How to get more social media engagement from kick-ass content
Social media engagement is a hot topic in social media right now. When Facebook announced changes to their algorithms to prioritize engaging content on people’s news feeds, it sent ripples through social media. Brands need to be engaging, or become irrelevant.
But how do you get people engaging with your content?
Be part of the world’s conversation
There are around 55 million posts every day on Facebook alone. That’s a lot of social media engagement, without considering the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and any other networks your consumers may be using.
You need to be part of that conversation, without becoming part of the noise.
The difficulty is finding the conversations that matter. The topics that are resonating with your audience. The posts that Facebook says create ‘meaningful interactions.’ Or to use the industry term, create engagement.
Engagement: vanity or optimization
The difficulty with engagement is that many people consider it a vanity metric: a measurement that looks good on paper but isn’t tied to any specific business goal. Likes and comments on posts may look good, but do they actually do anything for your marketing strategy?
Daniel Hochuli says they do. Instead of treating them as ‘vanity metrics,’ he uses engagements as ‘optimization metrics.’ This is because measurements like social media engagement can be used to see what brand messages interest your audience, allowing you to optimize your content based on what works.
“Use vanity metrics to improve your content on channels, and lead to higher engagement.”
Daniel Hochuli, LinkedIn content marketing evangelist
Eli Hochberg has demonstrated that social media engagement doesn’t just garner likes, but can actually impact on actionable business goals too.
"Spamming content kinda works. People will see it and they may reach out. But you know what works best? Writing relevant content! For a few months, I tested writing generic posts vs. targeted ones. The generic posts got engagement but led to zero sales. However, the targeted posts got more engagement AND brought in actual clients. Coincidence? Nope - just strategic targeting."
Eli Hochberg, Marketing systems creator, and co-founder of 30 Days Social
Now you know how important engagement is, how do you create content that’s optimized to engage your target audience?
You don’t need a crystal ball. You need a microscope
To predict what will engage in the future, you need to know what worked in the past. That requires social listening, where you analyze the social mentions of brands, topics, and trends.
“If you invest some time analyzing the market trends, understanding engagement with other brands and analyzing your own engagement you can make dramatic improvements. To make sure this is not a time intensive process investing in a good tool will help significantly.”
Ian Cleary, Content/Growth Marketer, Founder of RazorSocial
You need a good tool like Quick Search, which offers insights from the last 13 months, yet is still quick and easy to use.
Case study: how to write social media engagement grabbing stories
At this point, it’s important to show you how to earn social media engagement, not just tell you how. So, let’s look at a specific case study.
Imagine yourself in the shoes of a food blogger. You need to create an engaging story for a blog that goes live tomorrow. And yet you have no idea where to start.
There were 8.9 million engagements with food industry related stories in the last 13 months. That’s a lot to analyze to optimize your content. But in just 4 steps, you can find inspiration for an engaging article.
The 4 steps to an engaging article
Find the sentiment
Start by finding a subject that’s garnering positive sentiment. Or majorly negative sentiment if you want to poke the hornet’s nest. In the case of food, I looked at the four major food groups. Protein was the most positive of them all.
See what’s trended
At this point, I started digging into the topic to see what the main chatter was about. I was aware that veganism was on the rise (from a previous article), so alternative proteins seemed like a good choice to take. When I looked at the keywords around that topic, insects were creating a lot of buzz.
Check the recent social media engagement
Next, narrow down your search to more recent conversations to ensure your topic is still relevant. In the last 3 months, edible insects gathered 3.4K mentions, 16.7k engagements, and was still seen as reasonably positive.
Look deeper into your subject
Now, dig deeper into your chosen topic to find article ideas and inspiration. Not only can you find the major issues and ideas people have covered, but also the supporting articles, social posts, and images you could use to build your story.
In a matter of minutes, you’ve gone from having no idea what to write, to a list of inspiring topics that you know are resonating with your audience.
Based on the above, I spitballed some ideas for social media engagement headlines:
- There’s a fly in my soup: Fine dining brings insects to the menu, with chef Thitiwat Tantragarn.
- My 5 favorite bugs: An honest taste test of the best edible insects on the market.
- A sustainable future: Insects will be a major food source in your lifetime.
- Tastes like chicken (but with more protein) - Will crickets be the next diet craze?
Plus, I found a global story that I can reference/link to...
The human touch
You’ll notice there’s still a human element in this creative process, and that’s key for several reasons.
- Research is part of the fun. Rummaging through real-time data and finding real-time insights is an enjoyable part of the copywriter role.
- You’re writing for humans. You still need a human perspective to make sure your stories are engaging.
- We don’t want robots writing our social media engagements. If there was complete automated ideation, we’d all be out of jobs.
That’s just one example
Creating relevant content is one way to encourage consumer engagement. What about the other issues?
How do you -
- Build engagement for a negative brand?
- Find an engaging niche for your product?
- Source and compare influencers to see which engages best?
- Engage with your consumers’ aspirations?
- See which long-term trends impact your marketing?
- Discover engaging images for your campaign?
- Analyze your competitors for marketing inspiration?
That’s a lot of topics. If you want to build maximum engagement for your marketing, these are things you need to know.
We’ve got you covered.
The 2018 Campaign Playbook
All these engagement issues are covered in Talkwalker’s new 2018 Campaign Playbook. It’s completely free to download, and analyzes a variety of major brands from around the world (Apple, Kellogg’s, ASOS), to see how they win consumer engagement. With inspiration on how to echo their techniques to get more engagement for your brands. Grab it here:
Engage or die
Engagement is essential for your brand. It isn’t just a vanity metric, but when analyzed and optimized effectively, it can be used to drive tangible results and sales.
Effectiveness is key. You can’t double-guess your audience anymore. You need to know what’s relevant to your consumers, and what brand insights will resonate with them, to create marketing that resonates with them.
With a little understanding, and efficient use of analytics, you can create real social media engagement, and get real business results.