The secret behind building a community on social media: engagement
The secret behind building a community on social media: engagement. There’s no denying, Social Media became a game-changer regarding customer-brand interactions. But who reigns in a kingdom where more than half the world population is active? To find out we must learn about one key performance metric.
Let’s define what engagement is: It is the measurement of actions taken by users on social media posts. Likes, comments, shares, retweets, you name it. It is the greatest measure of social media success, even bigger than the number of followers.
But to understand the true value of engagement and how even a small engaged audience is better than a big unengaged one, we first need to define what Social Media is from a brand perspective.
Social media is a place where people go to read news, gather information, consume entertainment, connect with each other, and ultimately share user-generated content.
For brands, having an online presence is a no-brainer. When managed correctly, social media content can become a powerful tool capable of sparking meaningful brand-user relationships via unique and personal interactions.
But achieving that level of communication with a user requires more than just posting memes on your brand’s Social Media page. Take a look at the following statistics: it is known that 57% of consumers will follow a brand to learn more about their products and services while 47% of a brand’s followers are interested in staying up to date with the company.
As you can see, the ultimate goal is to have people become interested in what you are doing and what you are saying. Make them look forward to the next time you’ll publish something. This is what marketers refer to as: building a community.
What does engagement have to do with all of this?
When it comes to online advertising, it is important to have as big of an audience as possible but results can only be achieved if your followers are active on your page. As stated above, engagement is the single most important measurement on Social Media as it shows how many people are interacting with your posts.
But it can even go one step further. An engaged audience is crucial in building a brand experience that will blossom into meaningful relationships with new, recurring, and potential customers.
How to effectively increase engagement?
An increased engagement on Social Media means more people are liking your content, sharing it with others, and jumping into conversations about your brand. But turning a lurker into an active member of your community takes more than posting content multiple times a day. Before you start getting creative it is important to do the following:
Analyze your current situation
Take a look at where you are right now. How many followers do you have? How many interactions do you average per post? Knowing where you are standing will come in handy in the future as engagement is the key data component of a successful digital marketing strategy as it tells you what is working but most importantly what isn’t.
Know your audience
If you are constantly scratching your head thinking: what should I publish? Knowing your audience will help you establish a tone, define a language and establish the type of content that needs to be posted.
If you don’t know who you are talking to, how are you going to get your audience to interact with your brand? For example, the content that resonates with a flower enthusiast will not grab the attention of a computer geek. Knowing your audience will help you “read the room” and define an engaging content strategy.
On that note, it is important to…
Share Quality Content
Now, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to posting online. Every brand is different, and most importantly: every community is different. But, a universal truth is that the content that drives more engagement is the one that addresses the audience’s needs, pain points and expectations. Provide something of value to get the people talking and generate interest.
Keep in mind that social media is not a broadcast platform to showcase your brand. It is a two-way street in which the users have a voice, and they want to be heard. Use it to your advantage, actively seek out to hear from your followers through polls, contests, asking questions, and more. Numbers can tell a story, but audience engagement is what makes or breaks the success of your strategy.
If you are looking to promote your brand on the biggest social media there is, here’s a great article on connecting digital marketing with Facebook.
Lastly, social media is visual. Whether it is through a video, a picture, or just plain text, think of the format you are using for your content. For example: If you are looking to increase engagement on Instagram, use better photos. Do you want to talk about your business and its impact on the industry? Try LinkedIn. Every platform has its pros and cons.
Wouldn’t it be great if you became a viral sensation overnight with one just post? Unfortunately, this seldom happens and if it does, it dies out quickly unless it comes from a popular source. To build long-lasting engagement you need to stay active.
Nowadays Social media platforms have their own algorithms that reward brands that post frequently and punishes those who don’t. Depending on the site, it is recommended that you publish one to three times a day.
Take your time and plan out the content you are going to post on your page. We recommend being one month ahead, at least. This will help you save time and figure out important dates to base content on.
Always respond, and do it fast
Like we said, social media is all about having a conversation, but you can’t have one if there’s no one on the other side. Believe us, nobody likes to speak to a digital wall.
Make sure you are taking your time to appreciate the effort your audience takes to ask a question or tag their friends on your post. Not only is this a great PR move, but it shows that you are listening and that you value the fact that they are here.
Plus it is a great way to take their interaction and move them into a sales funnel. Responses on social media are ideal to enforce the value of your product or service. When someone asks a question it means they are interested in learning more about you. Just make sure you answer quickly before that interest dies out.
If you are new to social media doing all of the above might take some time and practice. Start little but aim big, before you know it, your numbers will increase and you will have an active community. Just remember, followers, are more than numbers and engagement will help you…
Build a Community of Followers
We already covered content and how it can drive engagement. Now, let’s talk about building the community that will interact with it, how to define it and increase it.
Many brands make the mistake of thinking that a big amount of followers equals greater engagement. But nurturing a meaningful following takes more than just increasing the follower count. There’s nothing worse than having an audience that is not taking interest in what we are saying.
Communities are built by people with similar interests. Their members are individuals who have taken their time to like your content and look forward to it. But to know your community you don’t have to guess who they are. Thanks to the power of digital marketing, you can see who’s following your brand as it can be easily segmented by:
- The device they use to interact with your content
- Hours Active
- Time of the day they log-in
- & much more!
This information is key in building a much bigger community through engagement as it shows who your followers are.
Now you might be thinking: What if I’m just getting started and I don’t have enough followers to gain insights on them? Don’t worry, we got you covered.
The most effective way to build your community and get more clients from the ground up is through advertising. Think about it as promoting your business so more people can learn about it.
Sidenote: If you are thinking about buying followers, don’t. Not only is it a waste of money from the get-go because those profiles are not real people. In the long run, it’ll hurt your ability to accurately define who is following you as those profiles come from countries with large “social media farms”.
There are many ways you can advertise on social media-specific posts without having to make a big campaign. Here are some of our favorites:
This is hands-down the quickest and simplest method to advertise a single publication to increase engagement and clicks. Boosting a post is simply promoting it for a specific amount of days.
To make it work, you’ll need to make sure you are targeting correctly and choosing the right time frame to run the ad. You don’t want to waste all your marketing budget in a single post. The beauty of this is that platforms such as Facebook tell you from the start how much money you’ll need to invest to reach a specific target of engagement. Making it easier to make a decision.
This is geared towards niche communities with specific likes and interests. By promoting your page you are basically saying: “look at me, here’s a place where other people like you talk about the same thing. Come join us!”
This is a great way to increase followers that you know will interact with your brand.
Giveaways and Contest
We all feel like winners and most importantly we want to win for free. Contests on social media are a great way to promote your brand, increase your follower base and drive up engagement.
Some of the tips to create a successful contest are:
- The price should be related to you: Yes Apple Products are a great incentive, but ultimately a price that has nothing to do with your product or service will drive in people who are not interested in you.
- Make it simple: There’s nothing more tedious than following a series of instructions to enter a contest. Don’t make it over-complicated that people lose interest in entering. A simple set of instructions such as “share this post to enter” is more than enough to get the word out.
- Promote It: Create a post explaining your contest and circle back to the “Boost Post” we talked about.
Learn more about how you can promote your brand on social media.
Engagement shows how interested your followers are in your brand. More followers do not necessarily mean more engagement. It is up to you to nurture a community of people that are actively participating in conversations with you and with each other.
There are many ways to increase engagement but the content is and will always be the best path to spark a conversation that will result in more engaged followers. As always, keep your target audience in mind when planning your content and make sure you advertise from time to time to drive more people into your Fan Page.