Blog post by: Sarah Schrader, Baer Performance Marketing’s Social Media & Creative Specialist
There is no secret formula for crafting a viral social media post. It takes knowing your audience, the right timing and a bit of luck. However, “going viral” is not usually in-line with a business’ goals, whereas reaching your audience, no matter how small or large, is. Of the factors mentioned for a viral post, the one you can control is knowing your audience. Understanding who you are targeting and what your followers like to see from you will help you increase your engagement on social media.
Honest engagement is truly the gold mine of social media. Even if you have 100,000 followers, if you only receive engagement from 10 percent of them, your content isn’t going to perform as well as a company who has 1,000 followers but receives 40 percent engagement. Why? Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram will notice if a post has a lower percentage of engagement and will assume it is not relevant to users. As a result, the post will not appear as high in your followers’ newsfeeds.
Here are a few ways to get to know your audience and increase your engagement:
Ask – There is no harm in asking your audience what types of content they would like to see from you. It is the most straightforward way to make sure you are sharing relevant content, and it shows your followers you care about their opinion. As an example, you can think of YouTubers who often ask their subscribers what they would like to see next to develop their next video idea.
Within each post, another type of ask is to encourage your audience to take action. Perhaps after sharing a story, you ask them to comment if they have had a similar experience or to click a link to your website to see more. Each of these actions would count as engagement on your post. Not everyone will do it, but those loyal followers definitely will!
Watch Your Insights – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter all have valuable insight tools to see how many people view your posts, like, comment, and even share them. Pay attention to these! You may notice that videos do really well on Facebook while photos of your day-to-day do well on Twitter. Beyond which types of content perform the best, each platform has some insights into who makes up your followers (age, gender, location, etc.). You can use this information to better direct the type of message you are putting out towards your followers.
Hashtags – There is no doubt that hashtags can help put your post in front of more people, but including any and every hashtag is not good practice. You want to be specific to each post and the content you are sharing. Instagram, especially, has been cracking down on this lately – have you heard of shadowbanning? Using hashtags that are unique to your post instead of a list of the same hashtags you use each time will help you avoid being shadowbanned.
Also, think about what a potential customer would be searching for in a hashtag. Someone looking for a photographer in Green Bay might search #GreenBayPhotographer. #Photographer is probably a bit too general to find what they are looking for.
Get Personal – Filling your social media pages with promotions, products and sales can often cause people to lose interest, and yes, lower your engagement. Your audience wants to know they can trust you and your brand. Don’t be afraid to let them get to know you! Telling a story in your post that your audience can relate to will bring much better results in your engagement.
Lastly, understand you do not have to be on every social media platform. It is okay to let go of Twitter if that is not where your ideal audience is. Find the platform or two that your audience is on and where they will engage with your content. Then be consistent on that one or two.
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