Social media has been around for nearly a decade and it’s been making monumental strides every step of the way.
First emerging in 1997 as “Six Degrees”, a platform that allowed users to create a profile and add friends, it’s grown into a substantial solution that many of us couldn’t imagine living without. With 3.196 billion global users and growing variations of the platform like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, social media has shown no signs of slowing down – making it a huge channel for engaging consumers.
The whole concept behind social media is about creating engaging content that audiences can relate to and interact with. For brands, that means the more engaging your social content is the more clicks and shares which means more potential prospects hearing your story.
But creating engaging social content isn’t as easy as one may assume. In fact, many brands struggle with sharing content on the first try and receiving amazing feedback isn’t always the case. It takes a lot of trial and error to know what types of content work better than others.
To aid your social media efforts, we’ve compiled the top methods to generate engaging social content that can help you obtain a bigger ROI. Let’s begin.
Know Your Audience
Your social media audience is unique to your brand so it’s important that the messages you’re disseminating online correlate with your customer’s interests. Your main effort should be to engage your current followers while keeping in mind your brand’s values and voice.
The first step to get to know your audience is understanding the type of content on social they like. Do they like posts with statistics? Do they prefer third party posts? Do they like posts with GIFs? Knowing the answer to these questions can help you cultivate an effective strategy or a calendar of social posts that will keep your audience engaged.
To know what they prefer, look for the social posts that are already getting a lot of engagement and use them as a reference when creating new social content. Utilize the analytics that are embedded into your social media platform or simply scroll through your feed to see your highest engaging posts. However, you choose to measure your most effective posts, make sure to take note of tactics that work better than others.
Knowing your audience also helps with other key areas of your social media strategy such as their preferred social media platform and appetite for posting consistency. For instance, if the majority of your audience is spending 80% of their time on Facebook, 10% on Twitter and 10% on LinkedIn, you can spend more time on Facebook pushing out messages and dedicate more time to craft a strategy that gets more Twitter and LinkedIn engagement. Similarly, if you post on Twitter 8 times a day and notice a decline in followers every time you do so, you can adjust your postings and see if posting fewer tweets generates more followers or vise-versa
Knowing your audience is key when generating content that is engaging. Whether you use analytics on previous posts or hold a Q&A online, the insight you receive can help you benchmark for future social media posts.
Listen and Engage in Real-Time
One of the strongest qualities of an engaging social media account is listening and responding to customers in real-time. Generally, when a customer takes to social media to talk about a brand they want to be heard and conversed with – yet according to Sprout Social, 89% of social media messages to brands go ignored.
For many brands, social media’s purpose is misconstrued and is largely used as a selling platform to push products or services to potential customers. For customers, however, that isn’t the case. Instead, they view social media as a platform to foster relationships usually with friends or family. According to Sprout Social “, consumers recognize social channels for what they truly are: powerful portals for two-way dialogue.” Therefore, a business’s social pages should be focused less on “selling” and more on cultivating an authentic relationship or providing useful and thought-provoking information.
With such an apparent disconnect between what a customer wants and what brands use social media for, it’s an even bigger competitive advantage and benefit for a business to listen and engage with customers in real-time.
Timing is everything when responding to customers on social, it’s important to be as prompt as possible, in which case having various team members or a single person dedicated to monitoring social should be a priority. Especially in today’s fast-paced world, customers expect fast service. In fact, “Among respondents to The Social Habit who have attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 32% expect a response within 30 minutes. Further, 42% expect a response within 60 minutes”.
In addition to being timely, messages should try and stray away from being too “robotic” or too focused on “sales”. The responses should emulate a real conversation that is authentic and puts the customer first. The team in charge of responding to comments should have guidelines to follow. Furthermore, they should be actively interacting with audiences online by liking and sharing their comments. The more you engage with them the more they’ll interact with your brand, and the greater the customer satisfaction.
Additionally, make it a priority for team members to write down any reoccurring comments that may require management’s attention. Whether positive or negative knowing reoccurring comments can help you praise your team or help you make changes to better customer service. This lets you address issues and tailors the experience to meet customer expectations so you can consistently work to increase customer satisfaction.
With our world becoming more digitally advanced, the way consumers absorb information has changed dramatically. Today, adding visual components to social content plays a strong role in increasing engagement because customers prefer it. In fact, according to William Bradford’s Reaching the Visual Learner “65 percent of the population is made up of visual learners, leaving auditory and experiential learners in their dust”.
To increase engagement on your social feed, start by incorporating various forms of media including images, video, voice clips, etc. and monitor the engagement to see what type works best. Most recently, Skyword revealed that “content with relevant images get 94 percent more views than content without”. However, it is important to note that different media types will work differently depending on the platform. For example, Business to Community reported a video Tweet is 6x more likely to be retweeted than a photo Tweet. In addition, that same report concluded that 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook are images. In order to maximize engagement with media, it’s essential your team researches your audience and what their preferences are.
Likewise, if you want to further engage your audience your team can create original in-house media social content. According to Venngage’s study, “original images such as infographics get the most engagement at 41.5%, while data visualizations received 25.7% engagement.” The more original and authentic the media the better the odds of more engagement.
Stay on top of social trends
Trends come and go, and with social media usage at an all-time high, trends are coming and going faster than ever before – making them imperative for businesses to stay on top of.
Hashtags are a great way for brands to follow trends but also to incorporate a trend into their social feed. Hashtags are an engagement tactic that – when used with a word – help prospects and customers find your profile by clicking it. The purpose is to create a community or body of people who have a say about a particular subject, so when it is used others can comment or join in on the conversation. When using hashtags, make sure to look for special days such as #TravelTuesday or #WisdomWednesday that correlate with your audience and vertical.
With that, it’s important to stress that when you are doing research on trends and hashtags to use ones that are relative to your customers and to your brand. The more you report on relevant news and trends in your industry the more engagement you’ll get from not only your customers but others who are interested in your vertical.
In addition, don’t forget to tag relevant people into your social posts! Whether you are sharing a third party article or sharing a thought leadership piece tagging others increases the likelihood of them sharing or interacting with the post.
Creating engaging experiences online is at the pinnacle of producing a successful social media presence. By incorporating tactics such as audience research or incorporating media, you are well on your way to crafting an effective social media strategy that both engaging and representative of your brand.