As we’ve discussed on this blog before, marketers are still trying to figure out the best ways to use and leverage social media. So far, here’s what we know for sure: we want as many followers/likes/fans as possible, and we want everyone to interact with our posts. That’s about it. Everything else is still up in the air and being hotly debated on marketing blogs and in marketing conferences around the country. Questions like “How often should you post?” and “How do you generate leads via social media?” don’t have a definitive answer yet.
Therefore, let’s keep the focus on what we do know. We’ve covered ways to increase your social media following, so today I want to discuss how to encourage engagement with your posts. Engagement via social media is desirable because it increases the reach of your posts. This is why “going viral” is so valuable these days: it’s free publicity. Social media sites are big business now, and they know they can make money by charging you for the ability to expand your reach. But when you have organic engagement with a post, it gives you that boost for free.
There are some differences between what’s popular on specific social sites – what works on Facebook may not work on Twitter – but there are some general guidelines to follow. Here are some tips to increase your overall engagement:
Self-promotion is a no-no
Posting about sales, deals and promotions is expected on social media, but it’s not very popular. You’ll get some engagement with these posts, but not much. Most social users aren’t interested in your sales pitch.
If you must self-promote, make it worth their while
There is an exception to the “keep self-promotion to a minimum” rule: contests and giveaways. Nothing will motivate your followers faster than free stuff. If you offer to give something away to a lucky person who comments on a certain Facebook post or retweets you on Twitter, you’ll see plenty of engagement.
Don’t be afraid to make like Monty Python and be completely irrelevant
The famed British comedic troupe Monty Python specialized in nonsensical, irreverent comedy, and you should follow suit. How? By posting things that don’t have anything to do with your company, your products or your services. I’m not advocating you make a habit of it, but throwing in the occasional “just for fun” post will please followers. This is especially pertinent on Twitter, where silly trending hashtags are excellent opportunities for lighthearted posts.
Always post pictures
People love to post pictures on social media (heck, that’s pretty much all you can do on Instagram), which is what led to the rise of the infamous selfie. You should follow suit, and always take advantage of opportunities to post photos. You can post pictures of holiday decorations around the office, company parties or even just beautiful weather outside of your company headquarters.
Film your own version of a viral video trend
Remember when everyone was doing the Ice Bucket Challenge last year? How about when the Harlem Shake was taking the world by storm? Many celebrities, athletes, schools and companies posted their own versions of these popular video trends. If you’re feeling brave, and you have some open-minded coworkers, film your own style of the next big video trend. It will undoubtedly be popular, and if you’re lucky, it might just go viral beyond your social media circle – that’s the kind of publicity money can’t buy.