7 Ways to Increase Social Engagement

Anna Sonnenberg


August 18, 2016 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

No matter what kind of goods or services your company sells, social media is likely to be a key component of your marketing strategy. While social media holds a tremendous amount of marketing potential for your brand, you need to know how to tap into it in order to meet your goals. Discover seven ways to increase social engagement to promote your brand, generate web traffic, and drive conversions.

Zero In On Emotions

Image via Flickr by Kris Olin

One of the simplest ways to boost social sharing is to focus on your audience’s emotions. Typically, positive content that inspires happinessgenerates the highest engagement. Content that packs the combined punch of joy and surprise can encourage sharing and commenting that far exceeds expectations, and may even go viral.

As you might expect, negative content that arouses anger, fear, and other strong emotions can also generate significant engagement. Like positive social content, negative posts and graphics tend to work best when they incorporate the element of surprise. Create surprising content that your audience finds memorable, and you just might find that it goes viral.

Start Participating Instead of Just Posting

No matter what type of content you post, make sure that your social media platforms aren’t one-sided. Brands that simply post content without interacting come across as disengaged. Even if your product or service is the best in its market, a one-sided social media account doesn’t give your customers much reason to follow along.

Rather than waiting for new fans to find you, do the legwork yourself. Assemble a short list of important influencers in your community, comment on their social posts, and engage with them online. In doing so, not only will you seek out these high-level followers, but your interactions will also help you gain a host of other fans.

A high-visibility way to connect with new followers is to participate in a Twitter chat. Make sure it’s relevant to your market, and use the opportunity to join in the conversation and demonstrate your expertise. Along the same lines, consider joining social media groups that offer a friendly platform for connecting with potential followers and clients.

Facilitate Conversations

Instead of simply telling your audience what your company offers and bombarding followers with advertisements, facilitate conversations. This can be as easy as asking your audience questions. Ask them for specifics, such as their favorite item in your product line, or prompt them to share more with open-ended questions about their experiences.

You can also give conversations a life of their own by hosting question-and-answer (Q&A) sessions. These can take the form of open-ended ask-me-anything conversations or more structured weekly Q&A sessions where followers can rely on regular assistance from your brand.

If you’re considering launching new products or you want to get feedback from customers, conducting a poll or survey is also a smart way to facilitate conversations. Social contests are another way to provide incentives for followers to participate and share your content, especially if there’s something in it for them. Be sure to tag followers when answering questions or announcing winners, and give credit where it’s due to further engage audience members.

Don’t Leave Your Audience Hanging

Once you’ve started a conversation, it’s poor form to leave your audience hanging. Since audience engagement means different things to different brands, work with your team to determine guidelines for responding to follower questions and comments or moderating discussions.

For instance, your social team might keep standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours, but your audience might trend toward higher engagement during the evening hours. You can avoid making your audience feel ignored by assigning a team member to monitor your social media platforms during evening hours, or you can post your team’s standard working hours on each platform’s About page.

No matter how you handle it, remember to set the stage for consistent expectations. Since three-quarters of social media users expect responses within an hour, you’ll need to act quickly.

Supplement Your Strategy With Digital Media

Whether you’re posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, visual content increases audience interaction substantially. While graphics and photos frequently drive engagement, digital media like infographics receive three times more shares than any other type of content.

Since infographics and other kinds of digital media pair visual content with text, they increase the chances of followers remembering your message by about 65 percent. By offering increased social engagement and memorable content, infographics can quickly take your social platforms in a positive direction.

Time Your Social Interactions Right

As great as your social campaigns might be, they won’t generate the engagement you want if you don’t launch them when your audience is active. Most brands see peak audience activity around midday and in the early evening, but your followers may vary from the norm.

Test this out by posting different types of content at various points during the day. Don’t forget to try out different numbers of posts per day, too, as frequency also affects audience interaction. From there, you can determine the optimal time and frequency for generating engagement.

Some brands also rely on paid tools to maximize engagement. Take a closer look at applications like Hootsuite and Buffer, which analyze your audience, schedule your content, and post it at key times.

Monitor Your Results

You won’t know how successful your engagement efforts are without tracking your social platforms and monitoring your results. Most of the primary platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have built-in analytics tools. These provide basic information about follower numbers, likes, comments, and shares, so you can assess what’s working and what isn’t.

If you need more advanced data or want assistance collecting information that doesn’t appear in the built-in tools, try out one of the many available paid tools. BuzzSumo helps you identify content in your brand’s niche so you can stay on top of relevant conversations, while Simply Measured tracks how followers interact with your website and generate conversions.

Social media can be a substantial driver for your business, but you’ll never see the results you want without building your network first. Follow these seven steps to increase social engagement and increase your client base.

Author Image - Anna Sonnenberg
Anna Sonnenberg

Anna Sonnenberg is a digital marketer who specializes in paid social strategy, social media management, content strategy, and email marketing. For over five years, she has run Sonnenberg Media, a digital micro agency that works with small businesses in the natural food and beverage industry, health and sustainability market, and travel space.

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