Key to a successful social media strategy is consistency with regard to the quantity and quality of your social media posts.
However, sometimes marketers find themselves in a position where they are posting high quality content on a daily basis and receiving very little interaction. That can be discouraging, and it isn’t always an easy problem to solve.
Nevertheless, there are some things you can try that will help you build a more engaging social media presence. Here are five ways to create social content that people feel compelled to engage with.
1. Ask a Question.
One easy way to get your audience to engage with your posts is to simply ask for it explicitly. Use a post to pose an engaging question. The kinds of questions to ask are the ones that will not only get your followers to respond but that also generate cross-talk between followers in the comment section.
One way to achieve this is by posing a question that will stir a “faux” controversy. In other words, get people to argue with one another. Just don’t make it an actual controversy. Rather, it should be an argument people will find joy in engaging in.
For example, don’t ask a question like, “What are your thoughts on meaningful gun reform?” Instead, ask a question like, “If you had to eliminate pizza, burgers, or chicken wings from the planet forever, which would you choose and why?”
Even better is a question of debate about certain methods, products, or practices that are relevant only to the specific niche of your industry. People will gladly share their thoughts and argue with one another, but will ultimately come away from the interaction having a positive emotion toward the post, and as a byproduct, your organization.
2. Give a ‘Behind the Scenes’ Look at Your Organization.
In a world where seemingly everything is edited, cropped, and overproduced, people love to see off-the-cuff content that feels authentic and gives them a sense of the people behind the brand.
So your social media team may consider giving your audience a tour of your office, hosting a casual livestream from a conference or roadshow, or featuring images, videos, and messages from people across different departments of your organization.
People are more likely to engage with people online whom they feel they know. So let your audience get to know you.
3. Strategically Engage With Hashtags.
Hashtags can help you jump into a conversation that is already in progress and where people are already engaging. Hashtag research is both an art and a science, but if you can manage to find the right one for the right moment, it may increase your exposure and get more people to interact with your posts.
Be sure not to overuse hashtags, though. While a platform like Instagram allows users to attach up to 30 hashtags to each post, leveraging that many at one time can make your organization come off as “spammy.” So when it comes to leveraging hashtags, think quality over quantity.
4. Be Responsive in the Comment Section.
People can tell when a brand has a “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to social media. Social media posts are created ahead of time, plugged into scheduling software, and posted automatically. When someone comments, there is no one from the organization who will even see it, much less respond to it.
It doesn’t take long for people to catch on to the fact that there are no actual people behind the post. And once they do, they will stop engaging.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t map out your content or utilize social media scheduling software. These are valuable aspects of a successful social media strategy. But even more important to creating an engaging social media platform is being an engaging organization that responds to comments.
If your organization’s social media following is small enough, there is no reason why you shouldn’t provide some kind of response to every single comment that appears below a post.
As your influence grows, this may not be possible. Even still, you can maintain your personal touch. In the words of Andy Stanley, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” For those with whom you have bandwidth to engage, engage with them on a deep level.
5. Create New Content Based on Which Previous Posts Got the Most Engagement.
Being social on social media is about listening. Those who build truly engaging platforms learn to listen at scale.
As you scroll back through your organization’s social media posts, even if you do not receive a ton of engagement overall, there are likely some posts that did better than others. Take time to analyze why that may be. Look for patterns. Try to recreate some of the magic of those posts in a fresh way.
Much like with hashtags, this is something of an art and a science. So, sometimes you’ll take a swing and epically miss. But that’s okay. Not every post will be a home run. If you are consistent about listening and watching for what gets the most engagement, you are bound to hit at least a few.
At the end of the day, creating an engaging social media presence is all about the people: speaking directly to them and listening to their input and insights. In order to be truly engaging, your social media accounts must become more than a mere stream of content. They need to evolve into communities.