Social media marketing is a hot topic for discussion among small business owners and digital marketers. It is one of the hottest topics here at Digital Marketing Philippines and one of the most effective internet marketing tools DMP is endorsing. But despite all the buzz, many business owners and digital marketers still find themselves struggling to drive engagement around their social media content.
Of course, many business owners and digital marketers want to increase likes, shares, comments, and other social engagements with their online content. The higher the engagement, the bigger the chance of connecting with targeted audiences that convert as leads or sales. If you’re like these marketers, then you should pay attention and learn precisely how to do it with the following top 10 ways of driving engagement to your social content.
The infographic (click to zoom):
1. Create and Post Engaging Content
This suggestion may appear quite too obvious, but many business owners and digital marketers fail to realize its importance and just post various kinds of content that don’t even generate any form of engagement. The case may be is that they don’t even know what type of content will actually drive engagement. There are many potential answers to this, but it would be best to listen to what Facebook itself says about driving engagement.
Back in 2012, Facebook conducted a study that quantified, analyzed and confirmed what particular content drives engagement, getting data from over 30 of the social media site’s most popular pages operated and maintained by brands. The content from these popular sites were categorized according to the following:
- Content that directly promotes a brand
- Content that is related to the brand but does not directly talk about the brand
- Content that is totally unrelated to the brand
Facebook confirmed that social media users prefer content that is related to the brand but does not directly promote the brand or any of its products and services. The key to successful engagement therefore is to talk about the needs and wants of the customer as it relates to your brand – and avoid concentrating solely on promoting your business.
2. Make Sure You Are Engaging with your Targeted Audiences
Sometimes people, even business owners and digital marketers, get carried away in interactions and engagements on social media on topics that are really very interesting. The problem is, the topics they are engaging in are not in any way related to their brand and at the same time, the people they are engaging with are not the targeted audiences for their brands.
In many cases, digital marketers try to solicit some kind of engagement activity from a discussion group from a particular social network. If the users of that group and network are from a demographic or interest grouping that is not related to your brand and its products, then don’t expect to get any considerable engagement at all, if there is any. They simply will not care no matter what you do.
Make sure your targeted content is disseminated and marketed on a social network, forum or discussion group where your targeted audiences are. These people may have greater than normal probabilities of being interested in what you are presenting and would most likely engage with you and your brand. You should try to identify some of the social movers in your niche within that network and build an online relationship with them – it will pay off with better social engagements coming your way.
3. Engage with Customers Where they Are Most Comfortable
Everyone wants to operate in a place where they are most comfortable with – and yeah, even in social media. Users may already be comfortable with the activities and social “lingo” that is unique in a particular network or discussion group. What may work well in one network like Facebook, may not solicit the same response when applied to another, like LinkedIn. These users may treat it offensive if you just butt in and solicit engagement just like that.
You need to build relationships and trust with these targeted audiences if you expect to get good social engagement mileage from them. Add relevant comments to discussion and avoid getting into useless arguments with these social media users. Once you build a good reputation in their turf, targeted audiences will eventually take notice and most likely visit your page, group, website or blog for further engagement.
4. Offer Innovative Solutions to Problems
Offering innovative, practical and preferably little-known solutions to certain problems social media users have will draw in considerable social engagements from those who are interested. The more unique, practical and innovative your suggested solutions are the higher engagements you will generate. Even if some people already know the solutions you suggested, if you present that in an interesting manner, people will still get notice and join in with the social activities around that post.
Doing this not only generates engagement from people who most likely suffer or encounter the same problems – and will definitely appreciate your suggested solution – it will also create for you a reputation and branding as a reliable source of useful and relevant information. They will in turn take notice of what you do, your business and whatever you are campaigning for online.
5. Create Interesting “Like” vs “Share” Posts
People love it when they can voice their opinions, even if just involves making a choice between two options. Instead of just letting them choose between Item#1 and Item#2, set it up to make one group “LIKE” Item#1 and the rest “SHARE” Item#2 as a way for users to cast their “votes” for their selection just like what Walmat did (see the image below). This way, you cater to their eagerness to voice out their selections and at the same time generate considerable social signals from all these voting activities.
6. Rely on the Power of Images
Images are very powerful elements that can generate considerable social engagement, particularly if these images are compelling, relevant, thought-provoking, hilarious, controversial and optimized. A HubSpot study confirms that posts with photos and images outperform average posts that only contain text by up to 53%.
This and other statistics just goes to show how powerful and how effective images can be in generating social engagement. They can even be more engaging if accompanied and optimized with text that describes the image well or tell a great story behind the picture. The great thing with images that generate engagement is that they can really get viral with more likes and shares, which can create greater awareness about your business if your images are properly branded to establish and identify you as the source.
7. Help People Reminisce the Good Old Days with Nostalgia
Nostalgia definitely would be a surefire way to generate engagement from online users. Nostalgia can help them reminisce the good old days, the best of times and the fondest of memories. Share an image from the past and optimize it with a background story. Close your post by asking users to share similar experiences or by simply asking if they still remember these precious moments in their lives – and just see the likes, shares and comments pour in.
8. Let Users Caption a Great Photo
We’ve established that funny, thought-provoking, controversial, awe-inspiring and simply wonderful photos can really generate social engagement from users. You can notch the engagement level up a bit by posting such great photos and letting users commend their own captions. Images are tied with emotions so make sure that your accompanying texts and descriptions will work well with that emotion, where users can participate in by sharing their own captions.
(Image source: Walmart on Facebook)
These photos can be of people, animals, things, events, situations – anything as long as it can stir people’s emotions strong enough to generate lots of engagement. It would be best to use original photos so you can include your own logos and website information. You can actually use images from any source as long as you have permission or license to use them.
9. Always Respond to People from Whom Social Engagement Comes From
This can be as basic as it gets but many digital marketers tend to overlook or downplay this important element in generation social engagement. Whenever people contributes social signals like a comment, likes or shares, always respond with a heartfelt thanks or a simple acknowledgement. These social media users will surely appreciate the response thinking that you do value their contribution and would like to engage with them more. It is basically a very human behavior: people ignore those who ignore them and talk to those who talk back at them – so keep on talking.
10. Reward People for Social Engagement
It would be a great practice to reward your most active users and those who frequently engage in social activities and interactions with your brand. Do a regular awards day to people who had the most shares or the most comments. You can give premium content or a copy of a paid eBook as a reward or crank it up a notch by giving away gift certificates if you have a physical store or business where they can redeem them from.
Word will definitely spread and the news of how you reward people for social engagement will surely attract even more targeted audiences. Doing so not only increase your social engagement level but it will also increase brand awareness, loyalty and even championing – with your business reaping all the benefits.
Social media is about engagement and interaction. It is not like the old days of traditional media and the early days of the Internet where communication is one-way and interaction with other online users is almost non-existent. Your online content can generate and drive social engagement by following some of these suggestions – and more – attracting more targeted audiences and generate better brand awareness.
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