Written by Rebecca Hansen
Even if you put a lot of thought and effort into your business’s social media presence, you probably know too well the frustration of posting an update and watching it slowly wither and blow away without so much as a cricket acknowledging its existence.
Because the social media landscape is an overwhelming glut of information, and because it moves so quickly, it can be hard to get your content seen. If you’ve ever wondered why you even bother, or spent 20 minutes carefully crafting a post only to have 7 people see it, this advice is for you.
As of this writing in October 2017, the best strategy to get your content actually seen on social media is engagement. If a user likes, comments on or retweets a piece of content, it will be distributed to that user’s followers. This creates a ripple effect, spreading your influence far beyond your own group of fans.
It can feel like a chicken and egg problem – after all, how can you expect people to engage with content they never see in the first place? Well, after creating a decent sized audience (that isn’t just your mom and the class of ‘04), these are the top five strategies you should put into place to maximize engagement.
Use a multimedia approach
It’s probably no surprise that the most engaging posts on Facebook usually include video. These are followed closely by those that utilize images. A link-based post is the social media equivalent of wearing your underwear on the outside of your pants – everyone is going to look somewhere else.
I’m assuming you spend some time on social media yourself. Think about the things you enjoy seeing at the end of the day when you put your feet up and pop open Instagram or Twitter for 15 minutes. Create content that is interesting, varied and worth people’s time.
Always include a CTA
Don’t be afraid to ask users to engage with your content. Pose questions, make suggestions, even direct viewers to complete an action. There’s a big difference between “These are the new bricks that came in this week,” and, “These new bricks were just delivered. Which ones would you use in your yard?”
In the age of information, we are always taking in data. After a bit it’s hard to even notice where one piece ends and another begins. But an invitation to participate may jog us into engaging, remembering, and even sharing with others.
Engage with users
Say you’ve asked your audience which bricks they would use in their yard. John Smith replies that he can picture the gray ones in a retaining wall he’s been planning, with greenery draping over them.
This is great! John has engaged with your content, which raises its value in the eyes of the Facebook (or Twitter, or Instagram…you get the idea) gods. His friends and family may see his comment come across their newsfeeds, dragging your story with it. But don’t stop now!
React to John’s comment as your business account. Reply, asking how high the wall would be or if he knows what plants he wants to use. Tell him about a wall you built last week. Invite him to contact you if he wants a free quote on the project!
Once you have gotten someone’s attention, in other words, try to keep the conversation going.
People do love to talk about themselves. A recent campaign we were working on illustrates this: we asked our audience to describe the worst car they had ever owned.
You should have read the stories – there were tears rolling down our cheeks because we couldn’t stop laughing. Everyone enjoyed those stories, and then taking a moment to write out their own lemon tale. I’m not saying there was one-upmanship going on, but I am saying the stories kept getting better and better – and the post got more and more engaging.
Figure out how to get your people to talk about themselves, and you’re made.
Appeal to emotions
Psychologically speaking, we are all far more psyche than logic. If you want to attract attention, increase engagement, sell a product or create a fan base then you need to learn to talk to people’s emotions. This is one of the reasons why pictures and video perform so well – there’s less processing to do, and the message makes a beeline to the heart of the matter.
So don’t be afraid to make your audience laugh, cry, roll their eyes, gasp in shock or even rage a tiny bit. Emotions are what get us moving. If action is what you want, you need to start with a feeling. Then you can plug in your reasons and give a little shove.
Want to create successful, engaging social media content? With a bit of intent and these simple techniques, your message can gain the momentum it needs to leave the orbit of your inner circle and enter the vastness of cyberspace.