Social media has long become part of our everyday lives. With more than 3.6 billion people using social media in the world, it has become their best companion. This number is expected to reach 4.4 billion by 2025.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made this bond even stronger. Social media thus creates a vast virtual audience, which companies, marketing strategists, and individuals tap into to sell their products and services or increase brand awareness.
When in business, having lots of followers is a must, and it is a critical starting point. But it is not enough to just rack up numbers. You need to make those numbers count.
This is where social media engagement comes into play. You want people to follow you, but you want them to be engaged and active. You want to turn your followers into customers. This can all be accomplished by using some great social media tricks.
|Think of a classroom crammed with silent, disinterested students. You can claim some degree of popularity and respect because of sheer numbers on the attendance list, but you can never be sure of the level of their interest, passion, or takeaways.
It works the same way with your virtual audience. Numbers do not always speak for their interests. That’s why you would want to know what piques your followers’ interests, influences their likes and dislikes, and prompts them to take action.
How can you get or measure such vibes? What can you do to use your social media analytics better? How can you create a kind of a nerve center to monitor these vibes to increase your audience engagement? Read our tips to change the way you engage, encourage, or influence your followers.
Use analytics to your advantage
First things first. Before you address the qualitative side of your audience engagement, you need to understand the quantitative part of it.
Whether you use some in-built tool or a third-party resource, you need to get the numbers right.
With this data, not only will you be able to count the number of followers, likes, shares, and comments, but you will also see when your audience gets most active. This is an important clue for you to plan the timing of your posts.
Come up with a strategy
Plan, implement, review, learn, and plan again. This is an iterative process in which you cannot afford any let-up.
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Panning matters. There’s no arguing about that. Depending on what your goal is, define objectives. Make them specific, time-bound, measurable, and achievable.
You also need to be clear on how you will resource your plan. You’ll need money, people, and resources. Use online free tools as much as possible, with a proviso that you need to verify their quality and reliability just as you’d do with a writing service (and as explained above).
The above will inform your choice of social media platforms. If you are targeting Generation X or baby boomers, Facebook might be a better option. Generation Z and millennials are now flocking to Tik Tok, so there’s your choice there.
All of this is part of your learning strategy too. Don’t ignore your setbacks. Instead, analyze them, draw lessons, and adjust your plans. This is an iterative process intended to facilitate continuous improvement.
Create a narrative about your product, service, or brand
Don’t just hit your audience with your product or service, no matter how awesome they are. It’s great to get influencers talking about the features, benefits, and perks, but you need more than that.
|To put it better, you need to create a context or a trend that will be appealing to your audience. If you’re selling bikes, you don’t have to start by bragging about the quality of their derailleurs. It does not always work like that.
Instead, engage your audience in discussions about healthy lifestyles, outdoor activities, and all the fun that goes with them. Most people like having fun, don’t they? Once you start seeing or visualizing their virtual nodding heads (expressed through their positive comments and likes), the time is right to post the pictures of your bikes!
When there is an ongoing, engaging narrative, it becomes so much easier to introduce your key message.
Use lots of images
Make sure you use lots of images. People often get ideas better through images and visual representation. Add an image or picture to every post.
Photos average a 35% boost in Retweets, so it is definitely worth your effort. Let your images do the talking for you.
Be creative. Improve your photography skills and use your own pictures. This will make your outreach even more powerful and appealing.
Don’t be boring and predictable
See what your audience is really interested in. Find out what makes your followers tick. You don’t have to be boring by reiterating what has already been said.
Post human-interest stories. People are naturally interested in and drawn to what is happening to other people. As social animals, we want to know more about the impact of things on humans rather than the things themselves.
Be funny but not bizarre. Weirdos are generally shunned in this trade. By contrast, a good sense of humor always helps get people on the same page.
Don’t overdo it, but at times you can be a bit provocative too. Offer a different slant. Say something new or anti-mainstream. Some people might not always agree with you, but they’ll stick with you because of your honesty.
Straight shooters might be disliked, but they are never ignored.
Use a call to action (CTA)
You must be familiar with this marketing term – call to action (CTA). It comes across as an obvious part of your plan. People are used to CTAs, but they still have a powerful impact every time they are used.
Without a CTA, you make your post a bit crippled. You are leaving your audience wondering about the next steps. That does not bode well for your audience engagement.
Remember that a CTA must be simple, clear, and obvious. You should prompt your audience to take action or to make a decision right away.
Contest and giveaways
Contests and giveaways are perhaps the easiest way of getting people’s attention and increasing their engagement immediately.
These are also related to your CTA. You can ask people to visit your landing page to participate in a contest. Have some prizes for participants, and make it fun!
Repost when relevant
Make sure you share other people’s posts when you find them engaging. By now, you should have built a good sense of the likes and dislikes of your audience. Cater to its needs and interests.
Act as a conduit of helpful information, which they might otherwise miss. If relevant, add your take on things if it adds value. Pose a probing question to stimulate a new discussion thread.
You will make sure that you’re not some isolated and ego-centric blogger caring about your own image and content only. And you can thus project an image of a thought leader whose interests go beyond his or her personal goals.
Never ignore questions and comments
Make it your habit to review and respond to the questions and comments of your followers. Even if you do not like them
This can be a daunting task, but the effort is worth it. Hardly anything irritates people more than giving them a snub. Jot something down even if it is a few words. If relevant, you can react to people’s comments or tweets with emojis.
Some of the world’s leading and most successful companies, like McDonald’s, do just that. Sometimes, they take it one step further by responding directly to a customer with a personalized message. They would normally address customers with their first names too.
This is a great way of building brand awareness and increasing audience engagement with minimal but responsible effort.
Link up with influencers
This is a no-brainer. There’s hardly any successful business in the world that is not using influencers to promote their products and services.
|The influencer marketing industry is projected to grow to approximately $16.4 billion in 2022.
You don’t want to miss out on all the opportunities and advantages it has to offer.
If you haven’t already, get on the bandwagon and start identifying influencers who would be able to cater to the needs and whims of your audience.
Initiate surveys and polls
This is another cost-effective and well-tested approach to increasing audience engagement. Pick some hot topic. Something that interests your audience.
There are many different online tools for creating surveys and polls, so it’s super simple to do. Make sure you post then when your audience gets most active and engaged. Having studied your analytics well, you should know what the peak times are.
Surveys and polls are wonderful marketing tools. They generate invaluable data for your marketing strategies. What’s more, they trigger a set of new conversations and discussions that might take you and your thinking to some uncharted waters.
Thus, they become powerful sources of inspiration, creativity, and innovation.
Time for Q&A
Set aside time for Q&As. Depending on your objectives and brand, you need to be proactively encouraging your audience to pose questions.
The type of your business will help you determine frequency. Whether monthly or quarterly, Q&A sessions are a great way to stay in tune with your audience and its needs and interests.
In fact, Q&As can follow your polls and surveys. You can use them to sum up results for your audience while giving your followers an opportunity to pose clarifying questions.
Q&A sessions are also very practical in communicating solutions to common issues related to your product or service and as identified by your customers. You can capitalize on your own answers by providing helpful tips on the use of your products and services.
These measures will help your audience remain engaged and have a sense of connectedness with your brand and business.
Engage in and promote socially responsible activities
You are running your business for profit, but you cannot turn a blind eye to social issues. So, there are times when you should use social media for social issues.
Don’t be shy to take a stance on important social issues. Encourage your audience to engage in discussions.
Promoting the activities of others for a good cause is commendable and they are generally liked and encouraged by social media audiences.
When you can, lead by example by donating money to a good cause yourself. In doing so, you will kill not just two but three birds: supporting the good cause, evoking a good feeling of being a responsible citizen, and encouraging your audience to give too.
Use social media tricks to increase engagement
If you are serious about increasing your audience engagement on social media, you need to be serious about how you approach it. It is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. No pain, no gain, as they say.
The good news is that the return on investment is huge. Once you go through the initial hurdles, missteps, and painstaking adjustments, you will start enjoying the benefits of having an army of active, engaged, and loyal followers.
Not only that, you will start having a lot of fun. Once your audience engagement becomes meaningful, you will start drawing inspiration from your interactions.
Every successful step will be a notch on your belt, helping you to keep moving the needle.
So, start nursing your engagement with your audience to be able to cherish them for many years to come.