So you have lots of awesome social media content, but no one’s engaged with it? A lack of engagement is frustrating, and, the longer it goes on, the more disheartening it can feel. You need that engagement to build a successful online community!
“Unfortunately, creating content isn’t enough to really market your business. If no one is engaging with what you’re producing, you’re simply wasting time, energy, and resources to clutter an already overcrowded web.” – Neil Patel
Real engagement on social media is engagement that builds upon itself because there is a strong community underneath it. Your followers look forward to content, share it with their friends, and take further action on your site without you having to ask.
So, how do you get the engagement you want? We’ve highlighted some of the best ways to increase online community engagement:
Provide FREE Value From Your Content (Stop Selling!)
Content is not just advertising. Stop using social media posts to sell directly to your audience. The most effective social media marketing strategies often don’t focus on selling and that’s why they work!
Online community building, first and foremost, is not about making sales. Rather, it’s about gaining authority and trust within your niche and understanding that that trust will translate into sales and long-term customer loyalty eventually. If your followers think everything you do is just about selling and making money, they’re going to have a much harder time trusting you.
“People trust people—not brands. People connect to humans, not things.” – NewPoint Marketing
Your followers, fans, lurkers, and online viewers aren’t your clients. But this does not mean that they can’t become your clients. However, before they do, you have to build a relationship with them by providing real value, for FREE, without expectation. When you do this, people are more likely to click through to your page and seek out more information about your business.
Share Content, Don’t Announce It (Avoid CTAs)
When cross-promoting on different platforms we have a tendency to announce content rather than share it. This means some of your posts may not be as inviting as you’d like them to be.
Think about it. Before you’ve provided any value, you’ve asked the viewer to do something for you. Even if the request is as simple as “click here”, it’s still a request.
That’s why saying “check out my new blog post” with a link attached will not get you optimal engagement. You need to provide valuable content from the first glance at your social media. This could mean turning your blog post into an infographic for Instagram and sharing that.
“To effectively cross-promote your blog posts, you can’t simply broadcast the same message on each social network; you need to tailor your message to fit each platform and audience.” – Social Media Examiner
Share what is relevant about the post with your individual audiences and respect the platform you’re posting to. It also means drawing them in with real, genuine, and sometimes personal captions.
If you have a call to action (CTA) on your content, try something more platform friendly like a Facebook poll or an Instagram Q&A.
Remember, content on its original platform is best. Don’t give followers the option to click away!
Share Long-Form Content Natively
Native content is content that is posted directly on the platform it is meant for. Native content increases engagement because it is more likely to be seen, and easier to like and share.
“Social media sites reward native content since it encourages your followers to stay on the platform and not click away. This means that videos, images, and even copy from blogs will do better if you post them directly to a social media site.” – Like A Voss Inc.
So the next time you have a blog post or website blurb to share, instead of linking to it, try pasting it into a Facebook or Instagram caption and post it directly. You’d be surprised at how much long-form captions can boost brand visibility. People are much more likely to read a long caption as they’re scrolling Instagram than leave the app to read the same thing on a different website.
“As users spend more time in apps such as Instagram, and less time checking out individual websites, it’s becoming increasingly more popular to deliver them all of the information that they could possibly want in one space. Extended Instagram captions let you do just that, reaching a committed fanbase via an app that they check up to 20 times a day.” – Sked Social
You can even turn website and blog copy into videos like TikToks, Instagram reels, and podcasts for even more shareability on video platforms. After all, a well-written blog post is basically a script!
Build Content Around Your Followers & Get Personal
Build content around your follower’s needs rather than around your products and services. If you want to build a real community you need to know what your followers want.
Treat social media posts like an ongoing conversation with your audience. Over time, you will notice engagement from some of the same people and accounts. That’s great! Use the familiarity to your advantage and don’t be afraid to get more personal with some of your posts. Building a real community requires you to be real, too. Vulnerability and authenticity online are often sought after.
You can’t build a healthy online community around making sales. So spend time investigating who your followers are, and tailor content to them. Sales will come naturally if you’ve built a strong and loyal community.
Your ability to listen and cater to the needs of your audience is one of the best ways you can increase engagement.
This leads to our final and possibly most controversial point…
Understand That Your Most Engaged Fans May Also Be Competition
It’s time to let go of the scarcity mindset!
If you’re popular online, chances are, some of your most engaged fans are also other professionals in your industry.
This means that if you’re a wedding photographer, your online community might actually be made up of other wedding photographers, as well as potential clients. But that’s not a bad thing!
In the case of Like A Voss Inc., some of our most engaged followers are actually other SMM companies as well as businesses who hire us to do their social media marketing – you can’t attract one without the other!
View competitors as allies rather than foes and share content that is relevant to them. There’s room enough for everyone and those who thrive best on social media are secure in this fact. Competition isn’t a bad thing! You can all learn from each other.
It sounds counterintuitive to commune with, and maybe even share trade secrets with competitors, but it’s actually one of the best ways to build authority in your niche. Having other professionals comment on and compliment your technique makes you look good!
As a social media manager for a business, an engaged online community should be a top priority! A thriving social media community is more likely to help you get organic reach, and ultimately, the conversions your business needs.
It’s easy to get frustrated with a lack of engagement. After all, you’ve put a lot of thought into blog posts, made awesome live content, and even hired a professional photographer to make things extra legit. So don’t let that good content go to waste! Follow these tips to get more clicks, views, comments, and shares on your content – sales will be inevitable!
Want help building your online community? Contact us today for a FREE discovery session with our team!
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This blog post was originally published in August 2019 and has been edited to improve accuracy and readability.