Social media has become a necessary part of branding and marketing for companies across industries.
Having followers is the first step to having a successful social media presence. More important, though, is having engaged followers who will interact with your messages, share your content, and promote your brand for you.
Whether your company is in the early stages of development or you have an established social media presence, here’s everything you need to know about how to increase your brand’s social media engagement in 2021.
What is Social Media Engagement?
Social media engagement refers to how many times people click on your page. This can come in varying forms, including shares, retweets, comments, likes, click-throughs, tagged mentions, and using branded hashtags.
These metrics matter because they demonstrate that your audience is engaged with your brand. An engaged audience is attentive and likely to talk about your brand outside of your platform. They are also likely to convert to paying customers who remain loyal to your brand.
We all know that it is far better to go to a party with only a few guests who laugh, play games, and have fun the whole time than to go to a party with hundreds of people who are bored and uninterested in talking to each other. The same sort of thinking applies to social media.
This is why engagement matters more than the number of followers. In social media, just as at a party, it is far better to have a smaller group of engaged followers who will talk to each other, share your posts, and leave likes than it is to have a massive following of people who ignore your page.
Social Media Pros and Cons
If your brand is new or just hasn’t yet gotten on board with social media, you may be wondering if it is worth your time. Here are some of the pros and cons of social media to consider.
Social media pros
Social media provides a more direct line of communication between you and your customers. Messaging makes it easier than ever for followers to ask questions, book appointments, or leave comments. Advertising on social media allows you to target a specific audience, often at a significantly lower price point than other types of online ads.
Another benefit of social media is the user-generated content that can be organically created through reviews, comments, and branded hashtags. These all add credibility to your brand and give you quality content without spending additional effort.
Social media cons
There aren’t many cons to using social media for your brand, as long as you are willing to put in the effort. Social media only works when you are carefully paying attention to it by responding to comments, answering messages promptly, and consistently posting fresh content for your followers.
There is also the potential for negative public comments. However, by staying on top of your social media page and giving a timely response to resolve the situation, negative comments can improve your brand image and reputation.
Tips for Growing Social Media Engagement
Before you start posting anything and everything on your social media pages, you will need to do some planning.
To start with, recognize that every business is different. You might not need to have a presence on every single platform that’s out there.
To determine where to focus your efforts, take a look at who your target audience is and where they are most likely to be spending their time online. Then, develop a content strategy that includes posts your target audience is likely to engage with.
Don’t be afraid to get creative! Check your metrics regularly to determine what works and what doesn’t so you can continuously improve your social media presence.
Here are some ways to increase engagement across social media channels.
Video content is the most engaging content across platforms. You don’t need to be a pro to shoot or post a video. Start with your smartphone or video camera. By using an online video editor, like OpenShot, Fastreel, or We Video, you can easily add special effects, crop shots, and cut your video so that only the best parts get published.
Just like in person, asking someone a question is a great way to get them to open up and talk about themselves. Ask thoughtful questions on your posts to encourage followers to leave comments and engage in conversations with you and each other.
Include images with every post
Every post that isn’t a video should have an image to capture people’s attention and instantly tell them what your post is about. Ideally, you’ll post unique photos that you have taken. For times when you need a stock image, you can buy pictures from places like Adobe Stock, iStock, or Death to Stock.
Growing Social Media Engagement by Platform
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the three most popular social media platforms for brands. You will need to take different approaches to each platform since they have different purposes and serve slightly different audiences.
These platforms do have some things in common. First, they require an accurate and well-written profile. Use a high-resolution image for your company logo, and fill in as much information as possible in your profile to make it easy for followers to visit your website or get in touch.
Next, each platform requires high-quality content. It’s better to post great content less frequently than to post meaningless content at a faster rate. Make sure your posts are relevant to your brand, grammatically correct, and enjoyable.
Finally, it’s essential to track metrics on each platform to determine what does and doesn’t work for your audience. A post that gets 1,000 likes on Facebook might get only a handful on Instagram and zero retweets on Twitter. In general, you should not cross-post across the platforms but, instead, create unique content for each of your social media pages.
People use Facebook to find community. Joining groups and following pages that are relevant to your brand is a great way to participate in conversations about topics that matter to your followers.
On your page, you should post relevant, concise content. A study from the social media management company Buffer has found that the optimum length of a Facebook post is 40 characters. That’s because people, generally, have short attention spans. Provide useful, entertaining, or otherwise engaging content that is more than just a sales pitch.
Get inspiration from successful Facebook brand pages, like:
- Shopify: Their success stories from Shopify store owners encourage community.
- Tough Mudder: The obstacle course race offers helpful training videos and tutorials.
- Intrepid Travel: This travel site encourages travel junkies to share stories and leave reviews about their favorite destinations.
Short, memorable content is key for Twitter. The platform’s short posts make it easy to share tweets, meaning you can reach an audience beyond the platform. In fact, an estimated 1.6 billion unique visitors only see tweets that are shared on third-party sites.
Twitter moves fast, which means you’ll need to do some experimenting to figure out the best time to post to get the most eyes on your tweets. Use hashtags on every tweet to make it easy for your followers to find when they are searching for your brand or related content.
These companies have mastered the art of the tweet by crafting clever messages and responding to followers quickly:
- JetBlue: Their impressively quick responses to comments demonstrates their commitment to customer service
- Digiorno: The frozen pizza company serves up witty commentary that keeps followers talking.
- Charmin: The toilet paper brand has found a way to make a taboo topic funny and entertaining without being gross.
A successful Instagram page requires a lot of images. You should plan on using your own photography instead of relying on stock images. Authenticity trumps perfection, so worry less about how professional your pictures look and more about how well they tell your brand’s story.
Another unique feature of Instagram is the save feature. Creating content that is valuable enough for people to want to return to will increase the number of saves you get. Think tips, motivational quotes, workouts, recipes, or anything else that someone will want to return to in the future.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, longer posts on Instagram seem to do better with engagement as long as they are high-quality.
Some business Instagram pages to reference for inspiration include:
- Sharpie: Their bright posts inspire creativity by showcasing all the ways people can use their products.
- Honest Company: Their motivational quotes and images fit their brand and encourage feel-good vibes.
- Oreo: Their short videos are entertaining and do the job of getting followers to crave their product.
Social media is an essential part of marketing for brands today. Remember that quality is better than quantity when it comes to social media. Increasing your engagement metrics in 2021 should be part of your marketing strategy.
The more people you can engage with on social media, the more visible your brand is to the world. Use the above ideas to grow engagement on your platforms in 2021 and beyond.