What exactly is engagement?
In a recent public announcement, Facebook announced that it will implement stricter policies for pages that “systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach.” This means that their new algorithm will demote clickbait (i.e.: posts which fish for likes, shares, and comments.) Facebook define’s anything that encourages interactions that artificially boost engagement (i.e.: Like this post if you’re an Aries, Love if you’re a Leo) and other spam-like messages as “engagement bait” or “clickbait.”
The hope is that with the new algorithm, spammy posts won’t be shown as often on your news feed, and those people or companies that post this type of engagement bait will stop.
Making a connection.
A connection. That’s we think is the “human” part of using today’s new media platforms and technology in an increasingly unconnected world. While businesses cannot ignore the power of effective social media conversation today, mastering the technique requires attention to detail.
What does this all mean for businesses who use social media?
The key is to understand the difference between online engagement and forcing your product or service down someone’s throat. Social engagement delivers major benefits like securing new customers and turning current ones into brand advocates, but in order to gain credibility of both your audience and the algorithms, it needs to be done right.
If your business actively posts on social media channels, you are only fulfilling one part of a successful social media conversation strategy. Below are 3 ways to elevate your social media presence and keep the conversation flowing while remaining in compliance with the algorithms:
1. Follow the 80/20 Rule
Social media users crave interesting content that excites, inspires, educates, or generates laughs. If the majority of your posts focus on selling products or services, consumers will most likely ignore your business. Furthermore, the algorithm penalizes these types of posts by limiting visibility considerably. For example, if your business has 100 followers, Facebook may only show that post to 4 followers.
In order to connect with your audience more effectively, allocate 80% of your posts to engaging with your audience by providing tips, motivational topics, quotes, or even funny photos. The other 20% of your content can focus on special discounts or promotional offers.
2. Write Engaging Posts
Part of mastering social media conversation is learning the art of post writing. Long posts (over 10 words) often get ignored as users scroll to find quick updates on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Try to keep your posts under 10 words, and use thought-provoking language to generate interest.
Here are a few examples:
• Ask your audience a question like, “Do you agree?” Questions encourage opinions, and many social media users love to share their perspectives or expertise.
• If you are posting an article with quotes, extract a short quote, and feature it as your post. If users consider the quote interesting, they will click on the story to read it.
• If emojis fit your brand, include appropriate ones with your post to foster more excitement.
• On platforms like Facebook and Twitter, use the polling function to solicit a response around a topic that is relevant to your business.
• Request user-generated content from your followers like photos or videos (perhaps using your products). Then share their posts, and tag them in any related posts. This personal attention creates meaningful relationships with your audience.
3. Be Social
In order to be truly social, your business must interact with your audience. If a follower/user comments on one of your posts, respond as soon as you can to keep the conversation going. This action proves that a real person manages your social presence, and more and more followers will continue to engage with you. Post articles written clearly and eloquently, with a clear voice and vision aimed at reaching others in the field and aim to be helpful to your audience rather than annoying.
Another best practice is to respond to all private messages/negative reviews within 24 hours. Social media continues to evolve into a branch of customer service, and users turn to these platforms to ask questions or report issues. Responding quickly ensures that you maintain a high level of customer service. If you receive positive reviews from customers, take the time to thank them. This recognition will deepen customer loyalty and strengthen your brand.
Social media users are exposed to a vast amount of conversations each day. Your challenge is to break through the clutter and noise for maximum exposure. According to Entrepreneur.com’s 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing, connecting via social media platforms is about branding and disseminating information that catches attention in a positive and professional manner.
As technology continues to grow and change, so do the imaginative ways that businesses connect and thrive. Learn more about content marketing in this article: What is Content Marketing