You want more social media engagement.
No really. You WANT more people to engage with your social media posts. That includes likes, shares, and comments.
Why does it matter that more followers are interacting with your social media posts? Because it’s important on so many different levels. And stroking your ego is not one of them. Sorry to burst your bubble.
Increased social media engagement will affect your search engine ranking.
Well, sort of. Let me explain.
Don’t want to get bogged down in the details? Jump down to the good stuff.
Google and the other big search engines out there use proprietary algorithms to deliver the most relevant content. That’s because their goal is to give the user what they’re looking for. Useful content. These algorithms are unfortunately treated as top secret information. They don’t actually tell us what they’re looking for. And what makes this worse, they change their criteria often.
But according to Google, social media is NOT a direct SEO (search engine optimization) ranking factor.
End of story, right?
Not quite. It’s a bit more complicated than that.
There’s plenty of evidence that social media engagement (such as likes and shares) affects ranking… somehow.
Here, see for yourself. The higher a website ranks in the search results, the more social presence the website has. Take a look at Cognitive SEO‘s graphic:
The websites that rank 1st, 2nd, and 3rd all have the greatest number of shares, comments, and likes on social media. Coincidence? I think not.
Forget about what Google says, Searchmetrics‘ white paper on ranking factors is clear:
“The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high.”
We could get pretty deep in the weeds here, but I won’t. Let me just say, ignore social media engagement at your peril.
But my social media posts aren’t getting enough likes, shares, and comments.
Don’t worry. There’s good news. You can change that. I’ll share with you how.
How to get more engagement.
1. Be real!
Customers do business with humans, not companies. A big mistake is to only post sanitized, “professional” photos with “company speak.” You have to remain true to your brand voice, but even successful buttoned-down companies have learned how to inject their human side into their social media.
Stop sounding like a press release. And start sounding like a real person. Your fans will love you for it.
2. Post pictures with people.
A habit I see with contractors and service-based businesses is to post pretty images of kitchens, bathrooms, trucks, and buildings. And you say, “what’s wrong with that?” Well, just about everything depending on your market. Images of people enjoying your product or service will engage prospects on an emotional level. They will envision themselves enjoying their transformation. However, images of inanimate objects don’t have the same emotional connection. Instead, include happy, smiley people more often.
3. Post content worth engaging with.
People want to read what they’re interested in. Since you want to increase your social media engagement, create content people will want to engage with. Choose content that will encourage a positive reaction from people. Share content that will evoke an emotional reaction. Provide content that is useful. This could be tips to make their lives easier. How to save money. How to lower their risk. Things that will improve their life.
So, keep offering value and people will keep coming back.
4. Encourage people to like, comment, and share.
A no brainer, right? But when was the last time you asked your audience to share your content? When have you asked a question? Add a call to action to your posts. People are more likely to share a post if you ask them.
5. Create polls and surveys.
This tip goes along with the previous one. Ask for specific feedback from your audience. Do you want to check the pulse of your followers? Wondering if they’re interested in a new service you’re considering? Then ask them. It could be in the form of a poll. Sometimes you just want a quick bit of feedback from your customers and prospects. You can try a free polling option like SurveyMonkey’s free online polls. Or take a survey. With surveys, you can ask open-ended questions and get more robust answers to your questions. JotForm has a free survey option. Place the link on your social media. Because getting feedback will only help your business.
6. Respond to your audience. (Join the conversation.)
To boost your presence on social media, you need to be social too. And I don’t mean just posting. You need to show up after you hit “post.” You can even ask for a conversation. Look at how Gorilla Glue does it. (BTW Gorilla Glue has a StoryBranded website.)
When a customer or prospect leaves a comment, it’s your opportunity to get involved with them on a personal level. Answer their question. Acknowledge their comment. Thank them for sharing. Even negative comments are important. That’s because these are an opportunity to showcase your customer support. Don’t ignore them. Instead, try thanking them for the negative comment. And no, I don’t mean in a snarky way. Maybe it’s just their perception. But acknowledge it. Then show empathy. If you can do something to change their attitude, do it. If it will involve a more detailed answer, encourage them to message you. Then promise you will do your best to make it right.
This will also go a long way with the rest of your followers.
7. Post daily.
The only way to keep your brand top-of-mind is to show up regularly in their newsfeed. Preferably with fresh, engaging content. Staying visible reminds your followers that you exist and have something interesting to say. But be careful here. Don’t go overboard. Because your audience doesn’t want your posts cluttering their feeds. You don’t want to appear spammy (see next tip.) At best, you’ll be ignored. At worst, they’ll unfollow or report your account. And you don’t want that. So, how often should you post? For Facebook and LinkedIn, once a day seems to be a good number.
8. Talk about your audience, not just your brand.
STOP making all your posts about your business! Talk about your customers. Show that you understand them.
Think about a networking event or a party. Someone walks up to you and strikes up a conversation. After the preliminary greetings, they begin talking about how great they are and pull out pictures of their family, last vacation, or the last five jobs they did. On and on they drone. Where does your mind go? Elsewhere, right? Or you begin planning how you will gracefully exit the conversation to find someone else to connect with.
What if we take the same scenario and your new connection begins asking how your day is going? And then they show interest in learning more about you and your business. Different outcome? Of course! You’re engaged and you begin to like the other person. They’re interested in you. Maybe then they offer an intriguing solution to one of the pain points you raised. Will you be more receptive to their input. You probably will.
“Social media is about the people. Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.”– Matt Goulart, digital marketing executive
Be the guide, not the hero of the story.
You’re the hero of your own story. Don’t try to be the hero in someone else’s story.
Our brains are wired at a primitive level to react positively to those who can help us survive or make life easier. So that’s why you need to show how your product or service will improve their life.
9. Use video.
Social media users are consuming more video content than ever before. Don’t miss out. 52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. And statistics show that social video generates 12 times the shares than text and images combined.
Don’t waste your social media potential. Post videos. And don’t worry about spending a ton of money on professional videos all the time. Quick videos with your smartphone tend to be more personal and generate more social engagement. Post a video of a special occasion at your office. Share a video of your employees working on a recent project. You get the idea.
10. Share content that’s relevant to your audience.
You might need to experiment a little with this one. Notice the types of posts that get the most engagement. Post more of those. Try something different. It may feel like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it sticks, but marketing tends to work that way. We like to say, test, test, and then test again. What works for someone else may not work for you. What works in Tampa may not work in Terre Haute.
This chicken coop company offers helpful articles on topics their audience is interested in.
11. And last, don’t give up.
In conclusion, boosting and maintaining social media engagement is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not seeing immediate results. Keep providing value to your audience. Keep showing up. Dialogue with your followers. Vary your content. Be the guide. It will all pay off eventually.
If you’re serious about elevating your brand in the minds of your audience, get your FREE copy of our 102 Social Media Starters below. Happy selling!