what their audiences want.
Make the most of their influence by getting them to enrich your social media content. This could encourage their followers to engage with your brand and content. And it could also provide existing followers with refreshing content that differs from your usual posts.
There are a number of ways to have influencers enrich your social media content. For instance, you could host an influencer takeover in which select influencers take over your social media account for a day. This is most popular with Instagram and Snapchat.
You could also feature influencer content on your own social media profiles. Or you could even post a video in which you interview influencers.
Artist Couture, for example, regularly posts Instagram photos in which influencers create a look using their products. The following post shows makeup influencer Kimberly Margarita using the brand’s diamond glow powder to create a surreal, fairytale look.
In addition to this, they occasionally invite relevant influencers to take over their Snapchat, and provide fans with beauty tutorials. They announce the takeover through Instagram, and invite fans to stay tuned.
#8: Feature Fans and Customers
One of the most effective social media engagement tactics is to feature your customers, and turn them into brand advocates. When you share user-generated content on social media, you achieve a few benefits.
First of all, you’re providing followers with proof that your existing customers love your products. And you’re also winning the loyalty of the fans whose posts you share by making them feel appreciated.
You can combine this with one of the previous tactics in which you create a unique branded hashtag. Encourage customers to share photos where they’re using the product and include the hashtag in their description. You can offer a chance to be featured in your social media in exchange for their reciprocity.
Five Guys uses Twitter to feature photos of their patrons, declaring them, “Five Guys Fanatics.” They also regularly retweet fan-posted photos that feature food from Five Guys.
#9: Go Live
With the introduction of Instagram Live and Facebook Live, brands have new options to increase social media engagement. You can make the most of these options to engage fans on a real-time basis.
Try live streaming your launch event, a milestone celebration, or an industry event. Or you could also go live on a weekly basis to update and entertain your social media followers. You could even live stream the creation and brainstorming process of your upcoming product launch to build hype.
For example, The CrossFit Games live-streamed the announcement of Open Workout 17.5 on Facebook. They then shared the live video afterwards, so people who missed it can still view it. The video received 19,000+ likes and generated around 6,300 comments. On top of this, more than 2,300 people shared the video.
But before you live stream, make sure you give your followers a heads up. The CrossFit Games kept posting reminders about the event so their followers could tune in when they actually went live.
These are 9 of the most effective ways to increase social media engagement. If you’re not yet implementing any of these tactics, make sure you start including them in your social media engagement strategy. Or if you’re already driving some engagement using a few of these tips, try implementing the other tactics highlighted in this post.
If you have any questions about executing some of these tactics, feel free to ask them in the comments below. And don’t forget – you can always reach out to me for a more hands-on guide to improve your social media strategy.