On the surface, social media engagement sounds simple, and everyone thinks they’re a pro. Post. Post. Post. Heck, look at some of the top comments and replies to a large brand’s recent post. Chances are, some anonymous user jumped into the comments to talk directly to the marketing “intern” who they assumed created the post. Obviously, though, that’s not exactly how a robust social media marketing strategy is created. As many know, successful social media marketing is anything but simple. Nothing but respect to any marketing interns out there reading this, most of us have been there, but the work is simply more complex than most assume.
Sure, anyone can post anything online. Social media channels are free, after all. However, getting your followers engaged in your content & brand is the hard part. We’ve all had that moment (or is it just me?!) where you put a lot of thought into and are so proud of your post, then you send it out to your followers and…*crickets*. It’s no fun. It can even be a little bit embarrassing (this is a safe space).
So, to help your brand nail your social media engagement, we’ve put together a list of 7 social media tactics you can utilize to increase your social media engagement, create buzz for your brand, and kiss those crickets goodbye!
Before we dive into those tactics, let’s first start with the basics:
1. Optimize your Social Media by Posting at the Best Time
Posting on social media at the optimal time across each platform is a surefire way to optimize your brand’s social media engagement. What exactly is the optimal time to post on social media? Well, that depends. On a lot. Don’t worry, we’ll break it down step-by-step so you’ll understand exactly when your brand should be active on social media.
Of course, it’s important to note that you still need to make a good post, but the right time and place can get more eyes on your content. Now, this can get a little complicated, because the best time to post varies depending on several factors. The social platform you’re posting on, your target audience, your industry, and even what you’re posting all influence precisely when you should post online. Take our advice with a grain of salt and keep in mind that we’re offering you best practices and trends based on our research across social media channels, but there is no “secret recipe” to increase your social media engagement.
For this article, we will be focusing specifically on B2C- where posting times have a little more flexibility. For example, Fridays and weekends are among the best times to post to get the most impressions from consumers.
What is the best time to post on social media based on social media channel?
TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest.. the list of available social media channels to post on seems to be a never-ending list. And, of course, each one has slightly different best practices and trends to abide by in order to increase your social media presence and optimize your posts.
Think of social media as a continual scroll of breaking news. If your brand decides to announce something at a time when none of your followers are online, by the time they do log in there will be something new for them to see. Stand out in the crowd and make an impression with yo9ur followers by meeting them where they are and posting on social media at the right time.
Check out our breakdown of the whens and wheres for the following social media platforms:
In general, the optimal time to post on Twitter is early in the morning on weekdays. To be specific, as folks are getting ready for work or heading to school, right about 8 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays is the best time for engagement, according to Hootsuite’s data.
People tune it around this time to catch the news for the day, so offer them something valuable and informative, but keep in mind they probably don’t have the most time to spend scrolling (who isn’t running late in the mornings?). So keep your info brief and bite-sized.
If you do need to post on the weekend, still aim for the morning., but perhaps a little later, when Twitter users are awake after likely sleeping in a bit more.
It’s important to note that the tendency for most users to be active and engaging in the morning is a significant shift in recent history, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As mentioned above, users are more likely to seek their news for the day on Twitter, a habit many of us picked up sometime in 2020 when the news was shifting daily, even hourly.
10 am- 1 pm
Everyone’s favorite photo album app, Instagram has its own set of rules for when to post for maximum exposure.
Instagram’s best times to post widened in 2021 compared to previous years. That’s the pandemic shifting our social media behavior again. By and large, the last few years have driven more people online for longer periods of time. There simply wasn’t too much else to do.
Midday engagement during weekdays became denser with top times ranging between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., while evenings and weekends still showed increased opportunities for engagement.
As far as the best days to post on Instagram? Tuesday and Wednesday! We can all use some pretty pictures and extra time online to get us through some of our mid-week blues.
3 am and 7-11 am
Facebook, the OG of social media (RIP MySpace). Kind of like the Dallas Cowboys, kind of like the New York Yankees, and with a sprinkle of Tonya Harding, Facebook is the “king” of social media (because it’s always been that way or because it deserves to be that way is a different topic for a different day), but you’re always a little bit wary of what it’s capable of doing (like taking a pipe to your knee or selling your personal info).
The best time to post on Facebook is, believe it or not, 3 am Monday through Friday. Unlike Twitter, Facebook is much less immediate, and therefore, posting at 3 am when many of your followers are likely to be asleep isn’t detrimental to your social media engagement. It actually helps it.
You don’t have to be awake at 3 am of course. Instead, use one of several social media scheduling tools to plan your content for you in advance. Or, follow some of the more “conventional” optimal times to post on Facebook, between 7 and 11 am.
A professional and employment-oriented site, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn sees its highest rates of engagements consistently during the workweek, Monday through Friday.
The highest rate of engagement on LinkedIn peaks around 11 am for users in general, but again, always keep in mind who your target audience is and what their behavior may be. For example, if you work in the food-service industry, your target audience may not actually be using LinkedIn around the hours of 9-5 because they simply don’t work from 9-5.
Now, enough talk about when and where. Let’s get to the what. The following proven tactics will increase your brands social media engagement and hopefully give you the tools you need to succeed.
2. Adjust your social media post copy and tone to match the platform
Just like how each platform has its own set of guidelines to follow regarding the best time to post, they of course each have their own guidelines regarding what and how to post.
For example, not every post needs to be shared on every social media site. And, if you do choose to share the same content on each site your brand utilizes, you should adjust how you frame it to best fit the appropriate tone of the platform you’re using. Yes, there will be times where you can, or in some places should post the same thing on every site, and that’s totally fine! But if every single social media space you have is the exact same, what incentive do fans have for following you on more than one?
Before you get too overwhelmed, we’re not saying you have to curate 2, 3,…5, or more completely unique social feeds for all your different social media platforms. As long as you provide site-specific content every once in a while, you will see positive results and improvements to your brand’s social media engagement. The good thing about social media is that you can get as crazy as you want with it 9or are allowed to get with it) Just be sure that everything falls within your brand and stays true to not only who you are, but who your consumers think expect you to be.
How does this work in practice? We’ll show you with a few quick examples.
Consider why you and most people you know use each social media platform. What do you get out of Twitter? Instagram? LinkedIn? Why do you login in the first place? Who are you connected with on each site? The tone of your message on LinkedIn ought to be far more “buttoned-up” and professional than what you share on Twitter, which can be more fun and a little bit more “out there.”
Not all social media platforms are built the same, and therefore they shouldn’t be used exactly the same. Tweak as many of your posts as you can to optimize your social media engagement.
3. Inspire Conversation on Social Media
As we already know, getting consumers to engage with a post is a challenge. In fact, in a recent survey, we asked over 500 marketers what their largest challenge is, and 46% of them claimed that engaging with consumers in a meaningful way tops their list.
So how are we supposed to magically engage our consumers in a conversation? Well, if you want to engage your audience on social media, the simplest thing you can do is ask a question! Get the conversation flowing by starting it!
Just like you would in an actual conversation. People like to talk about themselves and share their opinions. Don’t just ask “what’s up?” or “how are you today?”.
Instead, ask questions that will get people thinking, excite them, and inspire a healthy debate. Ask about a current event in your industry, ask about one of your products, ask your consumers about themselves. Whatever you do, try to tap into what excites your consumer, and what will motivate them enough to actually engage with your brand.
Check out our quick cheat sheet for question topics if you’re in a pinch!
ASK A QUESTION ABOUT:
- your brand- “how long have you been a loyal customer?”
- a product- “which product is your favorite?” “which discontinued product should we bring back?”
- Competitors- “When you’re not picking us up off the shelf, what do you pick up?”
- an event- “Will you attend X?”
Thankfully, a lot of social media sites have already created tools for you to ask questions easily. You can create polls on both facebook and twitter, and you can also make a poll via instagram stories.
However, don’t feel obligated to use only polls. With a poll, followers are given curated answers- which may not always be what you want. Rather, you can ask an open-ended question and allow fans to answer in a reply or comment, After all, it’s nice to get an organic conversation going in the comments or replies.
If you don’t want to wait for your consumers to engage with your brand on social media, don’t be afraid to make the first move and comment or reply to a followers post. Brands small and large can benefit from conversing with followers this way. Be sure to reply to post topics that relate to your brand or image. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even reply to posts that mention competitors! Conversing with your followers is great way to give your brand a humanistic image consumers can relate to on an emotional level, which has been proven to increase customer loyalty.
4. Get Creative and Improve Social Media Engagement
Yes, this is a broad category of advice, we know. You’re probably already very used to phrases like “make it pop” or “add some flair,” so hearing “get creative” probably sounds like nails on a chalkboard to you. We don’t mean to be reductive at all though so please, bare with us.
There are so many ways to be creative on social media. And we can’t possibly talk about them all here. But don’t worry, we will break down the top three categories you can get creative with to increase your brand’s social media engagement.
First up: Copy
You have to make your copy interesting! If you don’t have time for much else- work on this! People get bored SO easily, it’s crucial to make sure your copy grabs their attention. Be personable, funny, and/or honest. It all comes back to presenting your brand in a way that consumers can relate to.
Over the last several years, best practices for copywriting have shifted pretty dramatically. For some, keyword research and keyword stuffing were the names of the game. However, with recent advances in technology and a far better understanding of what “valuable content” is, these tactics simply won’t work. In fact, keyword stuffing is known as “black hat marketing,” and actually has a negative impact on your marketing efforts.
Instead, focus on providing valuable, informative content that your target audience will actually care about.
SOCIAL MEDIA COPY TIPS:
- Write like you would talk (AKA don’t be a robot!)
- Stick to your brand personality
- Stay on trend
- Don’t spam promote products- keep your content at a mix of about 80% non sales info, and 20% sales info. (BUT include a call-to-action when you DO)
The biggest change to social media since the very beginning? There. Are. So. Many. Visuals. When you look at your Facebook or Twitter feed now, there is imagery everywhere- photos, videos, or sometimes gifs. And obviously, with Instagram and TikTok, it’s 100% photos & videos. This gives brands freedom to be creative- which can be a double-edged sword. With so many possibilities it can be hard to make a choice.
What we do know is that posts with images have 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts, and people are 85 percent more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video. As long as your imagery (be it photo or video) relates to your brand message and post topic, you’re on the right path. The next step is to make sure your photo will stand out amongst the crowd. With a wall of imagery bombarding your followers at all times, it can be easy for your content to get lost. Check out our list of great tools (free and paid) that can help boost your imagery for your next post:
BEST TOOLS FOR FINDING & EDITING PHOTOS:
- Best Stock Photo Resources
- Unsplash.com [FREE]
- Pexels.com [FREE]
- stocksnap.io [FREE]
- shutterstock.com [$29-$199/mo depending on plan]
- Stock Unlimited [$79 annually]
- Adobe Stock [$30-$200/mo depending on plan]
- Best Photo Editing Software
- fotor.com [FREE]
- Photoshop Express [FREE]
- Gimp.org [FREE]
- Adobe Photoshop [$34/mo]
- Adobe Lightroom Classic [$34/mo]
- Exposure X4 [$119]
And lastly (but not least-ly): Hashtags
Every social media site uses hashtags in some form. For twitter and instagram it can be especially beneficial. But, that doesn’t mean they’re not also incredibly helpful on sites like LinkedIn as well. Do hashtag research and make sure you are getting your content to the right audience. Don’t be afraid to pile on the hashtags (especially on insta), the more paths for people to see your post the more engagement you’re likely to get.
Best practices for the number of hashtags you should use in your post vary wildly. A hot topic of debate across marketers, we recommend starting small (1-3 hashtags at a time), observing your results and increasing (or decreasing!) the number of hashtags you use from there.
There is a balance with hashtags, similar to keywords. You don’t want to use too many high competition hashtags (tags with millions of posts or more), because the likelihood of your post being seen is low. For the best engagement, hashtags with around 500,000 posts, or slightly less, are your sweet spot. You still have a good amount of people using the hashtag so it’s not a graveyard, but it isn’t so large that your post gets lost.
5. Incentivize Social Media Engagement (Sweepstakes and Contests)
Looking for a fun and exciting way to increase engagement? Gamification’s your answer (trust us on this one). Gamification is the application of game elements to other areas, such as social media, to encourage engagement with a product or service. There are two applicable forms of gamification within social media: a sweepstakes (or giveaway), and a contest.
A social media sweepstakes is one of the fastest ways to cultivate major engagement with your brand. People love to win, and social media sweepstakes are especially popular because they usually have a low barrier to entry. You can tie entries to follows, comments, shares, hashtags, etc. You can even have followers tag a friend in order to enter. With each entry your sweepstakes will reach a new audience and you’re more likely to get valuable followers. In addition, you can incorporate paid advertisements (or PPC) to reach an even larger audience.
A contest is another way to increase social media engagement. Unlike a sweepstakes, contests require an element of skill. Because contests require more effort for an entry vs a sweepstakes, this sometimes translates to less immediate engagement. However, contest can still generate meaningful engagement and should not be dismissed. There are many types of contests, but the most successful for social media are photos and videos. As we mentioned above, social media has become a visual space on all platforms. By having your followers upload a photo or video, that means all their followers will be more likely to see their post and engage with your brand in some way.
P.S. Make sure you understand all the legalities behind a sweepstakes or contest before getting started. Or get in touch with our experts and we’ll do the hard work for you, from strategy to execution to analysis.
6. Promote Offers
If Extreme Couponing has taught us anything, it’s that people will go to great lengths to save a buck. If the TLC series doesn’t have you convinced, maybe this will:
By posting offers such as coupons or discounts, you can increase your brand’s social media engagement and promote a product or service at the same time. This can also be a great way to promote your loyalty or rewards program if you have one. By creating a landing page specific to your social post, you can easily track the success of your offer from start to finish. If you want to make sure you get the most out of your offer, this would be another great time to use paid advertisements. Facebook even has specific offer ads.
Influencer marketing has become a fairly lucrative market. If you’re looking to increase social media engagement, why not work with someone who already has a large engaged following. Every industry has influencers- yes even B2B!
There are influencers on every social platform, but you might find some or worth investing in more than others. Check this out:
Brands everywhere are starting to realize influencer marketing can have an astounding positive impact. Be sure to partner with an influencer who aligns with your brands industry and purpose. Also, remember that negative actions made by influencers you’ve worked with can reflect poorly on your brand.
Social media doesn’t need to be complicated. Now that you are armed with the tools you need to succeed.
If you’re looking to add that extra element of excitement to your sweepstakes marketing strategy, while also ensuring a successful, secure, and legal promotion, contact MRi.
We can help you bring your IDEA to life while overseeing all compliance and security from start to finish. We have over 25 years of experience working with top brands on some very memorable promotions. Our experts will help you identify your promotion’s purpose and select creative tactics to best achieve your goals.