Social media can be a hugely powerful tool for businesses to reach customers, but many businesses struggle to really connect with customers on those platforms due to limited participation. For that reason, social media engagement is an important metric for any business with an online marketing strategy.
If you think that you need a huge advertising budget in order to improve social engagement, you’re mistaken. This article will focus on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, and will explain how to get more engagement based on methods that have been proven, statistically, to work. It will cover what types of posts you should create for each site, when to post to be most visible, and how to increase visibility without spending a fortune on paid ads.
Create Posts Specific to the Platform
There isn’t one type of social media post that works best with every platform. On Twitter, you want to create short, pithy posts and interesting headlines. For Facebook, images and media tend to do well, increasing engagement by as much as 85%. Your long-form pieces will likely fit in better on LinkedIn.
What this means is that you need to create posts that are specific to each platform your business uses, rather than just copying or recycling the same posts on every platform. (That can get repetitive for people who follow you on more than one social platform.) In addition, creating posts that are optimized for each platform can increase the likelihood that people see your posts and actually respond or interact with them in some way.
On many platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, asking questions can be a great way to increase engagement. A simple question that starts conversations or gathers customer feedback gives customers a reason to interact with you. According to JDR Group, Facebook posts that include questions get around twice as many comments as other posts.
When you use this tactic, be specific about how customers should respond, even if it seems obvious. On Twitter, you could say, “Tweet in your responses,” while you might say, “Snap me back,” on Snapchat. At the very least, this lets people know that you actually want responses and aren’t asking a rhetorical question.
Include Calls to Action
Along those same lines, be specific about other calls to action. Increasing social media engagement doesn’t just mean getting people to respond to your posts. Encourage engagement through other actions, such as liking your Facebook posts, retweeting your content on Twitter, and repinning your images on Pinterest.
Customers don’t always need specific calls to action in order to take part in those activities. However, including them sometimes helps improve those engagement numbers. For example, if you share a recipe or tutorial on Pinterest and you want people to repin it, you could say, “Repin to save this post for later.” This may get customers to think about situations where they could use that information in the future, which increases the likelihood they will repin the content.
Time Posts Carefully
Timing plays a big part in improving social engagement. Think about it: If you only post content at night when your target audience is asleep, they aren’t likely to see it. Your fans miss the opportunity to engage with your brand. Each social platform and target market has different preferences and best practices when it comes to timing. Experiment with different posting schedules to see what works best for your particular business.
In general, think about when members of your target audiences are using those platforms. If you target professionals on Facebook, you may need to post when they’re home from work for the day. However, if your target is made up of stay-at-home parents, then midday could be a great time to post. According to Social Media London, on average, afternoon tends to be a good time to post content if you want to get shares and clicks.
Measure to See What Works
When it comes to timing, posting content, and even the platforms you use, it’s important that you keep an eye on what works and then make adjustments. Most social platforms have a dashboard with metrics where you can view engagement statistics such as responses, favourites, and re-posts. You can also go through your posts to find out which ones performed better than others.
Keep an eye on trends that may impact how you post in the future. For example, if you notice that your photo posts on Facebook get more engagement than those without photos, increase your photo use in the future. If you find that you get more responses when you tweet in the morning rather than the afternoon, schedule more Twitter posts during those times.
Respond to Followers
When people do engage with your social media content, it can be helpful (or even necessary) for you to respond in some way. You don’t have to send a personal thank you message to everyone who likes your Facebook posts or favourites your tweets, but answering questions or thanking people for sharing your content can go a long way.
Personalised responses to your followers’ posts on social media can make them feel more connected to your brand — they’ll appreciate an actual person (not an automated reply) engaging with them online. These responses can also just keep conversations going, which can increase engagement for your social media efforts in both the short and long term.
Most importantly, when customers or potential customers ask questions or offer feedback to companies on social media, they often expect a response. Ignoring or forgetting to answer their posts can do harm to your online reputation.
Engage With Others
You don’t have to wait for people to respond to or interact with your posts in order for you to engage with them on social media. You can jumpstart your social media conversations by replying to posts.
There are several ways to do this:
- Find members of your target audience or industry influencers to follow on social media, and then interact with their posts on occasion, especially when they’re relevant to your business or offerings.
- Repost content from others in your industry when you think it will be helpful or interesting to your followers.
- Create posts and mention or tag relevant people in the posts.
However you go about it, starting conversations and engaging with others online can help increase the number of active fans who will interact with your content.
Contests and giveaways are fun incentives that drive social media engagement and can help you improve your engagement. Your content and process should vary based on the platform, but the general idea is to give people an incentive to interact with your content in some way. Contests often result in a quick spike in engagement, according to Jellyfish; however, when done right, they can lead to more long-term engagement as well.
On Twitter, a simple offer of a free product to one person who retweets a particular tweet on a given day will help your content get shared and will get people involved with your content. On Instagram, ask people to share an image of them using your product —have them tag your account so you can track the entrants.
Contests lend themselves to certain platforms better than others, and some sites, like Facebook, have specific rules about hosting contests or giveaways. Read the rules and create a simple process for tracking and rewarding those who enter.
Give It Time
Improving social engagement isn’t something that happens overnight, though conversations and contests can certainly help. However, if you want to build lasting and consistent engagement, as well as relationships with your fans, you need to work on these things over a long period of time.
Today, in the age of the customer, be dedicated to putting in the time and effort in order to get great results on social media. Even paid ads won’t see great results if you don’t back up those ads with quality content and consistent engagement.
Follow these tips. You may see slow growth, but you need to give it some time for your strategy to work. Ads can give your social media efforts a boost in the short term, but you don’t need to spend your whole marketing budget just for a short-lived spike in numbers. Consistency and patience go a long way in making sure your social media engagement grows as it should. With continued effort and an understanding of the Internet of Things (and how an interconnected lifestyle may be the future of buying habits, even for something as simple as lightbulbs), your social media campaigns could eventually be the pinnacle of your marketing efforts.
Original Post: https://www.salesforce.com/uk/blog/2016/12/how-to-improve-your-social-engagement-without-ads.html
About 62% of all businesses in the US have under five employees, and 76% of those small business owners consider marketing to be a major challenge. Most small business owners are hard-pressed for manpower, making it tough for them to dedicate resources to marketing. However, social media has been identified as a potent marketing channel for businesses of all sizes and the need to be present on social is more strong now than before.
With mobile apps, small business owners and social media marketers can manage social media marketing without much effort. Here is a list of super useful apps to simplify your social media marketing efforts.
LastPass means last password, or the last password that someone using the app will ever need to recall, because the app stores passwords and lets users access their accounts without having to type them every single time. As social media marketers or business owners, you may use multiple apps and websites that require accounts with passwords. LastPass is a great way to save the time wasted on logging in and out of multiple accounts.
LastPass has a mobile version with complete features that integrates its web app, so you can create new accounts on your desktop and access them on your mobile device with ease. You do this by creating a LastPass account, downloading the app on all your devices and logging into the app on each of them. Once you have, LastPass will store passwords across your devices and allow you convenient access from all of them.
LastPass is available as a web app and mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
With DrumUp, you can source fresh content relevant to your company to post on a daily basis. The content curation and social scheduling software helps you manage your complete social media presence with ease. You begin by signing up with one of your social media pages (Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter). Once on the software, you can add the rest of your social media pages.
Next, you set your keyword preferences. You can also add the RSS feeds of you favorite news and industry content sites. DrumUp’s machine learning algorithm sources content based on these settings and suggests them to you in a “Recommendations” feed. From the feed you can schedule content to be posted at a specific date and time across multiple social media accounts. You can also let the app choose a schedule time for you, or store the articles that you like in a content library for future use. Additionally, the software lets you create custom posts with images, emojis and GIFs, and tracks all of your posts to report engagement and click-through data. You can use DrumUp’s mobile app to quickly schedule some posts or review recommended content when you find time in between tasks.
DrumUp is available as a web app and mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
Social media feeds are very crowded. About 500 million tweets are sent out each day, and for your content to stand-out and catch your followers’ attention, you need eye-catching images.
Pikiz is a simple graphic editing software that lets you create images for social media in a short span of time. You begin by installing the app and creating an account. Once you have, you can choose from a list of canvas sizes depending on which social media platform you intend to post your content on. The software has a collection of stock images and basic templates that you can work with. You can choose an image for your background and add text or an overlay with ease. You can also choose from a host of interesting fonts and coloring options to make your image more engaging. The editing options are very simple and intuitive. You can create an engaging social media graphic in a matter of a few minutes. Considering that the stock photos on the app look great, you don’t need to be a great designer to create graphics on the app.
Post creating the image, you can either download it or directly share from the software to your social media accounts.
Pikiz is available as a web app and mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
Some of the best marketing tactics that I have come across have been on Quora. The Q&A community has over 100 million active users and is just the right place to find useful information that you can use to amp-up your social media marketing efforts. The best part about Quora is that people share their actual experience, and the answers (the good ones) are very specific and usually actionable. Once you have viewed a few questions on a topic or submitted some of your own, the app intuitively begins to display Q&As related to your interests on your feed.
You can also use Quora to answer questions and build your influence in your industry. In other words, you can be your company’s influencer. To find the right questions, you need to state your area of expertise in your profile details. Once you have, the app will find and deliver questions in that area to you. It is good to put some effort into making your answers precise and useful. Doing that will earn you “up-votes” and followers on Quora. Where relevant, you can suggest your product/service to people who are seeking them and in the process earn visibility fro your company.
Quora is available as a web app and mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
One of the ways to destroy you social media brand, is by miscalculating it. Your brand is what people say it is, and unless you are monitoring their words closely, you are miscalculating your brand. For instance, McDonald’s introduced the “#McDStories” hashtag in 2012 to encourage customers to talk about their “McD experience”. Instead, the brand got stories about weight-loss that people observed by avoiding McD food, and rumors about body parts being found in their facilities.
Your audience will talk about you brand, whether you want them to or not, and there is very little that you can do to control everything that they say. The best way to manage your brand name, is by monitoring it and responding swiftly. Social media marketing tools like Brand24 help with that process. You can set up “Projects” on Brand24, each with one keyword/theme that you want to monitor. The obvious keyword to monitor is your brand name. Once you have created that project, the tool will alert you of mentions as they happen, or on a daily or weekly report. The real-time alerts that the tool offers are useful because you can thank people for positive mentions and attend to the negative ones before they cause any real damage. Brand24 also has a sentiment analysis feature that sorts mentions based on the emotions associated with them, so you can deal with the more pressing ones first.
Brand24 is available as a web app and mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
Businesses create a ton of content on a daily basis – email pitches, blog posts and the lot. Trello lets you manage your content in one place.
The Trello dashboard has columns with cards in them. You can label columns from the left of your dashboard to the right to represent stages of a process. Each column can have cards that represent parts of each stage. For instance, the first column can be where your team members submit tasks, the second can be where you assign approved tasks to different team members, the third column can be for submission of content and the fourth for completed tasks. Every card can hold attachments in multiple formats. Trello also lets you add deadlines to the cards and view completion status at a glance.
The cards can be moved between columns as the tasks progress. To communicate with your teammates, you can tag them and leave comments for them in the cards.
Trello is a super efficient way to manage tasks in a business, especially when you’re on the go. It is available as a web app and mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
Most small business marketers can’t set aside the time necessary to create content for multiple social media platforms. IFTTT can help bridge that gap.
IFTTT stands for “If this, then that”. It is an app where you can create recipes for automated content posting. For instance, you can instruct the app to post your Facebook statuses to Twitter, or send you an email each time your favorite publication posts something. There are quite a few diverse recipes on the app that integrate different social media apps and tools. You can create a set of recipes to cover your content marketing efforts on social media.
You begin by choosing a “Trigger channel”, a “Trigger action” and an “Action channel”. You then need to fill out the trigger details to make you recipe specific. Say your trigger channel is Twitter, you trigger action could be “New mention of you” and your action channel can be email. So when someone mentions you on Twitter, you will get an email. Several social media marketers have listed their recipes in articles. All you have to do is find such articles on a top publication sites, and copy the recipes to the dot, and you’ll instantly and effortlessly have a powerful social media marketing plan.
IFTTT is available as a web app and mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
If you have client/subscriber email addresses stored on a CRM or excel sheet, you can upload them on MailChimp to create an automated email campaign. Email campaigns can help nurture new leads and prompt existing customers to reorder.
MailChimp’s email marketing software comes with pre-designed templates and a drag and drop editor that makes creating emails easy. After you have created your email campaign you can schedule it to go out to the email list that you have uploaded. You can also use the app to segment your email list and target customers with content targeted at them. The software also offers analytics to track the effectiveness of your campaign.
MailChimp’s mobile app is useful in managing your email lists and campaigns on the go. You can set up the campaigns on your desktop and then monitor them conveniently from your mobile device.
MailChimp is available as a web app and mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
You can’t optimize how you spend resources available to you unless you know what is and isn’t working for you. Google Analytics is a completely free tool that gives you useful insights, like where your traffic is coming from. The tool has traffic sources broken down to each social media platform. You can use the data to identify and boost the platform that is driving you the most traffic. For instance, if most of your traffic is coming from Facebook, you will be able to verify that fact and allocate more resources to the platform.
You can also add UTM parameters to social media posts to identify the more successful ones. Google’s URL builder can help you create unique UTMs for each of your posts. Once you have created them and set-up conversion tracking for your social media posts, you will be able to track your posts’ success. The mobile version of Google Analytics can be a quick means of tracking the progress of your social media activity when on the go.
You can access your Google Analytics dashboard on Android and iOS devices.
Social media marketing can be time-consuming without the right apps to help. With the right mix of apps, you can achieve your marketing goals without spending excessive amounts of time on implementation.
- Social media marketers/social media management – based on the title that you choose
- Mobile apps
- Social media marketing
- Small business
Disha Dinesh is a content writer at Godot Media, a leading content creation firm. Her interests include social media and content marketing for small businesses.
Many businesses use social media to promote their business and engage with their target audience. They hire designers, writers and social media experts to build a strong brand through a creative communication strategy.
Social media provided a level playing field to small businesses and individuals to compete with established brands and make a name for themselves without spending a fortune on their marketing efforts. Over time, the platforms became highly competitive and cluttered.
Today, building trust on social media is an uphill task for new businesses. Not all new ventures can afford to hire the top rated professionals to develop unique messaging. And yet, they have to become a reliable brand on social media to survive and thrive.
When you don’t have deep pockets, time and patience become your best friends. In real life, you consistently need to do genuine work to win the trust of the people. There is no shortcut; you have to be patient, take a stand and sacrifice short term gains to become an authentic voice in society. The same goes for building trust on social media.
No matter what business you are in, there are three things that you must do to become trustworthy on social media:
1. Be Accountable
As a business or an individual, you must be accountable for your actions, policies, products, services, or communication. The accountability is not meant only for customers. You have to be responsible towards your employees as well.
Through social media messaging, you need to prove that you are accountable for any action you or your employees take. Admit your mistake when necessary and ensure that the same doesn’t get repeated. If you are selling products or services of other brands (if you are a trader or brokerage firm), you have to be accountable for whatever information you provide to your customers.
In certain cases, you may not control the behavior of buyers or sellers. However, you need to handle the situation with complete responsibility and show this to your social media audience through appropriate messaging.
2. Be Transparent
Transparency develops trust. Being transparent is the easiest way to build trust in real life as well as on social media. However, being transparent is also tricky for the business. You can’t be 100% open, as it will go against your business interest to share everything publicly. However, you need to decide the degree of transparency you are willing to adopt to build trust. Some companies publish their income reports on their websites to build trust among their target audiences. This is an instance of a high level of transparency. Some of the businesses show real working and internal processes through videos, images or blogs. They hide the critical parts whereas show what is relevant for end users. This is the middle level of transparency. You need to decide whether you want to show a low, middle or high level of transparency to build trust for your brand.
3. Be Authentic
This is the most basic requirement for being trustworthy. Being authentic means being true to yourself. The Internet is full of expert articles and contents that shows how to do everything in your life. However, readers believe very few of these blogs.
If you want your content to be read and liked by the people, then be honest while writing. Don’t exaggerate the benefits of your products or services. No one can advise you on how to become authentic. You simply need to write your feeling and experiences honestly to become a trustworthy person or business.
If you change your stand to please a particular audience, then you will be like the politicians; loved by some and hated by others but trusted by none. The choice is obviously yours.
It takes years to build trust — and five minutes to destroy it. Therefore, every word or graphic posted on your social media page should adhere to certain standards set by you. It doesn’t mean that you should be afraid of making mistakes. It simply implies that being original and sincere towards your customers is an effective way of building a brand.
You can’t buy trust. However, you can definitely sell a trustworthy brand at a premium price.
Have a long-term vision and be patient to deal with short-term hiccups and disappointments to build an ever enduring brand on social media.