Social media engagement: What it is and tips to improve it
Social media engagement is the bread and butter of social media marketing. Many brands want more engagement on their social media posts but don’t know what else to do or are stuck in the same old strategy. Plus, feed algorithms are tough to maneuver given that they’re changing often, sometimes without notice.
Your social media engagement can always improve. There isn’t a maximum engagement level that one can reach. The more engaged your audience is, the more that other people will see your posts and the better you’ll achieve those social media goals.
Let’s dive more into the world of social media engagement so we can better understand how to increase it.
Table of contents
- What is social media engagement?
- Tips for increasing your social media engagement
- Ideas for engaging social media posts
What is social media engagement?
Social media engagement is an umbrella term for actions that reflect and measure how much your audience interacts with your content. Social media engagement can include likes, comments and shares, but varies by platform.
For example, on Facebook, engagement means all possible ways of interacting with a Page’s posts and profile, messages and mentions, all added together. But engagement can be divided up into different areas:
- Interaction with your Page: call-to-action button clicks, profile clicks, any tab clicks
- Interaction with your posts: comments, likes, shares
- Interaction in direct messaging: messaging a Page or responding to a message
- Interaction with other Pages: mentions of your Page, commenting on other Pages’ posts
This is not an exhaustive list of engagement that can happen on Facebook but it gives you an idea of where you might start to narrow in on your goals.
When looking at engagement numbers between months or even years, this birds’ eye view is great at identifying a trend. But you need other metrics to understand how you can improve and uncover the bigger picture. The trick is understanding what engagement is on a broad level and how to examine it at a micro-level.
Tips for increasing your social media engagement
1. Know where to find engagement metrics
Most major social media networks like Twitter, Instagram and TikTok allow you to view your engagement metrics on their native analytics. These native dashboards allow you to see engagements including likes, comments, shares, impressions and more.
You can also use third-party social media management tools like Sprout Social to help you view and understand your engagement metrics in one place.
For example, you can see what posts performed the best by profile. In the below example, the number of Instagram engagements are added up for you. Along with engagement rate, you can view impressions and average reach per post.
How do you analyze this? If you see post engagement dropping week over week, then your posts need to be adjusted to better suit your audience (assuming nothing else has changed in the world or in your paid promotions).
If a post has a significantly higher engagement rate over the others, it’s important to make note of what made it stand out. This helps you identify what realm of content to focus on if you want to improve your engagement overall.
2. Set goals and define metrics
It’s important to understand the various social media metrics and what they mean on each platform. This is because your social media goals determine which metrics you use. For every goal, you need a related metric, which will determine if your social strategy is working or not.
Set clear engagement goals so you know what to focus your content efforts on. If you want more engagement on your posts, then you know you’ll need to focus on creating interesting content. The metrics that tie with it will be post engagement specific: how many people interacted with your posts and what types of engagement did they execute?
3. Understand your platform
Each platform has its own metrics, trends and culture, so you must adjust your social media engagement strategy to accommodate each network’s nuances.
There are over 15 social media platforms that brands are using, but this doesn’t mean you should join each one. Do your research and consider which social media apps are the best for your business and your audience, which leads us to our next tip.
4. Know your audience
The key to improving your social media engagement is understanding your target audience—the group of people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.
For example, if you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn could be the best fit since it centers on professional networking and many B2B brands are already active on the platform.
Your brand is making content for your audience, so always keep them in mind, from deciding what content to create to determining the best times to post on social media.
5. Understand the components of an engaging post
Every network is a little different in terms of engaging posts but similarities still stand out. In the Sprout Social Index™, we found that short-form video, images and live video are the three most engaging types of in-feed social content.
We also found that consumers looking for authentic posts like customer testimonials that highlight brands’ product or service.
Pay attention to what content does well on each platform and consider if it could resonate well with your audience. Check your own analytics to identify if and how these types of posts perform with your audience. There’s a swath of social media ideas to try out or get inspiration from, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
6. Create shareable content
You might be familiar with the phrase, “Don’t forget to like, comment and share,” but there are many other ways to increase your social media shares outside of explicitly asking.
For example, visual content like short-form video and images are more likely to be shared, so consider leaning into making more posts that feature either, or both.
If you create shareable content, your social media engagement will increase. People on social media enjoy sharing posts they enjoy, admire or find valuable, so create and curate content that will prompt your followers to hit the share button.
7. Know when to post on social media
Knowing the best time to post on social media is another key to increasing your engagement. Identifying what is the best time to post based on your platform and audience will help you determine when to prioritize upcoming posts.
Knowing how often to post on social media is equally important because you don’t want to flood your audience with too much content. You want to hit a sweet spot that allows you to maintain an active social media presence. According to Sprout Social Index™, the sweet spot is about 1-2 posts per day for brands.
8. Execute your strategy
Our last social media engagement tip is straightforward: execute your strategy. Get into the habit of testing, iterating and experimenting with your social media marketing strategy. Social media is ever-changing, so your strategy needs to evolve over the year as well.
Ideas for engaging social media posts
There are a variety of ways you can create intrigue and interaction for your social media posts. Some are more short-term while others are more long-term strategies. A combination of both should keep your accounts in tip-top shape.
Here are some of our favorite social media engagement posts to help inspire your own strategy:
Marvel Entertainment: Giveaway with other companies
One of the fastest ways to get engagement with your account is to host a giveaway. People love to get free things, and if you make it an engagement-focused giveaway, it can help you hit your goals. For example, many of these contests ask followers to like, comment, tag a friend and/or follow for entry.
These Twitter contests and Instagram giveaways are common, but they can be done on other platforms too. You can even host the contest across different platforms.
#MarvelInsider is launching a month of giveaways! Enter now for your chance to win this Red Skull digital collectible from @veve_official's Marvel Mightys collection. Terms apply: https://t.co/bTi7M9r0kf pic.twitter.com/gcKfymouO3
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) October 4, 2022
You can make giveaways even more special by personalizing it to your audience. Marvel recently did this when they announced a month-long giveaway for #MarvelInsider, a loyalty program for fans.
Discord: Get creative and funny
Humor goes a long way on social media, especially if it’s the type that your audience enjoys and engages with. Discord is known for it’s lighthearted, whimsy tone on Twitter. They use it in the below Tweet to debut their new mascot.
are you just gonna scroll by without saying hi to our new wumpus mascot? pic.twitter.com/Qm5aYxRV9j
— Discord (@discord) October 14, 2022
Although we encourage creativity, note that humor isn’t necessarily right for every brand or industry. The Sprout Social Index, Edition XI: Social Personality report found that 3 in 4 consumers want humor from brands but only a third want that humor to be snarky.
Bearverse: Create FOMO
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a strong tactic to use when you want people to pay attention to your brand. Flash sales and intriguing content both fall into this category.
The Bearverse video game encouraged gamers to sign up for an upcoming flash sale:
You blink and you miss it — this describes our first Flash Sale😉
All Mystery Boxes were SOLD OUT in just 2 hours 🔥
Wanna make sure you don’t miss the second Flash Sale this week? Leave your email here and be the first to get the link: https://t.co/sMggi9CcfA pic.twitter.com/x9CFyf4bsM
— Bearverse (@BearverseGame) October 10, 2022
The sale created an exclusive experience by sharing with their followers something others haven’t seen yet. This encourages their audience to keep their eyes on Bearverse’s feed so they don’t miss out on any exclusive deals.
Instant Pot: Think beyond feed posts
Feed posts aren’t the only types of posts available to you for engagement. Direct messages, replies and story interactions all count towards engagement numbers.
Branded Facebook Groups, like the Instant Pot Community, are a great way to increase engagement beyond traditional promotional posts.
Electric cooker fans can join the public group to ask questions, share recipes and connect with other foodies who love cooking with their Instant Pot.
The group has over 3.1 million members, but the brand limits promotional posts within the community. Instead they use, “New Product Monday” to showcase a new product the community might enjoy. They also offer several guides to help members learn how to use their Instant Pot.
Benefit Cosmetics: Use stickers that encourage engagement
Stickers are an increasingly bigger component of Instagram Stories. From polls to questions to the new challenge sticker, you have many options to make your Stories more engaging.
For example, Benefit Cosmetics has GIFs for customers to use, as shown below:
Stickers encourage engagement because your audience can easily use them in their own Stories, sharing your brand with even more potential customers.
Lush Cosmetics: Indulge in the fun holidays your brand’s way
Leverage fall seasonal marketing to connect with your audience in a fresh, engaging way.
As a cosmetics company, Lush and Halloween go hand-in-hand. The brand partnered with YouTuber Alexys Fleming (Madeyewlook) to create a makeup look using their 2022 Halloween collection.
Lush x @madeyewlook = Halloween ✨ MAGIC! ✨ https://t.co/WP04ekInKx
— Lush North America (@lushcosmetics) September 28, 2022
The collaboration is paying off with a packed comment section and over 3.1k likes.
3. Dunkin’ x e.l.f.: Brand partnerships
Another tried-and-true strategy for engagement and sales is partnering up with other like-minded brands to produce something fun and interesting.
However, even unusual partnerships can work if executed correctly. Dunkin’ Donuts and e.l.f. provide a great lesson in brand collaborations 101 with their donut-themed line of cosmetics:
✨Wake up and make up✨ @elfyeah x Dunkin’ collection available NOW at elfcosmetics.com #elf #dunkin #newdrop #getreadywithme
The comments and likes reveal that their audiences appreciate the unlikely pairs new products.
Creating a social media engagement plan
Our tips and brand examples will help you increase your engagement. Continue looking for brand examples like the ones we provided for inspiration because this is just the beginning of your social media engagement plan journey.
Use our 30-day social media plan to help you design and execute more social media engagement ideas. All you need to do is fill out the template to continue improving your engagement metrics.
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