Social media can boost traffic to your website. And it’s incredibly useful for increasing brand recognition. But how can you use social media to achieve both of these goals?
Engagement. Engage your audience on social media and they’re far more likely to read your posts, share your content, and click through to your website. The more engaging your social media posts, the more people will become aware of your business, and the more likely you’ll grow a loyal following of people ready to endorse your work.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to improve social media engagement, we’ll help you develop your own strategy by showing you what works, and what definitely does not.
Increase social media engagement
Do you want to increase your audience engagement? Of course you do. So before we look at the ways to lose your audience, we’ll look at some of the best ways to keep them interested and gain their trust.
Grab attention, fast
Typically, you’ll have a far shorter time in which to grab people’s attention on social media than you will on your website. You’ve heard the 3-seconds-to-grab-attention-on-a-website mantra? Well on social media, it’s a fraction of that. The faster you can get your audience’s attention, the better chance you have of engaging them.
Including a photo or picture in your Twitter and Facebook posts is the single most effective, and easiest, way to increase engagement. In fact, research shows simply adding a photo to your tweet can boost retweets by 35%.
Aside from photos, don’t forget to use engaging text in your social media posts. Using ‘trigger words’ will immediately grab readers’ attention. Words and phrases like ‘New’, ‘How to’ and ‘Everyone is doing…’ encourage people to read your social media posts by creating a sense of intrigue.
Experiment with different combinations of trigger words, hashtags, images and content, and you’ll soon see which work best to get the attention of your audience.
Blog posts: share, share and share again
It’s not possible for your audience to notice every single thing you post on social media when there’s so much noise to compete with. This means you’re only ever engaging with a portion of your total social media network each time you post.
Ensuring your social media posts are noticed becomes even more important when you’re linking to your blog posts. Producing a great blog post is hard work, so you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the most out of them by maximising the number of times they’re read.
But, your social media followers simply can’t engage with your website content if they don’t know it’s there. So aside from sharing your blog posts when the biggest proportion of your target audience is online, share them multiple times. The more you share them on social media, the better the chance they’ll get noticed.
Share your blog posts on the first day they’re published, then on day two and day three. Then share a few weeks, months and years later. Be proud of your website content and share it as widely as you can – but not so often as to irritate your audience!
Create high-quality, relevant website content
Creating high-quality content for your website is important for search engine optimisation, but it’s equally important for ensuring an engaged audience. If you’re using social media to drive customers to your site, but they arrive to poor-quality content, it’s likely they won’t stick around.
Likewise, they’ll disengage with your business if they arrive to content that isn’t what they expected – whether that’s because it’s irrelevant to them, or because your social media post didn’t accurately reflect the website page you directed them to.
Google Analytics can help out here – when you drive people to your site from social media, do they stay? Or do they go?
If you’re getting poor engagement, it could be time to reassess the content you’re producing – on your website, your social networks, or both.
Decrease social media engagement
OK so you know some guaranteed ways to get your audience on side, but sometimes knowing what not to do is even more important. Here are some of the best ways to decrease audience engagement and quickly ruin a good social media strategy.
Not crediting content owners
‘Curating’ other people’s content is becoming more and more common, particularly on Twitter.
Sharing content is great if it’s helpful to your audience. But there are a couple of pitfalls to watch out for: 1. Confusing your brand, and 2. Driving your audience towards your competitors.
Failing to credit the content owner is the biggest cause of confusion – not to mention the author will be upset if they find out. It’ll trick your audience into thinking they’re heading to content on your site, when they aren’t.
And in turn, this will really confuse your branding. When a reader clicks through to an unexpected website, they’ll be disorientated, and most likely their trust in you will be lost.
This is easy to prevent by simply mentioning and/or tagging the content owner.
Share content your audience will find useful and interesting, but avoid sharing content from your direct competitors – otherwise you’re simply driving potential customers away.
The way to really position yourself as an authority in your area is by producing plenty of your own content. And this doesn’t even mean you have to produce hundreds of blog posts. Everything you post on social media is like a mini piece of content that has the potential to drive people to your website.
Following thousands of irrelevant accounts
Ever been tempted to generate a large number of followers on social media in order to look popular?
Anyone can have 60,000 followers on Twitter, but if none of those people really care about your business, there’s little point. Indeed, artificially acquiring a huge number of followers looks unnatural and can put off real customers. It’s dishonest and your potential customers will see it as such.
You’re far better off having a few dozen engaged followers than a hundred thousand all unengaged. Building a large, engaged following does take time, but it’ll reap rewards in the long run.
Posting irrelevant content
Once you’ve found your relevant audience, make sure you’re producing social media posts they’ll find relevant.
It’s perfectly fine to occasionally share a personal insight or an interpretation on a current event – particularly if it makes you or your business sound interesting.
But the most successful business accounts on social media are highly targeted. It makes sense really: you’re targeting a specific audience so they expect you to post about specific subjects. Otherwise they’ll soon disengage.
Once you’ve fleshed out your social media strategy, and it’s working, maintain that focus.
And every time you go to post something, think back to your content strategy you so carefully planned and think: “Does my audience really care about this?”
Statistics are key
When your social media sharing is in full swing, how do you know if your efforts are working? And how do you know what to change? Take advantage of the inbuilt statistics social media sites provide. These give really useful insights into how popular your social media posts are.
Post views, profile views, shares, likes, favourites and click throughs are all useful metrics for assessing whether your audience is engaged with your content. As such, they should help guide your upcoming social media posts.
If you’re getting poor engagement, assess why. Is it just because you’re still building up your following? Or could your social media posts do with a little TLC?
You can also keep track of referrals to your website from social media using Google Analytics – this will indicate how effectively your social media strategy is driving traffic to your website, and if users enjoy the content once they arrive. The more stats you have, the easier it is to pinpoint areas for improvement.
Over to you. Do you struggle with engagement on social media? Which social networks work particularly well for you? Let us know in the comments below.