Like any other form of marketing, social media for smaller businesses can be a challenge. Not having a clear vision or goal in mind of what you want to achieve on social media is what will normally end up causing a business to question its value.
Building a strong and engaging online presence takes time and commitment. It’s important to grow an online community and also find out what truly resonates with them. As new social platforms continue to emerge, or as we continue discovering new features on existing platforms, it is evident that one of the top struggles for small businesses is knowing how to boost social media engagement which will ultimately help with brand visibility and awareness.
In 2017, the average user spent 135 minutes each day actively using social media. Which has been a dramatic increase from only 5 years ago. More people are spending more time online than ever before and as time goes on, we are becoming increasingly reliant on our technology to keep us updated on the things that matter most. Social media is the main way most people connect and share information with friends and family, but 30% of users also use these platforms as a way to follow brands.
It’s hard to grow an audience, create great content, and increase engagement. All too often we see brands giving up on social media after just a few short aggravating months. Be patient and give it at least 8 months before you start to really understand your audience and what content works and what doesn’t. So where to begin? It all starts with planning. Create a social media strategy in order to help you achieve your goals and measure success. The social strategy should include the following steps:
Once the strategy step is complete, it will help set the tone for the social media campaign! But, you’ll only see these benefits when there’s two-way communication and engagement happening. If you’re throwing out mostly promotional content or, even worse, posting sparsely and inconsistently, you’ll see minimum engagement from your audience and very little return on your time investment.
Try these tactics to promote more engagement across your social channel:
This is an important tip for small businesses! It is always better to be authentic on social media. Consider brands you follow or brands that are known to have a strong online presence. What about them makes them special and stand out? Usually brands with a strong presence tend to have a strong personality to go with it which is evident through their wording and creatives used on posts and not just pushing bland promotional content.
Remember: Creating a great social media presence isn’t only about promoting services or products, it is about connection and experiences!
It is important to draw attention with eye-catching images. Instagram and Snapchat are visually-driven social channels, so that goes without saying, but Facebook and Twitter allow you to post status updates without an image. Even if you don’t need an image to share a post, Facebook and Twitter posts with images often see double the amount of engagement compared to posts without one.
Do not post irrelevant, highly pixelated, low quality images because that can send potentially indicate to users that it might also reflect the work or product quality offered. Use photos from your product catalogue or find high quality stock photos. Get creative! Check out our infographic here with tips on how to take great pics for social.
EXTRA TIP: Utilize video whenever possible. Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
Facebook and Instagram both allow you to put a little financial push behind your posts to boost reach and social media engagement. With recent changes to the Facebook algorithm attempting to promote more interaction among family and friends, posting organic content will not help yield the engagement results you're likely looking for. Boosting content is a great workaround to this update and will ensure your posts are getting into the feed of the customers who matter most to your brand. The best part is that you can target specific users within many of the social platform ad managers.
Example: If your goal is to drive high quality traffic to your website, select the top performing post. Create an audience that is most likely to also enjoy this post. This can be done by creating a lookalike audience that is similar to your website visitors.
Posing open-ended questions is a great way to spark a response from your followers and engage in a two-way dialogue. This is considered one of the most effective tactics, especially when the question is relevant to their interests (this relates back to really know who your target audience is)! The more you know about your audience, the easier it is to come up with great questions. Start testing out different questions and track which ones seem to generate more response.
Types of questions:
The more users who answer, the higher the chances of creating more discussion, with more discussion comes more engagement which increases the reach of your social media posts. Remember to react and reply to most (if not all) comments from your audience, this will create more trust!
If you want to get your audience really involved, then launch some giveaways that revolve around user generated content. Ask for photo or video submissions along with tagging friends or liking the business page for a chance to win. This will increase engagement and your fan base!
Don’t make the mistake of only focusing on promoting your products or services in every post. This is the worst way to create meaningful engagement with your fans. Your audience has interests beyond the products and solutions you offer, and they will lose interest if you only talk about your business. Along with providing value your posts should cover a wider range of topics that can still be industry related. Share trending topics in the industry, relevant memes for humour, staff bios, community events, etc. When you are creating your content calendar, make sure to stick with the 80/20 rule. 80% being value-driven content versus 20% promotional content. This is what will ultimately boost your engagement rate.
Remember that success follows passion. Be passionate about your social media strategy and create content that is customer-centric. Whether it’s a survey, giveaway, video, update, or an interesting article, do your best to give your customers a takeaway. When they see value in your social posts they’ll be far more likely to engage in the future!
Are you struggling with increasing online engagement? Don’t have the time or resources to implement these tactics? If you are looking for more information and solutions to boosting your social media engagement, we've got you covered! Book a free consultation call today.