Anticipating comments, likes, and shares on social media after posting can feel a lot like waiting for someone important to call after exchanging contact information. In the old days, we checked our messages several times an hour, heard phantom phone rings, and felt the minutes pass as if they were hours while we waited for the call. As businesses building our social media accounts, we are constantly searching for instant gratification, often expecting immediate and significant engagement on our content. No matter how many times we log in to peek at activity, if we aren’t taking the necessary steps to encourage our audience to interact with us, it just won’t happen. Before focusing on increasing engagement, ensure that you are planning posts in advance, posting frequently, and incorporating a mixture of material in your followers’ news feeds. These three activities are essential for growing and maintaining your following, as well as encouraging engagement. Next, focus on engagement by posting share-worthy content, asking questions, and communicating directly with the target audience. Each activity is an effective method that brands use to build action taking audiences.
POST SHARE-WORTHY CONTENT
In 1996, Bill Gates wrote the now infamous phrase “content is king.” This still rings true in social media marketing today. We live in a world of high digital consumption. Social users eat content up like Pac Man devours little dots and bouncing foods. Churning our content constantly takes significant time and effort. Getting a few likes, shares, and comments is not only good for business but also provides a sense of accomplishment and gratification. A post is typically more likely to receive actions if it motivates, entertains, teaches, or identifies with someone in a meaningful way. If you have a good understanding of your target audience, this should be an easy task. For example, hardcore coffee drinkers feel strongly about having access to coffee and how coffee is their first priority in the morning. Not only is their love for the bean-based beverage expressed on mugs and shirts, it’s also a common meme or topic shared on social media. The connection the subject has with users is what makes it share-worthy. Developing content that has a strong connection with users will likely encourage them to respond by liking, commenting, or if we’re lucky, sharing the post.
It’s important that we ask for our desired outcomes. If you post with the goal of gaining comments, it’s helpful if you share that with your audience. One technique for increasing comments is by asking questions. However, this can be tricky. The last results we want are a posted question with no answers or one that sparks negative controversy and causes comment feuds. As we know, everyone is continuously scrolling through social media, so the question must compel a person to want to stop and type a response. The same principles mentioned above for share-worthy content can be applied here. Questions should motivate, entertain, teach, or identify with someone in a meaningful way. If someone feels passionate about an idea, product, or service, they will want an opportunity to express their feelings. When someone replies to your questions, take the time to appreciate them. The user will remember the positive feedback and will be likely to continue to engage.
COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH TARGET AUDIENCE
Post engagement is as important to your followers as it is to your business. No one wants to send a message out on a network and feel unheard or unseen by the community. Acting on your followers’ posts will entice them to return the favor and develop a deeper connection with your brand. Simply liking a post isn’t enough, even though any support is appreciated. For a business, it may not make sense to share your audience’s posts but responding to stories and commenting on posts is a great way to show support. In the social media algorithm world, each activity, such as likes and comments, has a different rank or worth. Shares and comments have more worth than likes. So, take a few moments a day and set aside time to communicate directly with your audience. Showing your followers and those you want as followers some love on social media will help you achieve your long-term social media goals.
Increasing engagement on social media doesn’t happen overnight but success can be had with the right approach and dedication. Posting share-worthy content, asking questions, and communicating directly with the target audience is a winning recipe. Schedule around 20 minutes a day on each networking application to engage directly with your audience. In your planning, find appropriate topics and times to ask questions and request audience participation. Finally, take Bill Gates’ word on content and ensure that you are posting messages that motivate, entertain, teach, or connect with your audience.
Kelly Conlan is the marketing and communications director for DermaMed Solutions, an administrator for the Esthetician Connection, and a freelance marketing and social media consultant. Conlan discovered her enthusiasm for skin care over 12 years ago and found a home in the aesthetic industry. She holds a bachelor of science in business, with a focus on marketing and management, from Penn State and has expertise in generating content and strategic marketing plans to increase brand awareness for aesthetic manufactures, as well as spas, medical spas, and plastic surgery practices. In recent years, Conlan has found a new passion in the healing powers of CBD and hemp-based cannabinoids. Research and education are top priorities for Conlan as she continues her in-depth exploration of the developing uses and benefits for CBD.