Hitting organic social media goals can be tough. Engagement is a metric that most are shooting for but few rarely hit the targets they set. Many are constantly stumped wondering: how do you build social media engagement? And more importantly, how do you maintain social media engagement?
In this article, I’ll share tips and tricks, as well as use cases from my own experience working in social media, for you to implement into your own social media marketing strategy. This article is targeted towards Facebook (FB), Instagram (IG), LinkedIn (LI) and Twitter (TW).
What is social media engagement?
Before we dive into the ‘hows’ we need to look at the ‘whys’ and ‘whats’ of social media engagement. It’s a metric that’s ever-changing and one that can be tracked using various KPI’s.
Social Media engagement metrics include:
- Likes/ Reactions (FB, IG, LI, TW)
- Comments (FB, IG, LI, TW)
- Follows (FB, IG, LI, TW)
- Shares (FB, IG, LI)
- Saves (IG)
- Mentions (FB, IG, LI, TW)
- DMs (FB, IG, LI, TW)
- Retweets (TW)
- Clicks (FB, IG, LI, TW)
The good news is that most of these metrics can be tracked using social media management platforms currently available. The bad news is, it’s up to you to define which of these metrics should be deemed as a success for your business.
Why is social media engagement important?
Social Media engagement is one of the sure-fire ways to tell if your brand is popular and to gauge an idea of the sentiment around your product. Social Media engagement can also help organic growth of your business, reach new markets and reach a wider audience in current markets.
Done correctly, social media engagement can help to shape your content strategy, overall marketing plan and can go as far as supporting your wider business goals and innovation teams. So, let’s dive into three ways you can get people talking about your business.
- Value your content
No matter what your content type is, make sure it’s valuable to your audience. This requires a lot of pre-work. Make sure you dive into your current follower base or research the type of followers that you want to reach.
Once you have a clear image of the personas you want to appeal to make sure you’re creating content that addresses their needs.
Your content can be images, videos, illustrations, interactive quizzes, social media contests, blogs, the list goes on. I’ve found the best content strategy is usually a combination of all of the above. What you need to consider is not the content type but the topical nature of what your content actually is.
Screenshot from Bamboo HR Facebook Page
For example, if your business provides human resources software as a service, like Bamboo HR, then sharing content about ecommerce is probably not going to be topical for your buyer personas.
Regardless of the type of content you’re posting make sure it’s appropriate for your demographic and provides real value.
Find a hashtag
The hashtag game is not what it used to be. Strings of hashtags don’t work anymore. Yes, they may earn you a little more bot engagement via likes or even very spammy comments. However, Instagram is doing a fantastic job of filtering out the bots and those hashtag strings are now just as spammy as the bots they used to generate them.
Although, just because we don’t hashtag as much as we used to, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. Hashtags can be a great way for you to build engagement and, more importantly, track it.
How to build engagement using a hashtag
Hashtags are there for brands and users alike. If you want to generate conversation around a particular hashtag then you’ll need to encourage people to use it. There’s no use attaching a hashtag to the end of a tweet if you don’t explain to users why it’s there in the first place.
Introduce the hashtag to your community at every touchpoint. Do so in your bios, regular social posts and even your email marketing efforts.
Screenshot from EF’s Instagram bio, encouraging students to share their experience with a hashtag
By giving users a hashtag to engage with, you’re giving them a platform to find the content they care about as well as giving your business the tool they need to track engagement.
How to track engagement using a hashtag
A hashtag is like giving a tweet or a post the same tracking device. By focusing on a campaign hashtag or a product hashtag you’re able to track the engagement around all of the content you send out on social media that’s focussed around that particular campaign or product.
Rather than standard reporting through your social media management platform, you can break your engagement report down into hashtags and really get an idea of the engagement levels around your particular efforts.
Find something people are passionate about
It doesn’t have to be your product! As great as your product is we can’t expect people to be passionate about it. Sure, your product could be or currently is useful to someone but that doesn’t mean to say they want to talk about it online.
What you need to identify is something people are passionate about that’s also in line with your brand values, mission, and vision.
Really take a moment to consider your target demographic and what their common interests are. Whether you’re writing for your brand or your personal brand, find a topic that resonates. Dumig has done this really well with correlating the ASICS slogan and applying it to his own LinkedIn demographic.
Today, brands are taking sustainability as something people are passionate about. It’s an easy win and something no one is going to call you out on. We all know the efforts we need to go to reverse the damage we’ve done on the planet.
However, if you can’t discuss this topic authentically or it really doesn’t align with your brand then find another topic.
Depending on the engagement metrics you’re going for will also determine this. If you’re going for likes and shares then you don’t need to spark conversation but something that people agree with. However, if your KPIs are mentions, comments and follows then you’ll need to pick a topic that people want to discuss.
I hope you’ve found this article useful and managed to take some ideas into how you can generate conversation and engagement around your own business on social media.
Remember, engagement is great, but you can’t have it all. Identify metrics that are important to you and strategize accordingly.