This article was originally published on PR Daily in May 2016.
A strong social media presence is an essential part of many marketing plans.
Although having more Twitter followers or Facebook “likes” might make you feel superior, the number of social media followers is a vanity metric. The real value of your social media efforts lies within your interaction.
Higher engagement means your social media audience is paying attention and receiving your message. It’s the metric that best evaluates the dialogue between brand managers and consumers.
Higher engagement means more meaningful customer relationships. Although your number of followers is important, finding a balance between quantity and quality will help you reap the real rewards of a social media campaign.
Here are five tips to crank up your interaction, traffic and shares:
1. Key on the power of images.
Posts with an attractive image receive more interaction. Not just any old image will do, though. Use a high-resolution and relevant image to stand out in users’ timelines.
Buffer found that tweets with images received 18 percent more clicks, 89 percent more favorites and 150 percent more retweets overall. Tools such as Pablo by Buffer and Canva can help you create your own branded social media images in a matter of minutes.
2. Ask questions.
Asking questions is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get people to interact with your posts. Kissmetrics found that Facebook posts with questions generate double the comments.
Ask your audience about their favorite products, what they want to see from your brand in the future or about a news item that’s relevant to your niche.
To take it a step further, host a Q&A session on Twitter, Reddit or Google Hangouts. This lets fans interact with your organization’s key players and ask about your products directly.
3. Harness the hashtag.
Take advantage of trending hashtags to increase interaction on Instagram and Twitter. Using a popular hashtag will put your brand in front of more people. You can add popular industry hashtags to your posts to make them easier for relevant people to find you or include your brand’s take on a trending topic.
You can even “hijack” a hashtag and use it to promote your business. Just be careful not to incur outrage by making any of these big brand blunders.
4. Focus on the right platforms.
Choose a platform based on the activity of your target audience. A fashion brand might find more interaction on Instagram and Pinterest, whereas a B2B company may might engage more potential customers on LinkedIn.
Work to understand your buyer persona, who your target customers are and where they spend their time online. Focusing on specific channels will yield the best engagement and strengthen your existing connections.
5. Monitor analytics.
Review your analytics as frequently as possible. Although it’s tough to determine which types of content resonate best with your target audience, various tools can help.
Use data to figure out how well your posts are performing and which tactics are most effective.
Increasing your presence on various social media platforms requires the right blend of understanding your audience, following best practices and using analytics to assess and tweak your tactics.