10 Ways to Engage Your Community on Social Media—and Keep Them Engaged
By: Lucy Rendler-Kaplan
January 11, 2019
On social media, the word “engagement” gets thrown around so often, it’s almost become a (gasp!) buzzword. While most buzzwords come and go, real engagement is a long-term play. And while many brands think they’re doing it, most could do better.
If you’re not seeing a lot of engagement from your Facebook posts, tweets or pretty product pictures on Instagram, you may want to take another look at your strategy. True engagement isn’t easy, and it takes a long time to see results.
Here are some ways you can begin engaging with your community (in no particular order):
1. Ask Questions
People like to share opinions. This could not be truer than online. Perhaps it’s being in the comfort of familiar surroundings. Perhaps it’s that when sitting on your phone, you feel bolder and more confident to tweet out things you might keep to yourself at a dinner party. The reason doesn’t really matter. What matters is that by asking a question, you invite others in. It makes them feel like they matter, like you really DO want to hear what they have to say.
One of the best questions you can start off with is “What do YOU think?” You want to ask questions that require more than a quick answer. Engagement thrives on an exchange of ideas. And the better your questions, the more people will jump in and want to also be a part of the conversation.
2. Host a Contest
Contests are fun! People can win prizes! Prizes are great! Contests do best on Instagram and Facebook. Caveat: make CERTAIN that before you start a contest, you check out the platforms TOS so you know you are following any and ALL rules on social media contests. There are infinite ways to use contests to keep your community engaged.
- Ask people to shoot and share photos or videos of themselves or friends using your brand in their everyday life.
- Ask people to get creative and write a poem using certain words or imagery associated with your brand.
- Have a food or beverage brand? Have people post recipes using your product and get others to vote on their favorite to win.
- Caption this! Post a funny or thought-provoking photo and ask people to caption the image.
3. Weekly Activities
One of the most engaging posts we see on Facebook particularly, is when someone posts the same question or “ask” each week on the same day at the same time. For example, there is a Facebook page for bloggers to learn new tips and share best practices. Every Wednesday, it’s “Blog Share Wednesday.” Followers of that page are encouraged to share their latest posts but they can only post their blog posts after they’ve confirmed that they’ve either: left a comment on three other blogs already or confirmed that they’ve hit the subscribe button on at least two blogs.
4. Feature Your Community Members
This is another one that’s great to do regularly–once each month would work well. Share something that a member of your community recently accomplished or posted. It could even be as simple as recognizing someone for a great question they posted to other community members. Again, people like to be acknowledged—AND they like to see their friends getting acknowledged. Shining a spotlight on one member will make others want to be called out as well and will encourage them to post things you can share. Keep in mind: promote others before promoting yourself. You’re welcome!
5. Go Live!
More and more, social platforms are adding a new feature where you can invite viewers of your live stream to jump in themselves. Live videos/streams are the most engaging. They get more engagement than text posts, images and even previously recorded videos. Try it and see how many comments and questions you get while you’re live! See my tips for your first Facebook Live, here.
6. Ask for Feedback
Super simple, super effective. You see bloggers doing this a lot, especially on their Insta-Stories. Ask your community what they’d like to learn about or see more of. Doing this ensures you will get engagement once you start putting their suggestions into practice.
7. Get to Know Your Community
Just like when you meet people offline, your social media communities online are made up of a variety of people. Each of them has reasons they were drawn to your business. Make sure you aren’t treating your Facebook community the same way you engage with your LinkedIn community. Take the time to get to know your followers and then engage with them where and how they like to be engaged with.
8. UGC (User Generated Content)
We know that UGC is gold. Use it! Share photos or recommendations or praise that comes in with the people that follow you. Again, that encourages more people to take an action and send you those things so they, too, can be acknowledged.
9. Honesty and Transparency
People do business with people they like. And you get people to like you by being honest with them. Admit to mistakes as you make them. You will create loyal followers if you can admit to your mistakes, take the criticism that will come and offer transparency in what didn’t work and how you will either fix it or do better in the future. No one is perfect. Your followers aren’t, and by admitting that you are also flawed gives people one more reason to relate to you.
10. Create Emotional Connections
When you get to know your community, you know what makes them respond or take action. The more you can create questions or posts that speak to members’ values, the more dedicated they will be to your brand and your brand’s community. An easy way to get started on this is to let people get to know you. The person they are chatting with or asking for help from. Don’t just be a brand and a logo – your community should know your name (or your social media manager’s name) and what you look like. If you were to meet your community at a dinner party, a logo wouldn’t walk up to them and offer a glass of wine, but YOU might.
These are just 10 of myriad ways to engage your community and keep them engaged. Some of them are quick and easy and will produce a short burst of engagement. Others take more time to nurture, just like any other relationship in your life. Some of these will work for you; others may not. It’s important to keep trying! Spend time as a member of your own community daily, not just as a brand looking in from the outside. Care about people and they will care about you. Promise.
Follow Lucy: @LUCYrk78