A truly successful social media account is not one that has hundreds of thousands or millions of followers; it’s one that has an active community of followers that are engaging on a daily basis: answering and asking questions, sharing and retweeting, clicking on links. In this blog post, I’ll be showing you the top tips and tricks I’ve learned over ten years of being a social media influencer on how to grow your social media following into an engaged community; you’ll find 15 practical tactics to get followers and engagement (real followers!).
Getting as much engagement as possible is essential to achieving success on social media; this is what leads to all the good stuff: more traffic, more customers, better customer service, more reach and awareness. However, getting to a decent level of constant engagement on your social accounts can take quite a bit of time and daily attention. Once you start working on getting your followers to interact with you, it’s important to stick to it, and not be disillusioned when you can’t see the results you wanted a week later.
Here are some of my top tips and tricks on how to get followers and also get your social media following to become an engaged community:
- Be active
- Join relevant groups
- Join and participate in Twitter Chats
- Use relevant hashtags
- Post amazing content consistently
- Leverage visual content
- Have a sense of humour!
- Talk about trending topics
- Be quick to answer and engage
- Add calls to action
- Search for engagement opportunities
- Conduct polls and surveys
- Keep the conversation going
- Build relationships with relevant influencers
- Leverage social media ads
1. Be active
The first step in getting others to engage with you is for you to be as active as possible on social media: posting updates, sharing other users’ content, liking updates, etc. Of course, the amount of time you need to spend on a social network being active can differ from platform to platform; but, whichever platform it may be, people won’t see the purpose of engaging with you unless they can see that you are active.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be online 24/7 and constantly be tweeting and posting. Posting a few updates doesn’t really take long, so you can simply start by logging in every few hours and being a little active for 10-20 minutes. The more you use it, the more confident you will become in the things you post, and it will take you even less time to engage.
So, even if you don’t have many followers and especially not many other people engaging with you, it’s still important to be active and posting updates or people won’t see the value in following you and interacting with you.15 Tactics to get more followers and #engagement via @lilachbullock #socialmediaClick To Tweet
2. Join relevant groups
Many of the top social media networks have some form of ‘group’ function, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Groups offer a great opportunity of meeting new people and holding interesting discussions and debates on matters that are relevant to you.
Browse through lists of groups on your preferred social network, find the ones that are active and relevant to your business, and simply join the conversation. Use this time to be as helpful as you can, answer questions, post links to relevant, insightful articles and ask your own questions. Make sure though that you don’t use groups as just an opportunity to promote your own content and businesses. This puts most people off and they’ll consider you’re only there to self-promote, which means they will either ignore you or give you negative comments – and whichever way you look at it, these are not the results you want to get. So just remember this: be helpful, friendly, talkative and don’t self-promote excessively.
3. Join and Participate in Twitter Chats
Twitter Chats are great ways for meeting new people on Twitter and engaging with them. Once you have a decent following, you can start your own – but until you get to that point, it’s best to join others.
Go through lists of future Twitter Chats and choose a few that you can join. If you’re not sure where to start looking, check out my blog post on Twitter Chats – you’ll find an extended list of tools you can use to search for chats.
Look for Chats that have a topic that is relevant to your business, note the time and date and make sure you’ve freed enough time to chat with as many people as possible. Join in any conversation that you want to and be as active as you can.
When you have a decent audience built on your website and social media, try setting up your own Twitter Chat and promote it heavily to make sure people know about it.How to grow your #socialmedia following into an engaged community via @lilachbullockClick To Tweet
4. Use relevant hashatgs
Hashtags are a huge part of some of today’s biggest social networks, such as Twitter and Instagram. Using them correctly can get you more followers and more engagement.
Each social network uses hashtags differently, although, fundamentally, they hold the same main role: to summarise in one of a few words what your post is about.
One of the main things hashtags can do, and this is similar across social networks, is that they increase your reach; and while reach is more of a vanity metric, it can still increase your chances of getting new followers and engagement and get you more of the good stuff: leads and traffic.
To read more about how to use hashtags and top hashtag tools, check out my blog post here.
5. Post amazing content
People love sharing and retweeting really amazing content – and that works across most social networks. While it might not get you lots of conversations, you will get more retweets, which means more reach. And as you grow your profile and share your own amazing content, you will also start increasing your traffic from social media.
— Lilach Bullock (@lilachbullock) July 19, 2016
You can also use the opportunity when someone retweets or shares the content you posted to start a conversation. For example, you could ask something like, “What did you think of the author’s take on …”, or simply, “What did you think about the article?” with a short note on why you liked it.
Posting great content on a regular basis can turn your account into a go-to source of amazing resources.15 Tactics to get more followers and #engagement via @lilachbullock #socialmediaClick To Tweet
6. Visual content
Visual content – i.e. images, infographics, videos, etc. – are simply more engaging than regular old text-only updates. It’s probably the reason why social networks such as Instagram and Snapchat are as popular as they are.
In most cases, unless you’re taking part in a conversation, you can add some visual content to your updates. For example, if you’re posting a link to a blog post, make sure to add an eye-catching image from the post.
Another great idea for visual content that you can share is to post videos and images from behind the scenes, such as a photo of your lunch, or a short video with the whole team having fun on a night out. This has the benefit of also humanising you and your business, aside from helping you get more engagement.
To find out more on how to create images easily and where to download great visual content, check out my blog post here.
7. Have a good sense of humour
Having a good sense of humour can go a long way on social media. Every once in a while, it’s good to break up informative updates and serious conversations with a bit of humour. Use funny gifs to illustrate your points, post images and videos that make you laugh (and aren’t inappropriate) and make humorous observations – people are more likely to engage with you if you make them laugh.
Making jokes, in general, makes you seem more accessible to people, which is just as true in the online world as it is in real life, and the more accessible you are, the more people will talk to you!
If all else fails, cute, funny cats always work.
8. Trending topics
Talking about trending topics is a great way to spark conversations online. Check Twitter to see what hashtags are trending to figure out which current events are the most talked about and use these topics to start a conversation. You’re more likely to get more engagement as these are things that people actually want to talk about.
Make sure to also use the appropriate hashtag in your update to increase your reach as people will be actively searching for that hashtag to see what others are saying.
You can even plan for some hashtags, as there are quite a few reoccurring ones, such as MondayMotivation. Prepare some updates and images so that when the day comes, you’ve got them ready to post.How to grow your #socialmedia following into an engaged community via @lilachbullockClick To Tweet
9. Be quick to answer
Whenever someone engages with you on social media, it’s important to respond quickly in order to keep the conversation going. If you respond within minutes of getting a question or comment, you’ll have a better chance that particular user is still online and you can take the conversation further.
Being quick to reply also shows that you are active and willing to communicate, which is particularly great for customer service.
10. Add calls to action
You’d probably be surprised how much a call to action can help with increasing your engagement, as well as getting more leads and traffic. If you have an important update that you think will bring lots of value to your audience, don’t be afraid to ask your followers to share it with theirs or click on that link you’ve posted, for example.
11. Search for engagement
To increase your engagement levels, you need to be proactive. Think of some keywords that your target audience might use, and do a search on Twitter to see who is talking about them. Even better, set up a separate tab in your social media management dashboard where all updates containing those words will pop up.
Then, depending on what people are saying, you can start engaging with them – perhaps they’ve asked a question that you can easily answer, or made a comment that you can add to. This way, you don’t just increase your engagement, but you might also find some new, targeted, potential followers.
12. Conduct a poll
Polls can yield lots of engagement if the question is interesting enough to people. We all love to have our opinions heard, and polls give a great opportunity to say your piece, and it only takes seconds to read and answer.
Here a few types of polls that can help you increase your engagement:
- Debated subjects: are there any big conversations, debates or controversies happening right now in your niche? Use the occasion to ask your followers which side they fall on.
- Trending subjects: Ask users what they think about a particular topic that is trending right then.
- Your product: If you’re creating a new product, or thinking of writing a new blog post, or even an e-book, ask your followers what their preferences are. This way, not only do you get more engagement, but your followers will feel like you care about their opinion, and you get also get to find out how you can improve your product.
- Be funny: You can also use polls as a way to be a little silly. For example, if you’re planning on having a team lunch and can’t decide on which type of food to settle, ask your audience if they think burgers would be better than quesadillas or vice versa. Then post a photo from your lunch to show your audience you listened to them and get even more engagement.
13. Keep the conversation going
When you start engaging with someone on social media, don’t just stick with yes and no answers, as that will probably lead to the conversation ending very soon. Try to be as talkative as possible in order to take the conversation even further: ask questions, start an interesting debate, make a few jokes, etc.How to grow your #socialmedia following into an engaged community via @lilachbullockClick To Tweet
14. Build relationships with social media influencers
Influencers can hold a lot of power on social media: they can help you increase your reach and visibility and give you the credibility you need to stand out in the online medium.
Begin by looking for influencers online, and then start interacting with them on social media by starting and participating in conversations, joining the same groups and Twitter Chats, sharing their content, etc. Over time, as you slowly build these relationships, you will start seeing results as they engage with you and start sharing your content with their followers. Influencers have a larger than average audience that likes to engage with them, which means if they share your content, you’ll also see a spike in engagement.
15. Social media ads
Advertising on social media can bring you a quick boost in engagement, and even better, it doesn’t cost too much and you can create highly targeted campaigns.
On Facebook, it’s getting more and more difficult to get people to see your posts so that they can engage with them, while on Twitter, your tweets can disappear so quickly that only a few notice them. Advertising can really help with that and make sure that people see your updates – it’s up to you to make the ads good enough that users will be tempted to take action and engage.
Conclusion: how to get followers and boost engagement
Growing your social media following into an engaged community doesn’t have to be difficult, but it is definitely a time-consuming task. But with a little patience and a good plan in place, you can slowly increase your following and get people to engage with you, click on your links, visit your website and promote your work.
What are some of your best methods for increasing engagement on social media?
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