Tag Archives: engagement

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

5 ways to build social media engagement

Why are we obsessed with vanity metrics? Like Love Island, we know they’re bad for us, but we keep coming back for more. There’s a guilty pleasure in notching up followers, or clocking more likes on a post. But measurements that involve sheer numbers, such as follower counts and likes, don’t actually prove very much. They aren’t particularly good indicators of how well you’re really engaging your audience.

Love the ones you’re with

The social media platforms know this, which is why Twitter has been so keen to shut down growth-hacking tools (like TweetAdder and SocialQuant) and why this month we heard that Instagram has been experimenting with removing likes, citing them as an unnecessary distraction.

Instagram says it wants to focus on enabling expression and fostering connections. As users, this may sound great, but what does it actually mean? If likes and follower count don’t indicate engagement, then what does? Obviously, social media owners still want you to buy their advertising! But there are many ways to improve engagement organically, without spending a penny.

We are family

Research shows it’s much cheaper to retain existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. So it makes commercial sense to engage with people who are already following you. Here are five great ways to do this.

1. Create original, meaningful content that is unique to you – and useful and interesting to your audience. Examples include informative blog posts (industry tips, reviews, checklists), infographics, videos (interviews, how-to’s), surveys and competitions. Once you’ve created this content, share it across all your social media channels. Make it easy for people to find you by adding appropriate hashtags (slightly different for each platform, eg: YouTube or Pinterest).

2. Establish a specific tone of voice and use it throughout your content. Are you going to be formal or informal? Chatty or aloof? Politically-driven or neutral? Agree a style guide for your brand – and stick to it.

3. Facebook’s new focus on privacy means it’s now prioritising Groups. Consider setting up a Group that you can link to and promote from your existing Facebook Page. Choose an interest or cause that’s related to what you do, and build a community of people around that. Give members special offers, discounts and exclusive content to keep them interested.

4. Encourage engagement other than “likes” – if people “react” with a heart, applause or even a dislike, and especially if they comment, Facebook ranks this organic content higher in its algorithm.

5. Test and experiment. Try different types of content and change your tactics. Note what works and what doesn’t work. Keep on iterating. Be open – don’t be afraid to ask people what they’d like to see!

Don’t you love me, baby?

Facebook is still reeling from last year’s scandals (Cambridge Analytica/ Alt right extremism) and is having to dramatically tighten up the way it handles user data. With Facebook and the other tech giants coming under further scrutiny, the situation is only going to intensify.

This means it’s increasingly hard to reach users on both Facebook and Instagram unless they really want to be reached. It’s not surprising that marketers across the board are seeing a drop in engagement.

The flipside to this is that it’s really worth putting time and resources into boosting your organic reach, and into improving your relationships with existing customers. I hope the tips above will work for you. Let me know how you get on in the comments, or ping me on Twitter @JemimaG.

Thanks Mecca Ibrahim for help with this post.

And thanks Element5 Digital on Unsplash for the photo!

Open book by Social Cut on Unsplash

Create a social media plan you love in 8 easy steps

Social media is not about hard sell, or building up fan numbers. It’s about you and the relationship you have with your audience. Like all good relationships, it’s about building trust, having meaningful conversations and connecting with the people that matter.

Don’t get stuck on vanity metrics (numbers which look good on paper but actually don’t help your business goals). Try to do what you enjoy. Not only will you be more successful on social media but you’ll also have more fun. And if you’re having fun and being genuine, you’ll get a better response from your audience. It’s a win-win.

Having a strategy – and sticking to it – is essential to build engagement. It’s worth putting aside a couple of hours to make a quick, high level social media plan. Two hours invested now will mean you reap rewards later: set out your intentions so you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

The Social Media Reboot is a mini version of my Social Media Launch Pack. It’s 4 pages of templates for freelancers, sole traders and micro businesses (where you’re likely to be managing your own social media – and you’ll find it easier if your online voice reflects you).

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Find your epic campaign

5 bright content ideas from the UK’s best boutique festivals

The UK festival season has kicked in: everyone’s talking about summer and, if you’re that way inclined, you’ll want tickets to your favourite field party. So how are festival organisers making the most of it? I compared ten of the UK’s top independent events on social media, using Brandwatch to track mentions and hashtags.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a healthy conversation around music festivals in April and May (5980 mentions in total), with a strong contribution from mainstream media (led by online local newspapers).

Kendal Calling and Festival No 6 come out top of the comparison, with volume of mentions roughly in proportion with their social media following. Secret Garden Party does less well – despite having nearly the same number of Twitter fans as Kendall Calling (around 50,000), they generate less than half as many mentions.
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Will Hayward of Dazed: his plea to move beyond "content" fell on deaf ears

3 key trends from Social Media Week 2015

There was a hint of rebellion bubbling under at last week’s Social Media Week London. But despite Will Hayward of Dazed (above) kicking off the conference with a fabulous call to arms – wanting all of us to turn off our ‘content pipelines’ and start doing something more interesting instead, most sessions reverted to business as usual, focusing on brand-building tips and tactics.

Here are my top three takeaways from the week:

1. Short-form visual content is overtaking the written word: the most popular ‘word’ online in 2014 was the heart emoji (Twitter’s Tariq Slim). Twitter reported a massive rise in short-form content (Periscope, stop motion Vines and gifs). Jonathan Davies from Buzzfeed noted the same, citing animated Vines and gifs. Ed Couchman from Facebook has seen a huge rise in emoji, stickers and photos. By 2018, he says, 9/10 pieces of Facebook content will be video.
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L’Uomo Vogue, the broadcast paradigm and why we all live in our very own hall of mirrors

Thanks to Anke Holst for tweeting about Vogue Italia’s May/June issue of L’Uomo Vogue, which is devoted to “Rebranding Africa”.

The whole project looks like a great metaphor for organisations doing “social” badly: by externally “rebranding” Africa, L’Uomo Vogue manages to demean a whole continent while also continuing to assert a kind of outdated colonialism in proposing its own ill-informed solutions to complex issues such as Nigerian economic inequality (build a Rodeo Drive, apparently) and devoting full-page spreads to people like Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s oil minister, widely considered to be one of Africa’s most corrupt politicians. 

The “Rebranding Africa” issue of L’Uomo Vogue has not surprisingly upset a whole load of people. The irony is that the editors can’t see what all the fuss is about: they are “listening”, right? They are “paying attention”, surely? They are even “engaging” (see the response of Franca Sozzani, Vogue Italia’s editor-in-chief, to a blog comment, below).

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