Social media engagement is the measurement of user interactions with content posted on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. It is a standard metric used by businesses to evaluate their social media performance.
Examples of social media engagement:
- Commenting on your post
- Sharing your post
- Liking your post
- Clicking on links to your website
Why is social engagement meaningful?
Social engagement is vital because it indicates the average number of consumers who are interacting with and paying attention to your brand. Having followers is nice, but the consistent interactions between your brand and its target audience will level you up from a product someone scrolls past to one user's actively seek out. It takes time and effort, but it pays off in the long run.
Additional benefits of social engagement:
- Better customer service experience — Social engagement allows quick interaction between businesses and consumers to discuss feedback, questions, concerns, etc. 70% of consumers say they have already chosen to support a company that delivers excellent customer service, so it's not an opportunity you want to miss.
- Increased sales — While social engagement isn't directly linked to increased sales, many likes and good comments can influence up to 27% of users' likelihood to purchase your product.
- Brand awareness and website traffic — It sets the foundation for strengthening your brand awareness and increasing website traffic by reaching a more comprehensive range of your target market and giving you access to communicating with them quickly and effectively.
What is a social media engagement strategy?
A social media engagement strategy is the plan that connects social media tactics to goals on social networks. The approach summarizes what you plan to do and how you expect to achieve it. The more detailed and specific your strategy is, the more effective it will be.
Social engagement goals can include multiple objectives such as:
- Increasing reach
- Increasing brand awareness
- Building an online community
- Promoting a product or service
What is a social media engagement tactic?
Social media engagement tactics are actions that increase engagement. Each tactic should be tied to your strategy. Effective social media engagement tactics can help businesses create the best content that will build a community of brand loyalists and supporters over time.
Consider these tactics to boost social media engagement:
- Live video is #1 — Almost 5 billion videos are watched every single day. Live video gives you the chance to respond and interact with users directly, which creates a personal connection. Make a point to host live videos regularly (at least once per week). Make sure to focus on driving interaction and make sure the video is interesting to watch. Pre-recorded video is also popular among users.
- Photos attract eyeballs — Good quality images added to your posts can affect cognitive and behavioral outcomes in three ways:
- The presence of an image in a social media post helps the post stand out and encourage engagement.
- Colorfulness consistently enhances a viewer's attention to your post.
- Research has found a positive relationship between images and texts.
- Switch up post types — If the platform you’re using offers multiple post types (video, photo, link, text/status updates, etc.), make sure to include a variety of post types in your content schedule.
- Post timing — Schedule your posts so you reach your audience at prime engagement times. Evaluating your platform analytics will provide the best results for your target audience, but the rule of thumb is:
- Between 1 and 5 p.m on Instagram
- 9 a.m on Facebook
- Between 8 and 10 a.m and 6 - 9 p.m on Twitter
- Between 10 a.m and noon for LinkedIn
- Contests and giveaways — Freebies are always an excellent way to get users to engage with your brand. Choose an exciting prize and encourage interaction in order to enter. Before you start the contest, make sure you know the social media platform’s contesting rules — or run the contest on a third-party site and share the link on social media.
- Treat each platform individually — Every platform has its own algorithm and unique features. Explore the different features on each platform, especially when new features are introduced. If you use content on multiple platforms, make sure the content is altered to fit the platform it appears on.
- Emotions trigger engagement — Social media users are more likely to engage with a post that makes them feel a strong emotion. The most powerful emotional triggers include joy, nostalgia, inspiration, empathy, sadness and anger.
- Use storytelling — Everyone loves a story. Use a powerful narrative to draw your audience in and encourage them to share with your brand.
- Repurpose your best content — If you have a popular blog post on your website, use stats and snippets of the post to create content on social media. Does your business publish a podcast? Create short video clips from each episode to share on social media. If a post is performing exceptionally well on LinkedIn, consider retooling it to fit another social media network.
How to build a social media engagement strategy
Building a social media engagement strategy isn't easy but with commitment and genuine effort, you'll be on your way to developing a successful plan with positive results.
Consider these steps when building your social media engagement strategy:
- Choose an overall goal
Goals are vital in implementing your strategy.
- Conduct an audit, evaluate what deserves focus, and tie your focus to clear objectives.
- The S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) framework keeps your goals realistic and achievable.
- Select platform(s) to focus on
Not every business should be on every social media platform. Instead, choose which platform(s) make sense for your business based on your target audience and the goals for your business. You want to make sure that you are on the platforms where your target audience spends the most time and utilizing the platform features preferred by the audience (such as Instagram Stories, Facebook Live videos, etc.).
You also want to choose the platforms that are most compatible with your overall business goals. For example, LinkedIn is better than Twitter for generating B2B leads. However, Instagram is the most engaging platform with 2-7% percent of users interacting with each post, and Twitter is the least engaging platform with less than 0.2% engaging with each post.
Keep in mind that your measurable presence will be different on each platform. In descending order, the social media platforms with the most organic reach are Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Facebook has the most users, with more than 2.6 billion monthly active users.
- Decide how to measure social media engagement
Once you’ve chosen which platforms to focus on, decide how you will measure success on each platform to fit your overall goals, such as increasing brand awareness, growing your engaged audience or increasing sales on your website. These metrics are your social media key performance indicators, or KPIs.
Consider tracking metrics like:
- Number of likes/reactions
- Number of comments
- Average engagement rate
- Amplification rate
- Virality rate
- Total impressions
- Post reach percentage
- Click-through rates
- Audience growth rate (as opposed to total follower count, which is considered a vanity metric)
- Use social media tactics that contribute to reaching the KPIs
Every post your brand makes on social media should be focused on reaching your KPIs. Choose the tactics that make the most sense for your KPIs. Monitor your metrics regularly (weekly, monthly and quarterly) and adjust your tactics as needed.
Stand out from the competition
There is a lot of competition on social media fighting for consumer attention. You have to stand out to reach your audience. If you feel like you’re always scrambling to publish on social media, chances are your audience either isn’t seeing your posts or aren’t finding a reason to engage.
A social media engagement strategy allows you to choose the tactics that make the most sense for your business goals and measure your KPIs. Every post you make on social media should be a tactic directly tied to that strategy. It’s the most effective way to stay focused, create engaging content and build community on social media.