Whatever your personal or business goals may be, social media is now a vital component of building an online presence and driving an audience to your brand. A successful social media strategy has the ability to grow and strengthen relationships with your community, bring traffic to your website and increase your sales.
Unfortunately, the success of a brand / blog / influencer is often measured solely by the follower count they have. It’s all about the follower numbers – the higher the followers, the better something or someone is, right?
What many forget to consider is the level of engagement someone has in comparison to their number of followers. Followers can be bought or can be gained fairly quickly and easily by adopting a frequent follow / unfollow strategy and are therefore often a deceptive metric to base opinions on authority. Social media engagement levels are often far more transparent – the higher the level of engagement, the more invested the audience.
Unfortunately social media is a minefield, and even when we have solid strategies in place we are often at the mercy of numerous things beyond our control, particularly unexpected and dramatic changes in social media algorithms and platform functionality.
However, there are a number of quick and easy ways to boost your social media and website engagement without wanting to delete everything, throwing your tech in the bin and walking away.
What is social media and website engagement?
Engagement isn’t just about the number of comments or likes a post receives, it’s more about building a relationship with a community of people who are invested in you and potentially your blog, website and / or business. Again, followers can be bought, whereas an active and engaged audience takes time, effort and some advanced planning.
There are a whole bunch of detailed (and sometimes confusing) metrics that can measure engagement, but essentially an engagement is when someone has interacted with your content. This can include:
- Shares / retweets / repins
- Answers to polls or surveys
- Mentions, tags
Before you begin, analyse how authentic your engagement is and the type of engagement you want.
Social media is filled with rather uninspiring forms of engagement. The ‘like’ button is the most typical across all platforms, is the most popular and coveted form of engagement and is regarded as the metric that demonstrates a level of authority that someone has. However, I find it rather misleading:
For example, the number of likes a post receives does not directly correlate with the number of times a post has been viewed, and a ‘like’ on a blog post does not mean that a post has necessarily been read at all. There are a number of likes that regularly appear on my blog posts within about 10 seconds of pressing the publish button. Some of these posts have been over a thousand words long – even the quickest of readers could not have read it in that time. A ‘like’ also does not give any information as to what the reader thought about the post. They liked it? Why?
Note: Before you start to incorporate ideas to boost your engagement levels, consider the big picture and your goals – if a goal is to increase the number of likes you receive this perfectly fine, but it shouldn’t be your entire focus.
Here are some quick and easy ways to boost your social media and website engagement.
Get to know your audience by asking questions and creating polls
Undoubtedly the easiest way to increase engagement is by asking your audience a question. Some of these can be open-ended questions that encourage conversation, while others can just require a simple answer without fear of sparking a debate or alienating some of your audience. For example, “What was your favourite read of last year and why?” will require more detailed answers, while “Which book cover do you prefer?” allows for a simple choice without contributing further. Most platforms, particularly Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are perfect for this sort of interaction – often the most popular tweets I see have question-based content.
Creating a poll is the same as asking a closed-ended question – it requires little input but still makes your audience feel valued.
Similarly, ask questions at the end of blog posts – I try and do this at the end of every evergreen blog post and leave the comments open for a while afterwards to give others the chance to share their thoughts.
Be active and create regular content
A great way to keep your audience interested and engaged is to be active on your website and share regular content. Content is anything that you have written or shared on your blog / website and social media including articles, How-To’s, lists, videos, photos, graphics and infographics, quotes, testimonials, templates, thoughts and links, and it is more likely that regular content will attract a higher level of engagement. Be unique in what you share – make sure your content is made of your own authentic voice.
It is also useful to share your content during the times of day when your audience is at its most active by using your analytics – here’s a really useful analytics guide that may help.
Ensure that your content provides a level of value. Give continuous reasons for your audience to keep engaging by sharing something of use: advice, tips, thoughts, even something that makes them laugh and brightens their day. Some of my favourite Instagram accounts are on my following list solely because they are fun, witty and bring a smile to my face.
Engage with and share content from others
If nothing else, respond to as much as possible. Reply to comments quickly, thank people who have shared your content,
Similarly, and equally as important, share things from others. Have you seen an infographic that you have found helpful? Share it with your followers – it’s likely that they would also find it useful, helps you to promote someone else’s work and gives your audience a voice other than your own. This will also encourage reciprocity from the community – if others see that you are promoting their work, they may return the favour.
Note: ensure that you always provide credit if not sharing directly from someone else’s platform. Tag in social media handles, provide backlinks / pingbacks, and where necessary, ask permission in advance.
A hashtag is a label or category that allows others to find something within a specific theme or content and, while they are still primarily used on Twitter and Instagram, they are now becoming more popular across other platforms including Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. A hashtag can be used for everything: #cats, #dogs, #football, #sandwiches etc, but the main focus is to use categories that will gain interest in your content and grow your readership and traffic.
Similarly, participate in trending hashtags on platforms like Twitter. Trending hashtags are the most popular topics on at a particular moment in time and can be found in the search section of Twitter – the twenty most popular ones will automatically appear. If something is trending, take the opportunity to join in by sharing your own thoughts or base a new blog post around a hashtag and publish it. (Note: if you’re going to write a blog post, you’ll need to be quick – trending hashtags change frequently within a short space of time).
Want to know more about using hashtags? Here is a list of useful hashtags that may boost your social media engagement.
Create a contest or giveaway
Everyone loves winning something, and a content or giveaway is the perfect way to get your audience engaged with what you have to offer. This can be anything – a free product, a copy of your latest book or course, a free advertising space etc, but needs to provide value to your audience and is something that they want. Decide what you want to offer, how long the giveaway will last for, the criteria for people to enter (this usually involves location, accounts to follow, tagging friends and answering a question), and run with it.
Pay attention to current events, calendar days and challenges
Take note of current events and add in your own content if it is related to your brand. Be subtle, respectful and always consider that you have the right tone (I’ve seen some really off-the-mark content in the last year).
I love mapping out calendar days during the year. Annual celebrations and like Christmas, Diwali, Easter and Chinese New Year will always be popular topics every year, but I always like to look at international days like International Women’s Day, World Mental Health Day, and even more slightly quirky days like World Introvert Day and National Chocolate Day for inspiration (any excuse for chocolate!).
I also like to participate in challenges each year. #Whamageddon is currently my favourite, despite the fact that I have never managed to complete it fully.
Curate your content differently for each platform
Remember the Dolly Parton challenge at the beginning of 2020, where people parodied how they present themselves on different social media platforms? This is a really quick and easy way to boost engagement, by changing the way that you communicate depending on your audience. This doesn’t mean that multiple pieces of different content need to be created each day, more adapting the tone of your content to suit where it is going to be seen and who will see it.
Boosting your social media and website engagement will ultimately be tailored to individual goals. Analyse your current engagement, develop some strategies and give it a go!
What about you guys? What are your favourite ideas to boost your social media and website engagement?
You can also find me on Twitter @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to follow my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks