Some days, social media promotion seems like the black hole of the internet. You put a lot of time and effort into creating content for one or several platforms, and the response is rather lackluster. What if you could boost user engagement across all your social channels? While there isn’t any perfect formula that results in likes and shares, there are some things you can do to increase interactions with followers.
According to statistics, 2.96 billion people use social media, a number experts predict will reach more than 3 billion by 2021. No matter who your target audience is, you’ll likely find them on one of the popular networks. Even Grandma Joann probably has a Facebook page.
Social media offers a unique opportunity where businesses can connect intimately with current and potential consumers. However, you can also waste a lot of time and money on this type of marketing without seeing any real returns. It’s vital, therefore, that you make the most of your time on the platforms of your choice.
Here are 11 tips to help you get the most out of your efforts.
- Define Your Audience
One of the most crucial things you can do for your social engagement aspirations is figuring out who you’re trying to reach. Who is your typical customer? Create detailed buyer personas that include everything from hobbies and interests to potential career paths and life goals. The information will help when you begin ad targeting and looking for people interested in specific activities.
You can gain followers with little gimmicks and tricks, but if those people aren’t the ones who buy your product or service, you’re wasting your time. Start with the audience you want to reach. It’s better to have 100 solid leads than 10,000 fans who have no interest in what you offer.
- Discover the Best Tools
Figuring out what tools make your job promoting on social media easier is half the battle. For example, you might choose Twitter promotional tools if you want to ramp up your presence. You can also use software such as Buffer or Hootsuite to automatically schedule posts to the social media platform of your choice — or several at once. Getting on a regular posting schedule helps you be more predictable and shows users you’re reliable and consistent.
- Promote in Real Life
Cross-promote your social media channels to those you interact with daily. They are more likely to share your page with friends, who might also be interested in what you sell. If you have a booth at a trade show, include a hashtag so that people can find you later on Twitter. Add icons to promotional material to show what platforms you’re on. You can also host a contest for your customers where they receive an entry if they post a photo using your product.
Think of fresh ways of cross-promoting between online and offline efforts. Your regular customers who visit a brick-and-mortar store may be online and waiting for you to ask them to share your posts. Send out notices to your mailing list about a contest where the person who shares posts and has the most likes gets a small reward.
- Always Be Interesting
If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to develop a strong brand voice. Study some of the more successful brands killing it on social media. Wendy’s Twitter account is a perfect example of a company that has taken on a challenge to be snarky and funny while always pointing the way back to their restaurants.
You’ll find a lot of noise online. The majority of businesses now have an online presence and are clamoring for the attention of subscribers. If you don’t do something a bit different and authentic, you have no chance of standing out from the millions of other voices on any given platform. Study what your competitors do and try to come up with something unique that reflects your goals and philosophies.
- Tweak Your Photos
Convince and Convert took a close look at photos used by companies on Facebook to see which ones received the most engagement. Images without a full person, but with a body part — a hand, arm, etc. — performed 29% better than pictures without or with a whole person. Numerous studies show that using photos leads to better engagement rates. Tweaking the type of visual you use brings even better results.
Unique visuals make your brand stand out and help give you a voice. You also won’t risk having the same picture other businesses choose from a stock photo provider. While there are times you need to utilize stock images, be unique whenever possible.
- Host a Contest
Without followers, you won’t have high engagement. However, you only want followers who might be interested in your product. The solution is to host contests directly related to your niche. For example, if you own a bakery, you might hold a cutest baby contest. You can then market to those new followers for their first birthday and additional celebrations through the years.
Be sure to check contest and sweepstakes regulations. You’ll want to ensure you aren’t breaking any federal or state laws with your posts. If you host a drawing, you can use a program such as Rafflecopter to ensure it’s above board. If awarding a best of type prize, you’ll want to let others vote or come up with a panel of unbiased judges. Put some written rules in place so that there are no misunderstandings.
- Choose the Right Time
Knowing the best times to post can make a difference in how successful a particular campaign is. A rule of thumb most marketing gurus follow is to post on a weekday, when engagement is naturally higher — people are busy with activities on the weekends and less likely to engage. Sprout Social points to specific times and days of the week that work best on specific social media platforms. For example, the best time to post on Facebook is Wednesday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
While you can utilize averages, you’ll also want to track your engagement statistics. What times seem to work best for your particular audience? You might find specific types of posts perform better at different times, too.
- Utilize Influencers
Influencers give your brand an edge and expose your products to a targeted group of followers. One survey uncovered that about 89% of marketers feel Instagram is the most important social media site for influencer marketing.
You’ll find you gain more followers and interaction on some platforms than others, so be aware of how effective your influencer campaigns are. Create special offers only for that group of people with specific codes. An offer specific to each influencer allows you to see how many of them wind up buying from you. You can also track how interactive they are on your page. Are they retweeting and sharing your posts?
- Market to Mobile
Keep in mind that more and more people are getting smartphones and accessing the internet — especially social media — via mobile devices. Around 94% of Facebook’s advertising revenue for the third quarter of 2019 came from mobile ads.
Think about the way promotions look on a mobile device versus a desktop computer. You have a smaller screen size, and you also have someone who is likely on the go and doesn’t have a lot of time. Look at your ads through the eyes of the end-user and make them as easy to take advantage of as possible.
- Create Videos
In one report, Cisco predicts video viewing will make up about 82% of internet traffic by the year 2022. Better connectivity and speeds up to 75 Mbps mean more people will utilize video than ever before. If you aren’t already adding videos to your social media pages, you’re missing out on a highly visual and entertaining way to engage people.
Keep in mind that a poorly done video may do more harm than good — the last thing you want is to look like an amateur. Take the time to learn how to make professional-looking videos or hire someone to create them for you. You can find numerous software solutions allowing you to plug your images into a template and create a quick video for your followers.
- Look for Non-Followers
Many of the people who comment about your brand on social media may not follow your official page. An older article took a look at people who talked about a brand and how many of them followed the company’s page. Around 96% of those commenting didn’t even follow the brand. If you aren’t tracking mentions of your name on social media, then you may be missing opportunities to engage with customers.
Search for your name and hashtags related to your brand. If you notice your company mentioned, chime in with an offer of help or a thank you. You may see a lot of complaints. Have a plan for the best way to handle these and possibly develop a loyal customer. Be sure to follow-up and encourage the person to like your business page.
Think Like a Consumer for Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
Put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re trying to reach. Know their likes and dislikes and pay attention to your triggers. What do companies do on social media that you dislike? What do they do that engages you? Track the results of each effort you make. If you pay close attention, you’ll soon have highly active and committed fans.