Despite the fact that content engagement has dropped by 50% over the last three years, 92% of marketers still feel that social media is important to their business. This is likely because social media marketing has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate compared to traditional outbound marketing methods.
Why? Because social media engagement builds customer-brand relationships, strengthens brand loyalty, and increases word-of-mouth advocacy, which is a much more potent conversion tool than advertising.
So what's caused the drop in content engagement? There are a range of factors to consider, including Facebook’s News Feed changes, which have reduced Page reach, brands’ delay or reluctance to participate in real social dialogue, and a misconception that simply being on social media is enough.
But showing up isn’t enough anymore. Savvy marketers know that you can’t just throw a bunch of posts out there and hope that something sticks.
Audiences today are so desensitized by the deluge of content that brands need to find new ways to proactively reach out, rather than passively waiting for them to engage.
And the key here is engagement – two-way, meaningful, high-value conversations. Essential, the 'social' part of 'social media'.
If you’re seeing a drop in your engagement rates, here are ten tips to spark new ideas, and help break you out of your slump.
1. Be active and consistent in responding to comments and messages
The biggest key to social media engagement success is to build long-term, meaningful relationships with your audience.
Hacking and “viralizing” your content isn’t going to cut it anymore - what audiences really crave is responsive conversation, interaction that they know will make a difference.
The problem companies face is that while up to 65% of brands have adopted social media, their engagement efforts have generally only been one-way - they're using social as a bullhorn, rather than the walkie-talkie its designed to be.
Social media care is one of the most effective forms of new marketing, which means that if brands don’t respond to comments or messages, their real response is, “We don’t really care that much about you.”
The solution? Genuinely engage in conversations with your audience.
If done well, this can lead to a cascade effect, increasing your post’s organic reach and visibility on news feeds, which then leads to even higher engagement rates, and so on.
Respond quickly and consistently to as many comments as possible, and never use cut-and-paste responses. Standard answers are acceptable for private messages, but don’t look flattering when plastered one after another on public comments.
2. Have a personality
People will make judgements about your brand based on the way you engage with them on social media, so always be authentic. Know your social media brand voice - and yes, it is possible to have different brand voices when addressing different audiences.
This is particularly important because 80% of people on social media choose to follow brands based on whether their content feels and sounds authentic.
In fact, people often unfollow brands for not having a personality, or for using slang and jargon that doesn’t match their brand voice.
In the words of social media expert Jay Baer:
"Don’t just give your customers something to talk about, give them somebody to talk about."
So whether you’re sassy like Wendy’s, or upbeat like Starbucks Coffee, know who you are and don’t be afraid to let that personality shine!
Also, try replying to comments and messages with GIFs or memes once in a while - it’s a really easy way to inject some fun into your page.
This can make your audience more keen to engage, because they’ll be looking forward to your response.
3. Incorporate the right images into your posts
There are tons of statistics and studies which reiterate one clear finding – visuals matter.
Buzzsumo has shown that adding visuals to a Facebook post results in 2.3x the engagement rate, while tweets with images can generate over 150% more retweets in comparison to text-only updates.
But if your reaction to these statistics is to publish more images, then you’d be missing the point.
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