What makes you read a blog post until the end? What makes you follow a brand on social media? Or, let’s get to the holy grail, what makes you hand over your email to join someone’s list?
I’m going to guess it because you find the writer’s content useful, informative and/or entertaining. Can we agree on this?
When you create content to post on social media, are you writing for search engines, or trying to increase social media engagement? SEO is important to get eyeballs on your content. However, SEO alone doesn’t translate to dollars. Content also needs to be engaging for your audience.
Your website should be at the center of all your online marketing activities, which means the content you put on the website, and in other places, is vital to the performance of your website. The content you post on social media should drive traffic to your website. The whole reason most small businesses are using social media is to drive traffic back to their website and get more sales. Without content, you have nothing.
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While content types change, the value of content never changes. When you realize the value of the content that you create, you’ll take the time to create it right. This goes for your social media posts too.
After all, remember that humans are reading the content, not robots. Therefore, even though you need to use keywords in the text, it doesn’t mean the content should be boring and generic. Levels of social media engagement largely depend on the value of the content being shared.
I don’t want to read boring, generic content, do you? Take a look at the different kinds of content you’re posting. Are you providing helpful tips, insights, asking questions, making people laugh, or making them look at themselves in the mirror? Pull an emotional response out of your audience and you will get engagement.
5 Tips to Improve Social Media Engagement
At the heart of the matter is commerce. Let’s face it, humans are buyers, not robots. Robots do not join your mailing list, or whip out credit cards. Therefore, your content must engage a human audience, and convince a human prospect to take ACTION. Let’s look at 5 ways to increase engagement rates.
Number 1: Check Out Your Competitors
Assess the competitive landscape:
- How often does your competition post on social media?
- Do they get better social media engagement?
- Are they writing all their own blog content or do they have guest bloggers?
- Do you know whether they’ve hired a ghost writer or if they’re all self-written?
- How do they share and promote their content?
Understanding how your competition operates can help make you better because you can find a way to make yourself different. Conversely, if you can see a strategy that seems to be working for your competition, why not give it a try? Nobody said you have to reinvent the wheel!
Number 2: Create and Curate Unique, Valuable Content
Every bit of content you create for your website or blog should be unique. There is a place for republishing other people’s articles (article marketing), if you make it original with your own words and thoughts added. Still, most of the content on your website/blog should be unique to your brand and provide value to your audience.
This doesn’t mean you can’t curate content. On the contrary, if you curate content well, your content will still be valuable and unique. Your blog can be the one-stop shop resource for your audience.
The same holds true for your social media posts. You should be posting original content mixed in with curated content. Consider the types of information your fans want, as it corresponds to your brand and product offerings.
To create effective content, you have to know your own brand. For example:
- Is your brand conservative, liberal, mainstream, controversial, etc?
- What kinds of humor resonate with your audience?
- Are your fans looking for scholarly insights, or do they want little nuggets of info they can ponder and use on an every day basis?
Once you figure out who you want to draw in as a fan, then you can figure out the best types of content to post.
Number 3: Answer Questions
You don’t have to have people emailing you questions to answer them. Go to where your audience is: forums, message boards, and other blogs. Find questions that are relevant to your niche and answer them on your blog. It’s a great way to find content to write, and your audience will feel like you can read their mind.
For example: Hop on a social site like Quora, Reddit or even LinkedIn. Look for questions people are asking in popular groups. Is there a good bit of engagement around this question? Are there a bunch of answers given? Then that demonstrates the question/topic as hot!
Why not write a blog post or shoot a video that not only answers the question, but elaborates on the subject matter, with tips and additional resources? Then post that blog post or video as an answer to the original question in the chat. Viola! You have just positioned yourself as an authority in that subject!
Number 4: Ask Questions of Your Readers
If you want to be more interactive with your audience, end every post, article and video with a question to the viewer. Invite them to answer questions, even give them incentives to do so such as random prizes or a special shout out on social media. The more you interact with your readers over the content that you offer, the more engaging your content will be. One thing feeds off another.
Number 5: Promote, Promote, Promote
Finally, don’t forget to promote your content via social media. Due to the social nature of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, you can use social media in a way to elicit engagement from your followers.
You can do this by continually sharing important content that you’ve created with them, and answering their questions. Then you can work on promoting those questions and answers as hard as you promote the content that prompted the questions and answers.
Don’t forget, social media feeds move at the speed of light! This means you can’t simply post something once and expect anyone to see it. Keep your lead-generating content in rotation across different channels to maximize visibility.
We covered tips for creating engaging content. Can you see the common thread, woven between each of these tips?
Dive deeper and get involved in conversations.
Now that you’ve learned how to create engaging content, it’s time to dive deeper and immerse yourself into the social landscape on a deeper level. Drive people back to your website to convert those followers into leads.
Spend time looking at what’s working for your competitors. Don’t be afraid to lurk around and assess the landscape. Did she say lurk? Yeah, I said lurk. You know you do it anyway…
Start asking questions and answering questions. Create content based on what people are talking about, what they’re asking for, and watch your engagement stats go up!