Today’s guest blog is by Melissa Hebbe. She is a social media strategist for boutiques, shops and product sellers and blogs all about social media marketing over at melissahebbe.com
As small business owners, we know the importance of social media.
It’s the modern day’s way of word of mouth. Have you ever seen old movies where they show a telephone chain reaction — when one person calls someone and that someone calls someone else to spread the latest news? The phone calls just keep going on and on.
That’s exactly what social media does! Just a little differently.
Now with social media, small business owners more than ever are focusing on having platforms that their followers engage with as oppose to just having a large but quiet amount of followers.
If you’re thinking that it’s important to have a large social media following, you’re not entirely wrong. Having a decent amount of followers shows good social proof — basically, it shows that people are interested in what you do and want to see more.
But more importantly, to keep your social media accounts moving forward for your business, it’s more important than ever to have accounts that your followers engage with. And that’s all because of algorithms.
What is engagement?
Engagement means that your customers respond to your social media posts. For Facebook, engagement means some liked, commented or shared your post. On Twitter, someone can either retweet or like your Tweet whereas with Pinterest, followers can save (also know as pinning) and like your pins. Of course on Instagram, people can either like your post or comment on it.
Why do you want engagement?
With recent algorithm changes on many different social media platforms, it’s better to have a highly engaged audience as opposed to a large social media following that doesn’t engage with your content.
Social media platforms, especially Instagram and Facebook, believe that if people are engaging with your content then they want to see more of it.
You want engagement on your social media accounts now more than ever to please the platforms you are on. For example, earlier in 2016, Instagram updated their algorithm so that the accounts you are more engaged with will show up first in your feed every time you check Instagram. This replaced the chronological feed. If each social media platform you are on sees you as a highly engaged account with an audience who wants to see your content, they are more likely to give your content a higher reach, meaning even more people are more likely to see your content.
When more people see your content, there is a higher chance of them reading your blog post or watching your YouTube video. Once people get interested in your content, you’re even more likely to gain a client or a collaboration opportunity with another business owner.
It’s all about gaining that trust factor with your audience. If you’re posting content your audience is interested in, they will respond to it more with likes and comments and see you as an authority figure in their field.
If that’s not reason enough to want higher engagement, then I don’t know what is!
How to get more engagement?
There’s no size fits all answer to this one. If there was, it would be a no brainer and every business would have accounts buzzing with likes, comments and shares.
But there are a few tricks to receive more engagement.
1. Post consistently
If you post on all your social media accounts one day and then are silent for another five until you post something again, that’s not going to cut it. At minimum, you should be posting once a day. Ideally, you should be posting a lot more, especially with Twitter because the feed can move really fast.
You should follow a schedule that fit your business the best, but here’s my recommendation for how many times you should post on each social media account per day:
Facebook: 2-4 times per day
Twitter: 10-15 times per day
Instagram: 1-3 times per day
Pinterest: minimum of 30 times per day
If that seems like a lot to handle, check out how I’m able to plan and schedule out a week’s worth of Facebook and Twitter in just an hour, plan a minimum of 1 week’s worth of Instagram (though I’ve actually been able to plan a month) and automate my Pinterest with my Super Simple Social Media Scheduling template and step-by-step cheatsheet.
2. Post what your audience wants to see
You will get more engagement if you post what your social media followers want you to see. How do you know what they want to see? Well you don’t necessarily do unless you check out your analytics.
Each social media platform now comes with their own analytic program. Facebook has insights. Twitter and Pinterest have analytics and if you have an Instagram business account, you’ll also be able to see your analytics. If you don’t have an Instagram business account, you can use Squarelovin’ to check out your analytics (it’s free and my absolute favorite)!
By checking your analytics, you can see what posts have received more likes, comments or shares compared to other posts. The posts that receive more engagement should either be shared more frequently or you should create additional similar posts to share out.
3. Post at the right time
In my opinion, posting at the right time can really make or break your engagement. Yes, it’s important to be posting content your audience is interested in, but you also want post when your audience is on social media as well.
You could be posting the greatest content ever, but if you’re audience isn’t on their accounts to see, you won’t be getting any engagement.
You can figure out what time is the best time for you to post on each platform by looking at your analytics again. Each platform’s analytic or insights program differs slightly, but you want to look for an optimization section or a section that tells you when your audience is more likely online.
Take a good hard look at your account. Is it receiving a reaction from your followers or potential followers? Or do you think you could do better?
Melissa Hebbe is a social media strategist for boutiques, shops and product sellers and blogs all about social media marketing over at melissahebbe.com. Since Melissa likes to keep the social in social media, she believes all platforms are a great way for boutiques, shops, and small businesses to stay connected with their customers and audience.
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