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We’re not even halfway into 2018 but social media platform giants, like Facebook, have already thrown marketers and business owners for a loop. They’re bowing to the concerns of consumers and for good reason; but that has made reaching target audiences increasingly difficult. Content needs to prove its worth before it magically shows up in the feeds of consumers.
How is this worth proven? Through likes, comments, reactions and shares— in short, ENGAGEMENT!
While I know my opinion is that of the minority in my field, I think these restrictions are actually going to be beneficial. Why? Because they force us as business owners, marketers and content creators to look at what we’re doing currently in a different way; repositioning ourselves to be a part of the community instead of a salesman at the gate.
While engagement is king on Facebook and the amount of it on your posts is what can make or break you, before you go buying traffic to up those metrics… try following my 7 tips for increasing engagement. They’re working for me and I bet they’ll work for you too.
1.) Don’t Be Self-centric
We ALL like to talk about ourselves and our opinions. I’m not suggesting we’re self absorbed as a species, I am however stating that we’re all eager to connect. This is pretty good news for us as that’s exactly what we’re trying to do when we share our content— to create a connection between our ideas and our audience.
So don’t make yourself the subject of all your posts. While it’s necessary to identify yourself and share who are, try posing a question within your post so others will feel inclined to be present. They’ll appreciate being asked versus being told something, and their responses will help you identify what it is the people who view your content are interested in— information that can help inform future content!
2.) Know Your Audience Archetype
You’ve probably heard over and over that you need to “know your audience,” but that’s because it’s vital. If I were to ask you who your audience is, what comes to mind?
If anything remotely close to “M/F age 18-55 making $X annually,” is your answer, scrap it and start over. This is an outdated means of audience targeting— there’s so much more to the individuals in our following than gender, age and income. When we can recognize what those things are, we can better communicate.
That improved communication has a grand effect on engagement, because your viewers will feel like you’re actually acknowledging them and the things they care about— they’ll feel like you’re talking right to them, and that’s hard to ignore.
3.) Take Your Own Photos
The amount of stock photography I see when scrolling through my facebook feed is astounding. While stock imagery can still be striking, it’s impersonal.
If you’re asking your audience to get to know you or your business, you need to show them a little bit of you too.
This doesn’t require expensive cameras or professional editing; just take your phone and go snap some pictures. This touch of personalization will make your postings seem more natural and can incentivize engagement. People don’t want to talk to companies or organizations, they want to create those connections we talked about earlier and your custom photography can help show your audience that you’re approachable and worth talking to!
4.) Get Your Timing Right
The time of day you post can have a significant effect on the engagement you receive. Sites like Hootsuite or Sprout Social have written plenty of articles on the subject, and on average they note that earlier in the morning, around 9 am, and mid afternoon, between 1pm and 3pm, are the best hours for engagement.
The way to learn how YOUR content gathers engagement best, however, is to do some testing.
For a week try doing all your postings in the morning at a specific time, and then later in the day the following week. After your two week testing period, check out which posts get more traction and consider that when scheduling out future posts.
5.) Consistency is Key
Out of sight, out of mind.
You can’t build a following if you’re taking regular hiatuses from posting. It’s important to figure out what a realistic posting schedule can be for you, one you can stick to.
If you don’t have time to commit to posting at least once a day, what can you commit to and when?
If you’ve got Wednesdays and Saturdays at 3pm free, then prioritize posting on your page on those days at that time… every week! Maintain your momentum, because trying to rebuild the popularity you may gain can be a mammoth task.
6.) Know Your Theme
So often I’ll find a video of someone talking about something I’m really interested in but when I go back to their page to see posts with similar content, I’m met with a confused collection of content covering every topic under the sun.
If you want consistent engagement, you need to develop a following and this is considerably more difficult to do when your posting topics are all over the place. Your content needs a focus so you can reach an actual audience. (Because how many people are interested in landscape photography, fantasy football AND videos of cats dressed as colonial dolls? Not many.)
Some keep their content diversified because it can increase the number of followers you have, but the retention of those followers is often small because the pages’ content isn’t focused.
The value of your followers comes from their engagement, so 100K followers who don’t ever acknowledge you are as good as no followers.
7.) Don’t Be Selfish With Your Social
It’s easy to use your social existence as merely a mouth piece for your own agenda, but you shouldn’t. Platforms like Facebook are full of talented individuals creating great content, so check some of it out and start engaging!
There’s so many benefits to this; you can get inspiration for your future content, see how others are promoting similar content to your own— like if they use a different style of copy or include different images, and what’s working best for them. But most importantly, it shows you’re also engaged!
You being social will result with more individuals seeing your name, and potentially being social with you! The others within your content community will also notice your engagement and learn who you are when they otherwise may not have. This opens the door for future partnered postings and affiliate content.
There’s plenty more you can do to grow your social following and up your engagement game, but these 7 tips are the knockout hits your postings need.