Engagement is among the most important social media metrics and no matter how big or small your following is, it makes a real difference when it comes to the results of your campaigns. We already know that social media channels are essential for boosting brand awareness and recognition, but if you want to translate all these shares and likes into actual leads and sales, you need to go beyond posting educational and entertaining articles, videos, or infographics. Of course, superb content is the key ingredient, but you need to jazz it up with tactics which will prompt your audience to interact. What tactics am I talking about? Glad you asked! The answer in full, below.

Leverage Questions

The trick to succeeding on social media is getting as close to your followers as possible. You need to connect with them on a personal level and make them feel as if you’re talking to them directly.

One of the best ways to do that is by asking your customers relevant and specific questions. For example, Coca-Cola posted questions which required short answers such as “What’s your favorite time of day to enjoy an ice-cold Coca-Cola?” on Facebook. And it’s no secret that people love talking about themselves and their own experiences, which makes this tactic extremely effective. Don’t hesitate to ask your followers what they think about your brand, what they would change about it, or how they would improve it. The truth is that you’ll be faced with some negative comments, which is a good thing because you’ll be able to feel the pulse of your audience, learn what bothers them, and fix it. According to a widely-cited study, 68% of customers churn because they believe that the company doesn’t care about them, so by encouraging them to speak their mind, you’ll be more likely to increase your retention rate.

Similarly, AMA sessions allow your customers to ask you any question. This unique format has originated on Reddit and has spread to other social media platforms. Even the former POTUS Barack Obama hosted an AMA session back in 2012, as part of his re-election campaign, and practically started a tradition, as his successor Donald Trump also took advantage of this type of interaction with the public.

Don’t be Afraid to use Humor

Wendy’s used the National Frozen Food Day to troll McDonald’s announcement that they would be using fresh beef in around 14,000 U.S. restaurants with a hilarious tweet – “Happy #NationalFrozenFoodDay to you for all the frozen beef that’s sticking around in your cheeseburgers.” Needless to say, this tongue-in-cheek remark generated lots of laughs and retweets, and brought Wendy’s a ton of free publicity.

Humor humanizes your brand, and it’s refreshing to see a funny social media post in the sea of bland promotional messages. Jokes have the power of immediately capturing the attention of your followers and providing some much-needed comic relief to their everyday lives. If done properly, incorporating humor into your social media strategy will help you build emotional bonds with your audience, and make your brand memorable and authentic.

Of course, this approach has its risks, which is why it’s best to stay away from controversial topics, mean-spirited jokes, and inappropriate comments. Exactly this kind of behavior led to the cancelation of the rebooted ABC show “Roseanne”. Namely, after Roseanne Barr’s racial slur on Twitter in which she infamously targeted Valerie Jarret, Barack Obama’s African-American senior adviser, the TV network decided to pull the plug on the popular sitcom despite its high ratings.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident in showbiz, as James Gunn, director of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, was fired by Disney after his offensive and disturbing jokes on several sensitive topics including 9/11, AIDS, and the Holocaust resurfaced. Neither a petition by fans nor an open letter signed by the GOTG cast to rehire Gunn was enough to make Disney execs change their minds.

Sharing is Caring

Social media is a great vehicle for promoting your content, that’s for sure, but the “me me me” approach will make your brand come off as too egocentric. So, instead of constantly blowing your own horn, try to find a balance by sharing useful and relevant content made by others. Being too salesy and promotional is a surefire way of killing engagement as your followers will start suffering from brand fatigue.

Luckily, there are different rules when it comes to planning your social media content strategy and campaigns that can help you stay fresh and relevant. One of them is the 30-60-10 rule will help you find the right amount of self-promotion and achieve an ideal combo of your own posts, third-party content, and self-serving posts.

According to this strategy, you should post your original content packed with useful and educational tips 30% of the time; you should share third-party content from trusted and respectable sources 60% of the time, that is other people’s content relevant to your audience; and only 10% of the time should be used for promotional offers which actually sell your products or services.

If you share a lot of high-quality content with your audience 90% of the time, you can be sure that they won’t ignore your 10% of salesy posts. It’s worth mentioning that this way you not only bring the best and most helpful content to your followers, thus boosting engagement, but also draw the attention of people whose content you’re sharing which means that they’ll be very likely to return the favor and promote your content with their followers.

Embrace UGC

One of the best ways of sparking engagement is including your audience in your brand narrative. User-generated content will add authenticity to your social marketing efforts and allow you to connect with your followers in a personalized manner. The secret behind this tactic is obvious – instead of bombarding them with a boring monologue about your brand, you can actually create a two-way conversation with your audience. Apple has used this strategy to showcase how powerful their iPhone 7 camera was with a series of night-time photos taken by users around the world during a single night. Airbnb is another great example of how curating user-generated content can boost engagement. The company encourages their followers to share their local experiences while traveling and also uses the opportunity to showcase the properties listed on their website, as well as their hosts’ and guests’ stories.

The social media landscape is constantly evolving and changing, but these evergreen tactics always work and they can help you keep your audience engaged and responsive!

Author

Michael is a marketing exec and an avid reader, mostly spending his days researching the next great way to reach new audiences. A Lakes fan and troubled sleeper, he will always be happy to jump into any marketing-related conversation.

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