How to Successfully Engage with Your Customers Via Social Media
It’s a common misconception that the bigger your social media following is the better, but this isn’t necessarily true. You can have all the followers in the world but if nobody talks to you, that kind of defeats the point. The clue’s in the name.
Rather than playing the numbers game, savvy businesses are focusing their efforts on maximising engagement on social media. The logic is straightforward: the more your following engages with your brand, the more likely your content is to reach more of the right people, increasing traffic to your site, maximising conversions and potentially turning one-time customers into loyal advocates.
(Still unconvinced? Read this story about Burger King Norway, which actively culled its Facebook following by over 75 percent and now has a chattier, more positive audience, as a case in point.)
Dos and Don’ts of Engaging Social Media Posts
Here are some quick-fire tips for maximising engagement on social media across four of the most popular platforms.
- Don’t sell, sell, sell. Aim for a 20:80 ratio, balancing sales posts out with compelling, relevant and non-promotional content.
- Do use images to boost engagement. Facebook posts with photos generate 53 percent more likes and 104 percent more comments [source: FastCompany.com].
- Do respond to all comments within 24 hours – especially negative ones. Use a human tone of voice to show that you genuinely care and are not simply going through the motions.
- Don’t go off on one. Keep posts short and sweet to pique your followers’ interest without making their eyes glaze over. 40 – 80 characters is about right for most updates.
- Don’t be tempted to buy Likes. This will actually lower the percentage of your following that engages with your content, having a negative impact on your visibility in the long run.
- Don’t be too formal. Talk to your followers rather than at them and use imperatives, superlatives and quotable, quick-fire tips to encourage favourites and retweets.
- Do use images to attract more engagement, clicks and conversions. Use a size ratio of 2:1.
- Do link to relevant content, using compelling CTAs to encourage clicks to your site.
- Don’t throw hashtags in willy-nilly. Make sure they’re adding value, either by enhancing your branding or by broadening your reach. One or two per tweet should be plenty.
- Don’t be tempted to include 140 characters in every tweet just for the sake of it. Tweets with fewer than 100 characters attract 17 percent higher engagement. [Source: Salesforce]
- Don’t think of it as just a CV or business profile. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for connecting with prospects and influencers and establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field.
- Do post information that will help followers with their business and career endeavours. Content like best practices, trends and commentary pieces tend to perform best.
- Do use images and enticing CTAs to encourage clicks and interactions. As with Facebook and Twitter, this will help your content to stand out from the bumf dominating people’s feeds.
- Don’t be a stranger. Join LinkedIn Groups and contribute your news and views to get your voice out there and build relationships with potential partners and customers.
- Do make the most of LinkedIn apps to sync your account with Twitter, add your WordPress blog, feature your events and more.
- Don’t miss out. Pinterest generates four times more money per click than Twitter and 27 percent more than Facebook [source: Quick Sprout], so particularly if you’re in fashion or retail, you’d be foolish to overlook this powerful selling tool.
- Do use good quality lifestyle images wherever possible. Avoid using stock images at all costs.
- Do use hashtags to maximise targeting and cash in on trending topics.
- Do link pins through to meaningful content, such as guides and tutorials. This can increase traffic to your site and establish your brand as an authority within your industry.
- Do include prices and engaging CTAs to maximise clicks and interactions. Pins that include prices have a 36 percent more likes [source: Thewebmate].
Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Media
Maximising social media engagement is not just about what content you post and how you get the message across; it’s also about when you choose to post. The table below offers a summary of the best and worst times to post on six major social media platforms in order to maximise click-through rate (CTR).
|Best for||The Afternoon
|Lunchtime||Lunch Breaks & After Work||Weekend
|Night Owls||Early Birds|
|1pm – 4pm||1 – 3pm||Noon
5 – 6pm
|7 – 10pm||9 – 10am|
|Wed||Mon – Thur||Tue – Thur||Weekends||Fri
Sun – Tue
|Worst time &
day to post
& After 8pm
After 8pm &
Fridays After 3pm
|Mon & Fri
10pm – 6am
Adapted from The Best (And Worst) Times To Post On Social Media (Infographic) by Rachel Gillett at FastCompany.com
Measuring Social Media Engagement
‘But how do I measure the success of my social media campaigns?’
This is a hurdle that we often run into when discussing social media best practices with our clients. ‘Social media engagement’ seems like rather a fluffy and ill-defined concept, so how does one go about monitoring it?
This is important, because while the above tips for maximising social media engagement should, in theory, serve you well as a general set of guidelines, in practice every business, industry and niche is unique and commands a slightly different approach.
In their excellent guide to the metrics of social media engagement, Hootsuite distinguishes between the metrics of engagement (likes, comments and so on) and those of amplification (shares, retweets etc.). Whilst the former provides a means of measuring the success of your content, the latter is arguably more valuable, as it enables you to monitor the exposure of that content.
Comments / Clicks
Comments / Clicks
Adapted from The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Metrics: Engagement by Kate Dunham at Hootsuite
Some platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, offer their own analytics programmes to give users personalised insights about the success of their social media activities.
This information can help you obtain a better understanding which types of content perform well and which types don’t, and to track your growth and performance over time. It can also be used to measure the success of promotional campaigns and inform your decisions for future initiatives.
It can even provide insights about your demographics and whether or not your content is reaching the right audience. Further investigation will lead you to individuals who are regularly engaging with your brand, in turn enabling you to develop mutually beneficial relationships with advocates and key influencers in your field.
Maximising engagement on social media takes a lot of time and work, but provided you keep up to date with best practices, it can enable you to build up a strong and loyal following that is far more meaningful than customers and advocates obtained by other, less labour-intensive means.
Having said that, for many business operators there simply isn’t enough time in the day to keep multiple social media accounts up to date. If that sounds like you, Zelst can work with you to develop a strategy that’ll help you maximise social media engagement and grow your business online.