6 -Tips on How to Increase Engagement

As with almost all areas of life, the internet has revolutionized the way businesses market their products and services. By the end of 2016, digital platforms, including social media, had surpassed traditional forms like newspapers and TV advertising. A whopping $60 billion was spent on social media marketing in 2016 alone. What this means for your business is really quite simple: Get in or lose out!

Although lots of businesses already know the value of social media to their marketing efforts, many still grapple with how to use it effectively. Research shows that the most effective way to benefit from social media is to increase engagement. It is not enough to simply advertise and increase inbound traffic; it has become more imperative to engage with your consumers to create stellar social strategies. Given that this is a complete departure from the way marketing was traditionally done, it is not surprising that one of the challenges that confront brands today is how to achieve a meaningful connection.

According to a recent survey, 91% of businesses declared that the issue they would most like to figure out is how to best connect with people through social media. If you happen to be grappling with this issue too, here are six effective tips that will help you increase engagement with your social media marketing initiatives:

Get your Timing Right

Choosing the right time to post your messaging is absolutely critical, because the window of opportunity for engagement on social media is very small indeed. According to Hootsuite, a leading social media management system, Facebook posts reach 75% of their potential engagement in five hours while the average tweet reaches this 75% mark in less than three hours. It is therefore important to get your message out in front of as many eyeballs as possible when the largest portion of your target audience is online.

Research suggests that the most advantageous times to post on Facebook is between 1–4 p.m (EST) late into the week and on weekends; and 12–3 p.m (EST) during the work week for Twitter, with a peak best time at 5 p.m. For other platforms, see this comprehensive analysis of what 16 studies say about the best times to post on social media (all times EST). The key takeaway here is that in order to achieve optimal engagement with your social media marketing, you need to be getting your message out at the right time.

Social media tools like Hootsuite help you automate and schedule updates across different channels, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of the right time to post. It offers a freemium for three social networks and you can pre-schedule posts and monitor them all from one dashboard.

Strengthen your Blogging

Blogging is an influential medium through which businesses can communicate with consumers. Regardless of length, the key thing is that blogs should be attention grabbing, interesting and informative. The language should be reader friendly, easy and understandable. Content should be current and accurate and, very importantly, they must be mobile friendly. And focus on post quality and not quantity, ensuring that your blogs are things your followers can relate to (invaluable information).

And while we’re on the subject of blogging, a great tip is to revitalize old content. How do bloggers keep up with all their content and social channels? They repurpose everything. There are many reasons to do this, but the most important one is to maximize your past hard work and advertising spend. If you’ve already applied your mind, skills and efforts into creating the best content for your audience, you don’t have to let those old favorites go to waste. Find the most popular post which resonated best with your followers in the past and update them with new information, then post them again. Retrofit them for various social media channels, and use them to gain attention again.

Crowdsource and Community Involvement

A great way to improve social media engagement is to leverage your existing community and crowdsource product ideas, designs, advice and feedback. A great example of this is from Anheuser-Busch, the world’s largest beer maker, which crowdsourced the creation of a new craft beer to Doritos chips, which has used customer-created ads for its Super Bowl marketing since 2006 – big brands have used crowd-sourcing to boost customer engagement. Additionally, General Mills seeks ideas from their community on the regular – from ingredients to packaging, to new product ideas, opening up the floor to social listening. Consider Lay’s “Do us a Flavor” contest where fans are asked to submit their ideas for the next great Lay’s potato chip.

Getting your community involved by asking them for ideas, advice and suggestions is one essential way to turn them into well-engaged brand evangelists or industry enthusiasts. A simple status update on your social media channel asking for help from your community can lead to a whole new opportunity for not only engagement, but also new ground-breaking ideas.

Ask Questions Creatively

Asking your fans questions can get you some responses, but if you really want to inspire engagement and kick it up a notch, consider including multiple choice answers with captivating graphics to help promote response. Let’s say for example you’re in the food industry. A question like “whats your favorite dish?” could be so basic that fans might not be engaged to answer. Ask a similar question with multiple choice answers, illustrated by a captivating graphic, and you’re more likely to get loads of responses. Pictures and humor can do wonders for social media engagement.

Zomato, a restaurant finder app writes witty social media content asking their fans questions in a way that simulates engagement (includes stimulating graphics).

Show your Personality

Much like humans, brands too have personality traits. Having a distinct personality can help differentiate your brand from your competition and helps build brand salience. Also not to mention, social media should be a place to not only provide invaluable advice to your followers but also a place to embody your brands personality. Attaching personalities to brands can make them more desirable to consumers. Having a consistent personality influences trust, attachment, and commitment.

Here are some personality traits:
Youthful/Carefree – relate to excitement
Thoughtful/Kind/Trustworthy – related to sincerity
Leader/Successful/Influential – relate to competence and logic
Elegance/Prestige – relate to sophistication
Allure/Exclusivity/Status – relate to desirability
Athletic/Rough – relate to ruggedness
Humorous/Funny – relates to happiness and playfulness

Research suggests that brands that adopt Youthful/Carefree and Humourous/Funny personality traits generate 62% more engagement than those who contain personalities related to competence and logic. Now we’re not encouraging every brand to embrace a carefree, humorous temperament – what we ‘are’ saying is don’t be afraid to be a little playful at times.

 

Dopamine Driven Engagement

Rational vs Emotional

As much as we want to believe we are rational human beings, much of our existence and decisions are formed by our emotional being. We rely more on our emotions than we do with reasoning. We buy products because of our emotions and then use reasoning to justify ourselves into making that decision. Once the emotion is created, you can link it to almost anything.

Naturally, we crave dopamine and our actions, subconsciously, are guided towards releasing more dopamine. This is why people crave achievement, when we accomplish something it releases our dopamine and causes us to feel good. When we feel good, we naturally remember it more vividly. This is why marketers rely so heavily on achieving this dopamine rush when designing creatives; this increases brand recall and engagement.

Gamification and Loyalty

Ads that get consumers to solve puzzles or discover new information can be used to trigger this dopamine release. It’s more of a subliminal connection that makes people feel good about themselves. Identification, virtual awards, and special discounts can activate the brain’s reward center. Simply solving a puzzle or discovering new information about a company or brand can make consumers feel important and encourages brand engagement.

How to Encourage a Dopamine Rush 

  • Get your customers to solve a puzzle before receiving your promotions (obviously a simple puzzle).
  • Alert prospects and customers that they are “first to know”. When people think they are important (discover the information first), it releases that feel good dopamine rush and makes people act upon your information.
  • Share an insider story – people like to know the inside scoop. Combine insider information with storytelling. Maybe introduce how your company (brand) started and let your customers know a little about your story.
  • Leverage limited time offers – when there is a limited time a service or product is available, it creates more desire to purchase (or act upon) it now.
  • Use a reward system – use a loyalty reward system to reward initial buyers and encourage more purchases. Present small rewards as a base offering for being a part of the program and then encourage repeat purchase by increasing the value of that reward the closer they move up the ladder (the more they spend).
  • Charge an upfront fee for VIP discounts – this may sound unreasonable but there is a reason companies do it. A small five dollar fee is enough to get your customers to use their discounts more often. People want to make the most of their discounts, so if the promotions are free to everyone, they are less willing to do it.