What is Social Media Engagement and Why is it More Important than Followers?
For lots of small businesses social media can be an overwhelming thought. It's a noisy and jam packed place to try and shout about your company and gain brand awareness. The idea of social media management can also be overwhelming because you've got to spend time and effort targeting the right audience on each network.
The problem is only as big as you make it and can depend on how you create authentic interactions, monitor discussions and engage with others. A lot of businesses don't feel comfortable with their consumer engagement methods - but don't worry! I've got you covered. I'm going to explain exactly what social media engagement is, why it's more important than the number of followers you have any how to boost it organically.
What is social media engagement?
Engagement shouldn't be thought of as a single interaction with a follower. Think of it as the relationship you have with your followers. It's an open line of communication, a two way relationship where you like and comment on each other's posts.
Engagement changes the way we think about customer experience. In order to have a positive relationship with your customers, you need to be with them through thick and thin - which means being there for them even when they're not commenting/liking your pictures.
Why is it more important than your number of followers?
As the number of fake followers, inactive and spam accounts grow, and also taking into consideration the algorithm whereby you may not see as many follower's posts, engagement is increasingly important for both brands, personal accounts, and bloggers. Brands are less likely to work with bloggers who have less comments and likes because their followers could be fake, and vice versa with bloggers working with brands.
Yes followers are important, but engagement rates can give brands a pretty good idea of conversion rates and increasing brand awareness before they've even committed to a campaign.
Here's how to improve engagement in 5 simple steps:
1. Give your followers something to sink their teeth into
Provoke engagement with your followers by giving them something to react to. This could be a video (see our recipe videos here), an amazing image, or something that provokes their emotions. Whatever it is, think about what they want, not what you think they want (you could even ask them what content they prefer to see!)
2. Promote brand advocates
If you're struggling to get good content yourself, repost pictures from people that advocate you brand on social media. Not only will it encourage others to post pictures with the hope of being reposted by your brand, but it will make your current brand advocates continue to do so.
3. Use relevant events and trending topics to your advantage
Make a yearly calendar which shows relevant industry events, and update it each week before you write your social media plan depending on what's trending or going on in the news (i.e. things we can't anticipate). Follow hashtags, and use trending hashtags on your post so that you're joining in with the conversation and provoking your followers to engage based on these topics.
4. Don't ignore your audience
Whatever you do, don't just post daily and ignore your audience. You won't get much in return, and it's not really the point of social media. The point of social media is given away in the name - it's social.
A one way conversation (i.e. you talking at your audience) is unlikely to provoke any sort of engagement unless you're a massive brand or you've got a loyal customer base.
5. Care for your customers
Offer freebees or competitions to those who follow you, or engage the most with your social media channels. There's nothing like caring for those who know you the best.
Always reply to customers questions, and reply to comments even if they are negative. You can quite easily turn bad PR into good PR by simply hitting the reply button.
Try these simple tricks and let us know how you get on - you should instantly see a boost in activity and it should help boost your following too!