The common misconception about Social Media in this day and age is that it’s merely a ‘giving’ relationship. People and businesses alike base their social media strategy solely on providing content on a daily basis. While this is obviously a great strategy, it won’t necessarily entice followers to interact, share, and at the end of the day do whatever it is you intend on them doing.
Enter the new philosophy of Social Media Engagement. It’s not about you anymore – it’s about your readers & followers. Sure, they’ll read your content – but it’ll never be more than that. Rather than creating a one-way communication channel, a business’s goal should be to create an open, interactive experience for users where information can be both given and taken.
Now you’re thinking, “how can I do that?” Well you’re in luck. Here are 5 strategies to increase Social Media Engagement:
1 – Use Pictures & Video
Studies have shown that pictures and video generate up to 200% higher interaction rate than do regular text links via social media outlets. Sure, everyone knows that pictures are worth a thousand words, but they’re rarely used the right way. It’s not enough to just post an image or a video. There has to be some sort of pertinent story behind it – something that relates to your business and that engages.
For example, you can film a staff member talking about your product and how it works with tips & tricks on how to get the most out of it. This is the kind of stuff that gets a lot of attention from fans. Be transparent and personable – show your followers that you have their interest at heart and that you want them to be a part of your success too.
2 – Hold A Contest
Nothing creates buzz more than a contest. It could be a free product giveaway, a discount giveaway, even a trip for two to the Bahamas for whoever wins. Be creative and use your imagination. The possibilities are really endless here. What do your customers like and what’s going to get them to share your page or re-tweet your message to their followers? It has to be something simple & quick that people will have fun doing.
For example, USA Today launched a twitter campaign built around the hash-tag #WhatAmericaWants. It was geared towards non-profits, and the prize was a full-paged color Ad in the newspaper on a given day. Over 500 organizations sent out messages with the #WhatAmericaWants hash-tag and it generated over 60,000 tweets – all creating brand awareness for USA Today. The key is to be creative and think of something that will go viral!
3 – Controversy Is King
Think Perez Hilton. He is one of the Kings of controversy. You want to have an opinion on something related to your business that might be a little out there or over the top. Be careful though – you don’t want to tarnish your brand or image. Just think of a highly opinionated topic of discussion with regards to something in your industry and make a bold statement on your point of view. The more controversial the better. Get the message across to your followers and sit back and relax while the opinions fly back and forth. Your message will get more shares, more likes and more retweets.
The end goal is still to create engagement, so make sure you’re positively engaging people. Controversy is good, but there’s a proper way to go about doing it. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot!
4 – Reward Contributors
Another great way to create social media engagement is to reward the people who contribute the most to your social media efforts. If you see someone constantly sharing, liking, or re tweeting your content, let it be known to everyone that you value their loyalty by giving them a shout-out across your various social media channels. This can go a long way, as others will see this and will want the same “star status” exposure.
Watch as your followers become dedicated brand evangelists, spreading your every message across the world wide web to an even bigger audience!
5 – Make It Easy
The compete level on the internet is tremendously high; everyone is fighting over the same thing – the attention of viewers in order to inform, provide a service, or sell a product. Generally, the more eyeballs you can attract the better. That being said, in order for you to attract the most attention possible, you need the help of others by engaging them and making it as easy as possible for them to share your content.
Let’s face it – people are lazy. Nobody wants to spend 5 minutes of their time trying to share an interesting article or post they found on some far away website. Make it easy for them by using Social Media Share Plugins on your website. This makes sharing content a one-click process. Readers might not have 5 minutes to give you, but they can afford a simple click that automatically shares your content via Facebook, twitter, or the social media outlet of their choice. Sharing content has never been easier!
So what should you do now?
Implement just one or two of these into your social media efforts and you’ll see a great impact on the total reach of your messages. Implement them all and you’re well on your way to a successful social media strategy!