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Build the best social media engagement strategy

Build the best social media engagement strategy

What's your social media engagement strategy? Hurling content at Twitter, all day, every day? Sell, sell, sell! Not working, is it? If you’re looking for more engagement, ultimately bringing leads and brand awareness, treat consumers as friends. Chat with and listen to them, help them, ask questions, have fun. Let’s create some social media engagement strategies...

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When you chat with your mates, is it a one way conversation? Me, me, me? Because if that’s what you do as a marketer, you’d have more luck shouting your messages from billboards.

MoonPie created a new flavor for Elon Musk’s new baby - X Æ A-12.

Social media is about real people. You have to treat them like people. Let them see your brand’s personality. Show them behind the scenes. Make them laugh.

Be human. Be nice.

Table of contents

What is social media engagement?

We’re talking a lot of metrics.

The definition of social media engagement is interaction between a consumer and your brand, on your social media networks. It’s more than a single like. It’s the building up of a relationship. Metrics to measure, include…

  • Likes
  • Follows
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Retweets
  • Click-throughs

MoonPie tweet

The MoonPie tweet has received engagement of 16.9K - 983 retweets & 15.9K Twitter likes, & positive sentiment, over the previous three month period.

Don’t assume that all engagement is positive. A complaint about a tweet, or being reported for an offensive ad, are also forms of engagement. Not very nice ones, but that’s why it’s so important to monitor your social media engagement.

Measuring these metrics is crucial for proving the effectiveness of your social media strategy and accomplishing your business goals, such as generating leads and sales. I’ll highlight a few examples of social media engagement strategies…

Regular communication

Once your brand is on social media, you’re there for the long haul. You can’t go on holiday for a couple of weeks, and expect to come back to happy faces. Ignoring a question, complaint, praise - will damage your brand reputation. You’ll lose trust.

“43% of consumers interact with brands on social media, looking for a response to a question, a solution to a problem. Social listening tools mean that you can now find these conversations and improve consumers' online experience. Increase trust in your brand. Boost awareness.“
The Best Social Listening Tools

User-generated content

Find your brand advocates - your fans - and promote your brand, together. Ask them to use a #hashtag related to your brand, when talking about your product. This will spread the word, increasing engagement.

Why?

Because consumers believe other consumers and peers, way more than brands.

American Eagle - US lifestyle clothing and accessories retailer - regularly invites followers to share holiday snaps, outfit choices, self-care, etc. Including the hashtag - #AExME - the brand teases with the chance of followers appearing in upcoming marketing campaigns. During the pandemic, the brand has upped the number of tweets to embrace their community and keep them entertained and engaged.

“90% of consumers say that UGC influences their purchasing decisions, outranking all other forms of marketing. 81% are willing to pay more for products that have received positive user-generated content.”
How to Get the Most out of User-generated Content

Proactive interaction

Don’t ignore consumers. When they ask you a question on social media, answer them. Then, ask them a question.

You get where I’m going with this, right?

Build up a relationship. Engage. Help them. Share content that will solve an issue. Make them happy.

It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason. Clues in the name, folks.

Benefits of a social media engagement strategy

Social media has become the dream channel for marketers. No longer do we have to hope our billboard is legible at 70mph. That our TV ad is more engaging than boiling the kettle. We now have a tool with which we can engage with consumers 24/7/365. And it’s free!

Yes, yes, you can pay for ads. And they’re not always cheap. But, with a comprehensive social media engagement strategy, it’s a cheap win.

And it’s not just marketers that benefit. Sales, PR, HR, and customer support teams can open up lines of communication with consumers, as part of a community or on a one-to-one basis.

Check out more benefits...

Increased brand awareness

It’s safe to say that the majority of people use social media. When I say people, I’m including customers, prospects, industry peers, influencers, potential business partners, and more. Brands having a social media engagement strategy, are more visible and open to partnerships.

Increased communication

As I previously said, “43% of consumers interact with brands on social media, looking for a response to a question, a solution to a problem.” Brands that use social media as a means to talk with consumers, build strong relationships. Avoiding content that’s too promotional, brands that share engaging, educational posts encourage people to communicate about your brand.

Increased website traffic

More social media engagement = more traffic to your website. Your social content acts as a signpost, directing consumers to your website. Whether your messages are teasing, teaching, or talking, they’ll encourage your audience to visit your site.

Increased referrals

Word of mouth advertising. Your brand shares content that resonates with consumers. Helps them solve issues. Addresses pain points. They will recommend you to their friends, colleagues, etc.

Increased leads

It’s all very well tweeting messages that inform. Including awesome graphics and a link to your website, but if your site doesn’t come up to scratch, you’re wasting your time. Your website content must not let consumers down. You’ve attracted them to your site, but you still have to deliver. Ensure that your content will convert site visitors to customers. Encourage them to follow a call to action.

How to build your social media engagement strategy

How to get your community more engaged. I’ll list a few that have been proven to work. Although, I’d suggest experimenting. Some will work for your brand, some won’t.

You’ll never know if you don’t try.

Get to know your community, as a human rather than a brand, and you’ll get a better understanding of what they want. What they will engage with. Here are some examples of social media engagement campaigns…

Post contests & fun stuff

Love a contest, me.

And I’m not alone. Who doesn’t want to win a prize? Have a laugh? Be in the spotlight?

There are heaps of different types of fun things that have proven to work. Choose what you think will work for your brand and budget. Examples…

  • Invite people to share photos or videos of themselves using your brand
  • Post a photo on your social media account, and ask your audience to caption it
  • Ask people to come up with new flavors for your food product
  • Get consumers to cook something that includes your product
  • Invite people to take part in a challenge

To make these beneficial to your brand, and so you can measure the results, you’ll need to include a campaign name/hashtag.

The Movember challenge was launched in Australia, with the intention of spreading awareness about men’s health issues. The challenge? An invitation to people to grow a moustache throughout the month of November.

Every year, people are encouraged to spread the word by sharing photos on social media and hosting Movember events.

Since launch, Movember has had 5.5 million participants across 20 countries, generating $700 million towards 1200 men’s health projects.

Stay top of mind

Post frequently to keep your brand visible. Obviously, check the optimum number of shares for each platform. One might consider sharing on LinkedIn every hour, too much. Too many, and you’re in danger of spamming your audience, and irritating them. Your posts will be ignored, and your reputation shot.

Promote your community

Put your audience members in the spotlight. A blowing their socks off achievement. An awesome suggestion. An intriguing question.

People do love to be applauded. And if you spotlight one, they’ll all be scrambling to get involved.

Use live video

Globally, videos will make up 80% of all online traffic by 2021. Prerecorded or live, video is the future, and social platforms are ready. Are you?

A live video encourages more engagement than a text post, a photo, even a prerecorded video. Viewers post comments, knowing they’ll get a response in real-time. 80% of viewers would prefer to watch a livestream than read a blog post

Ask questions

The easiest way to find out what your audience likes and dislikes? What they want to read. What they want from your brand/product.

Ask.

You’ll strengthen your relationship with your community, and encourage engagement across all channels.

Get personal

If everything you write sounds like a press release, your content will be dismissed as too hardsell. Remember, consumers are human beings.

Be human. Not a PR robot.

Listen & hear

The whole point of social media engagement is encouraging conversation. Listen to your audience and what they have to say, before jumping in with a promo. Understand that a user has a complaint, and respond in a constructive and helpful way.

Not only will you keep the user happy, you’ll be demonstrating that you’re a brand that wants to help.

Track engagement

I’ll go into more detail later, but there are several tools to help you measure the results of your social media engagement strategy. Freebies and paid for. You’ll be able to find out who’s seeing your posts, how they’re responding, and the sentiment behind.

Provide value content

Don’t just promote yourself, provide tools to make consumers’ lives easier. Educational guides, how to videos, templates and checklists. Invite them to webinars you’re hosting, where they’ll learn more about your product.

Jump on trending topics

If it’s trending, it’s popular. If it’s popular, your audience are guaranteed to be watching.

Newsjacking - finding breaking news, trending hashtags and topics, events, culture news, and more.

“Newsjacking is the art of engaging with news stories and trends to drive more engagement. It keeps your brand relevant, trendy, and if done well, increases your chances of virality. The trick is finding the trends to newsjack quickly. Too slow, and you’ll miss the opportunity. Your messaging will be irrelevant and fail to make the impact you want. To get your ideas noticed, you have to be fast.“
The quick guide to newsjacking with Free Social Search

Talkwalker's Free Social Search - social media engagement strategy tool

Talkwalker's Free Social Search - free social media engagement strategy tool.

This tweet from Charmin is simple and relatable. It uses its campaign hashtag - #EnjoyTheGo - and avoids being too promotional. The brand isn’t capitalizing on the current situation - hey, we all need toilet paper - it’s offering its support.

A word of warning… newsjacking can easily go wrong. Choosing the wrong event, missing the mark with your message, etc. You must be sensitive, empathetic, and decent. Otherwise, you’ll damage your brand irreparably.

How to increase social media engagement

To increase your social media engagement, you’ll have to…

  • Understand what engagement is. Ask yourself what you want to target.
  • Analyze your current engagement - the rate, where from, etc.
  • What social media engagement strategies do you want to implement in the short and long term, to increase your engagement rate?

Yes, we’re talking about something as simple as responding to people online. Regardless, you still need a plan.

Let’s look at the key points your social media engagement strategy should include…

Define your goal

Doesn’t matter which area of marketing we’re talking about, you must have a goal. Your goal will depend on your business, and what you offer, and what will work for your brand. How will your audience benefit by engaging with your brand on social?

Are you trying to teach them new things? Make them laugh? Please don’t say - sell, sell, sell.

If you’re going the educational route, you’ll need to share resources such as free templates, checklists, and eBooks. Be able to answer their questions and help address their pain points.

What are you looking to gain from your social media engagement plan? Goals could include...

  • Finding and nurturing leads
  • Collecting product feedback
  • Finding user-generated content
  • Providing content that moves customers along the buying funnel
  • Improving brand reputation and increasing awareness

Know your audience

You’d be wasting your time creating loads of social messages, if you don’t know anything about your audience.

Before you start your social media engagement plan, you’ll need to know…

  • Demographics - age, gender, language
  • Location
  • When your audience is online

You can try to guess what consumers want to see on social media, but why take the risk of being wrong and not getting the engagement you’re after?

Let your audience tell you what they want.

Talkwalker Analytics showing demographics - consumer behavior

Talkwalker Analytics - demographics of Coca-Cola consumers.

A consumer behavior analysis will reveal their needs, desires, pain points, and purchasing habits. Listen to them, to find out the issues they’re having. Whether it’s with your product, your competitors, your industry…

Then - and, only then - offer the solution.

Moves like Jagger

I’ve said before, that social media is a soap box from which we can shout our opinions. It’s where we share our political views, roast or toast a new movie, complain about a brand.

But…

As a brand marketing tactic, that would ring the death knell for your business. For a brand, social media is where you help consumers. Interact and engage with them. Help them. Make them smile. Satisfy them. I’m talking about reactive and proactive engagement…

Reactive engagement

Answering direct messages, comments, @mentions your brand receives on social media. You’ll need to prepare how you’ll respond to the messages you receive, before they start appearing. Consider…

  • Do you reply to every @mention or comment?
  • What tools will you use to manage your accounts, workflow, responses?
  • Who will be responsible for responding besides the social media manager - HR, sales, product, customer support?

“You have to understand how each platform works. The demographics of your audience. The tone of voice of each channel. The interests of your followers. And more.”
Social Media Tips for Marketers

Get your social media checklist bundle!

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Download my free bundle of interactive social media checklists and cheat sheets.

Proactive engagement

Making the first move. You’ll need a social media engagement strategy tool like Talkwalker Alerts for this one. You need to find people talking about your brand online, but not on your social media accounts.

Ideal opportunities for you to put your engagement hat on, and get engaging.

Search for indirect mentions of your brand - your product, misspellings, campaign, hashtag, industry phrases, keywords relevant to your brand.

Talkwalker Alerts

Talkwalker Alerts - find mentions, keywords, phrases, and more.

If you’re looking to increase the buzz around an event you’re holding, your new product launch, a marketing campaign, you have to be proactive. Consider…

  • The tools you’ll need to find comments fast
  • Response best practices, once you’re alerted to an opportunity
  • Rules and examples of proactive engagement

Why you need to measure social media engagement

If you don’t, how will you know if your social engagement strategy is working?

To find your engagement rate, divide your engagements by the total reach of your post, then multiply by 100.

  • A low engagement rate indicates that you’re delivering the wrong content to your audience. You’ll start to lose followers, because you’re not giving them what they want.

  • If your engagement rate is high, expect an increase in follower growth. They love your content, and they’re sharing. You’re doing a good job.

How to measure your social media engagement

Social media platforms each have different ways for users to demonstrate their support for a post - retweets, shares, likes, pins…

Getting a ton of shares, retweets, and likes, shows that your social post is popular. While it’s nice to be popular, what you’re looking for are more fans. If you see your follower base increase, it proves you’re posting the right content. Users want to come back and see more.

To prove the effectiveness of your social media engagement campaigns, you’re going to need data. Lots of data.

“While measuring your vanity metrics can give you a buzz, they don’t always bring tangible value to your brand. But, with so many metrics, and new ones appearing regularly, which ones are critical? Which should you be tracking?”
Which Social Media Metrics Matter?

Although limited, social media platforms do provide inbuilt analytics…

I’d suggest using a single social media analytics tool to track all your social networks simultaneously. It’s gonna be way more efficient, and the social data you find will bring greater insights about your audience.

Measure your social media engagement strategy with a single social media analytics tool

Talkwalker Analytics - one tool, limitless data.

Having said that, I’ll give you a quick overview of the major social media networks’ inbuilt analytics tools.

Facebook Analytics

Use Facebook Insights for a general overview of your Facebook page. Data can be seen for one day, previous seven days, or the last 28. You’ll learn…

  • Most popular type of content
  • Best time of day to post
  • Best day of the week to post

Drill-down further and you’ll find high-level stats…

  • Page likes - organic, paid, and unlikes
  • Where page likes happened - where your likes are coming from
  • Reach - post engagement over time will show you what type of content performs well
  • Page views - identify the parts of your page that are working, and where your traffic’s coming from
  • Posts - see how many fans viewed your page per day, and what time they were online
  • Demographics - men vs women, age, language, location

LinkedIn Analytics

LinkedIn Company Page Analytics offers stats that can only be viewed by administrators of the page. You’ll find the following...

Visitors metrics

  • Page views - for last 30 days, or a set time period - total number of views of your page, across all tabs
  • Unique views - aggregated traffic metrics for your page, over time
  • Custom button clicks - total number of clicks on the custom button, e.g., Learn More
  • Visitor demographics - job role, location, seniority, industry, company size
  • Career page clicks – how many times viewers clicked the element of your careers’ page.
  • Life page traffic - total number of visits and unique visitors to your Life page

Update analytics

  • Update metrics - aggregated engagement metrics for organic and sponsored posts - impressions, clicks, reactions, comments, shares, engagement rate
  • Update engagement - metrics for individual posts

Follower analytics

  • Follower metrics - all-time followers and new followers of your page for last 30 days, or a set time period
  • Follower demographics – location, job function, seniority, industry, company size
  • Companies to track - benchmark your results compare with your competitors

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics gives you a 28 day summary, with changes over the previous period. You’ll learn, for each month…

  • Top tweet
  • Top mention
  • Top media tweet
  • Followers - increase/decrease
  • Impressions - how many times your tweets are seen

Click the Tweets tab, and you’ll be able to change the time period, and see impressions, engagements, and engagement rate. You can filter by…

  • All tweets
  • Top tweets
  • Tweets and replies
  • Promoted

Instagram Analytics

For your business profile, use Instagram Insights to find out who your followers are, when they’re online, and how many users looked at your posts.

Check the following metrics...

  • Website clicks - clicks on the link in your profile
  • Impressions - how many times your post has been seen
  • Profile visits - how many times a user visited your profile
  • Reach - unique views of your post
  • Posts - likes and comments on each image
  • Actions page - which posts made people visit your profile, follow you, click on your site
  • Discovery page - percentage of accounts who saw your post but didn’t follow

Snapchat

For your business account, Snapchat Insights allows you to track the following metrics…

  • Unique views - users who opened your Snapchat story - video or pic - and watch for minimum one second
  • View time - how many time users views your story
  • Screenshots - how many times a users took a screenshot of your video or pic
  • Completion rate - how many users watched from beginning to end
  • Fall-off rate - where users dropped off your story

YouTube Analytics

YouTube Channel Analytics lets you monitor the performance of your channel and videos. Find out where your traffic is coming from, and which global locations work best for your brand.

General report - An overview of how your brand messages have been performing for the previous 28 days. Check out demographic data about your audience. Take a snapshot of your performance metrics. Including watch time, views, and earnings. The engagement metrics include comments, shares, likes, dislikes, and favorites.

Realtime report - Find the performance data for your last five published videos. There’ll be two graphs with hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute stats - referring to the local time zone of the person viewing your video.

You can also look at earnings reports, to see how much revenue your ads are driving. Check out the audience retention graphs, to identify which elements of your videos are working. You can even discover if a viewer rewinds, rewatches, fast forwards, or bounces.

Pretty cool, no?

Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest Analytics reveals what visitors like about your profile and what they save from your website. There's also data about your audience - likes and dislikes, etc.

  • Pins – pins from your website
  • Pinners – people who pinned from your website
  • Repins – how many times content from your site was repinned
  • Repinners – people did the repinning
  • Impressions – your pins showing up in main and board feeds, or in search results
  • Reach – people who saw your pins
  • Clicks – clicks to your website that came from Pinterest
  • Visitors – people who visited your website from Pinterest
  • Most recent – most recent 100 pins from your website
  • Most repinned – choose one day, last seven days, or last 14 days - see the 100 most repinned pins
  • Most clicked – choose one specific day, last seven days, or last 14 days - see what pins or images are driving the most traffic

With a social media analytics tool, social data is used to measure the impact of your presence on social media, and the revenue it brings to your business. You’ll learn how consumers perceive your brand. What they think of your products. The sentiment behind their conversations - positive, neutral, negative. How your brand is talked about compared to that of your competitors.

With a social media analytics suite like Talkwalker, you’ll be able to track how much engagement a post or a post surrounding a particular keyword receives - retweets, likes, shares, pins, etc.

Social media engagement strategy tools - Talkwalker Analytics

Engagement over time.
Coca-Cola can dig deep into the spikes to find the cause.

Talkwalker analytics - social media engagement strategy tool

This is going to be fun. An experiment mixing Coca-Cola and Mentos.

Beauty!

Sentiment analysis will reveal the emotion behind comments made about your brand, products, industry, and competitors.

The virality map shows the speed at which a post is being shared and how it’s spreading online.

Talkwalker's virality map - social media engagement strategy tools

Totino’s - frozen pizza products - teamed up with the Call of Duty franchise.
The virality map shows how the press release spread off and online.

Share of voice identifies the proportion of discussion online about your brand, a trend, or topics compared to similar topics.

Talkwalker analytics SOV - social media engagement strategies

Talkwalker Analytics - share of discussion of complaints from airline customers on social media.

Best social media engagement strategy examples

At the time of writing this post, the world is suffering a scary pandemic. If we’re lucky enough, we’re working from home. Nurses, doctors, and care workers are risking their lives, trying to save ours. Scientists are frantically trying to find a vaccine. Politicians are squabbling...

Hey, what’s new?

Brands have been hit by the virus and are adjusting to this new situation. Some better than others. Here are a few examples of brands looking for and learning a new way to engage with consumers.

Lego | #LetsBuildTogether

The Lego challenge, posted daily, invites youngsters to build something. Subjects chosen by the brand, those taking part are then encouraged to post a picture of their efforts on Twitter.

“We’re launching #letsbuildtogether to support parents and inspire children. This will be simple play inspiration that helps the whole family find moments of playful joy as parents face the challenge of keeping their children creative, curious and connected.”
Lego Group

Getty Museum | #GettyMuseumChallenge

Such a simple and awesome idea. With most of us in lockdown, the museum asked people to recreate Getty pieces of art with household items.

The results were both genius and hilarious…

“ ...we issued a playful challenge on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to re-create your favorite art using just three objects lying around home. And wow, did you respond! Thousands and thousands of re-creations later, we’re in awe of your creative powers and sense of humor.”
The Iris - Getty Museum blog

Burger King Italia | Social Distancing Whopper

The burger brand added more onions to its Whopper, to encourage social distancing during COVID-19. A brave use of humour during a crisis.

“The Whopper with triple onions. That keeps others away from you.”
Burger King Italia

Smelly and fantastic!

You get the idea...

Nike | #PlayInside #PlayForTheWorld

Nike chose to give all athletes - yes, that’s everyone, even me - the digital resources and tools they need to stay active… indoors.

“Nike’s digital ecosystem — including the Nike App, NTC, NRC, social channels, nike.com and the podcast Trained — is full of free workouts, content and expert guidance to help athletes reach their fitness goals, whatever they are.”
Nike

No excuses, guys...

The most important thing when adapting your social media engagement strategies isn’t necessarily a fancy graphic, or clever copywriting. The most important thing is to be sensitive to what’s going on. How people are feeling - scared, lonely, bored, depressed.

If you offer support, ideas to make life better, a laugh, you’re onto a winner. McDonald's sharing it’s apple pie recipe, IKEA and it’s recipe for meatballs. It doesn’t even have to be a big brand name. Hairdressers posting videos showing how to tackle a haircut, home-bakers teaching viewers how to make bread, celebrities reading sonnets or demonstrating how to mix the perfect Negroni.

These are just some examples of the best social media engagement strategies right now. If you want to see more examples, check out Dan’s post, below...

“As the coronavirus crosses the world, our day-to-day lives are changing dramatically. Here, I look at how it’s impacting consumer trends, and how businesses are adapting to meet these new customer needs.”
Stay home: Consumer trends during COVID-19

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