Today’s marketers know that social media is an excellent and arguably necessary way to connect, communicate and engage with an audience.
However, while marketers have learned that social media is useful, they haven’t necessarily learned how to use it effectively.
Over the years, many social media tools have been developed to help businesses break through the noise on social media and reach their customers. These tips and tool recommendations can help improve engagement with your audience through social channels.
How to engage your audience on social media
Here are 11 steps to planning a great social media campaign – and specific programs that can help you execute it.
1. Identify your ideal outlets.
A great way to plan and begin your social campaigns is to figure out where to run them. WebiMax, an online reputation management company, can evaluate your website and, using the data it pulls, suggests the social media outlets that would be most beneficial for your company to focus on. WebiMax can then create tailored social campaigns for you to use on many social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn and Instagram.
2. Define your audience.
After you’ve identified the social platforms your business should focus on, identify your target audience. Social listening tools like LeadSift can help with this. LeadSift mines social conversations to find relevant leads based on metrics you set, such as keywords and geographic location. Using LeadSift to find these qualified leads can help you engage with high-profile people who are more likely to become customers.
3. Create your content.
Now that you know your platform and your audience, you need to create content. If this is something you don’t have the time or resources to do, you can use tools like SnapRetail. This platform offers thousands of prewritten social posts that you can customize to match the needs of your business. These updates have been tried and tested, and are likely to increase engagement among your audience. These posts are designed for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
4. Use strategic hashtags.
One of the most difficult parts of social media is reaching and building your audience. Tools like HashAtIt can elevate your visibility by finding popular hashtags that fit your industry and audience. These hashtags make it easier for people to find you and help you hop onto trends in your market.
Did you know? Using at least one meaningful hashtag can increase audience engagement by 12%.
5. Encourage sharing.
An important piece of social media marketing is encouraging your customers to share their experience, which builds your audience. Livecube makes social media sharing a game during live events and rewards your customers for discussing your event or product. It also makes it easier for your customers to navigate your live event. If your business has live, in-person events, Livecube is certainly a useful tool.
6. Write strong leads.
It is critical to create a headline that is going to grab a reader’s attention. You want to encourage your reader to click on the link. You should use keywords and action verbs to make that happen. You always want your writing to be accessible to everyone. Simple writing is always best. You want to make sure you stay away from industry speak, or trying to make yourself sound intelligent. There are tools that you can use to score your headlines to verify how strong they are.
7. Use visuals.
Research has shown that relevant images get 94% more views than content that does not have images at all. A 2014 study by researchers at Georgia Tech University found that photos on Instagram that have faces have 38% more likes than those without faces. As a result, pictures and visuals get a lot of activity, so they should be colorful and catch your attention with each post.
8. Implement videos.
Regardless of the social platform, you are likely to get the most engagement when you use video. Whenever possible, you should add video content to your post. Adding video to your content can increase the engagement of your reader. A video tip is to make sure you upload it directly to the platform instead of posting it somewhere outside of it. This allows the video to play automatically.
Tip: Make sure your videos are the perfect length to increase audience engagement. For example, Instagram videos around 26 seconds long tend to get the most likes.
9. Listen and be responsive.
There was a time when people would give you 24 hours to respond to a request. That time is long gone. We live in a world where the expectation is an immediate response. You must plan to respond to the needs and requests of your users. You will lose them if you do not. Making sure they enjoy their experience is only half the battle. You must also make sure that you listen and respond to them, as well as thank those who repost or like your posts. If you recognize them publicly, you are more likely to turn them into your biggest cheerleaders.
10. Update your images.
Don’t forget about your profile and cover photos, as those are often the most viewed and liked parts of any social media profile. You should utilize them as much as you can by using them to show how your business impacts others and how people can benefit from your business. They suggest changing your Facebook photo at least once a month with an eye-catching caption. You should highlight your work with your Twitter profile and banner photo.
11. Be inviting.
Give people a reason to follow you across all social platforms. Make sure you specifically customize your information to match your users in that channel. Sending out the same automated messages to everyone is not usually the most effective.
What is the importance of audience engagement on social media?
Having a stellar social media presence is great, but it’s the audience engagement that is the true test of your online success. Likes, comments, follows and re-posts of your content can all be indicators your messages are resonating. Word-of-mouth has always been one of the best forms of advertising, and in a viral age, that word can spread far and beyond quickly when crafted correctly.
In addition to getting your campaigns in front of a larger amount of people via individual interactions, audience engagement on social media is also crucial for your company to broaden your reach on the platforms themselves. Essentially, this means social media algorithms favor content that creates meaningful engagement when prioritizing what their users see. If your Instagram posts or TikTok videos receive more buzz, chances are they’ll end up in front of even more people next time around.
Interacting directly with your audience on social media can also bode well for your overall reputation. This is especially true for companies that make customer service available via platforms like Facebook messenger and Instagram direct messages. According to a 2017 analysis, 66% of people between the ages of 18 and 54 viewed a company more favorably if customer care requests were able to be handled on social media. Plus, these interactions typically count toward engagement, increasing visibility over time.