Start With Simple Engagement Tactics
1. Create and join groups or forums to introduce your blog to others.
You can create groups or join groups that are relevant to your niche on several social media networks, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora and Google+. This allows you to provide helpful and informative advice or to start relevant discussions that can help generate interest in you and your blog. Your primary reason to be on a forum is to participate in other people’s discussions. So answer, chime in and let the community guide the discussion. When participating, don’t just shamelessly promote your content. No one wants to read only about that here, they want to know more about how you can help or suggest new ideas. Direct them to your blog for articles. It’s also a fantastic way to strengthen the connection between your blog and your community since you are opening up a direct line of communication. Providing answers and further discussion can help you connect with people in your niche, build your reputation, and generate a tribe.
2. Host social media contests.
Social media contests help boost engagement in a number of ways. Encouraging people to participate in a contest that is related to your niche will boost engagement with those who are already followers and can help you increase subscribers by requiring those that don’t follow or like your page yet to do so in order to participate. You can even let the outcome of the contest depend on the votes of your followers. There are different types of contests you can host as well, from simple sweepstakes to trivia questions to creativity-based competitions. Facebook and Instagram are two social channels that are great platforms for contests. People are motivated by free giveaways. One of the best ways to ensure more likes, follows, or emails is to host a social media contest. Be clear about your objectives and exactly how you want your audience to participate for the best outcome. Define easy, simple rules before you launch your contest. For voting, let your audience be the judge. This could be as easy as favorites or likes. By letting your audience vote you are encouraging social media engagement and more participation past just a like.
3. Conduct polls and surveys.
People are often willing to provide you their opinion—and this is especially true on social media networks. This means that conducting polls and surveys about your services, products, and brand in general are great ways to engage your followers and obtain valuable information about your reader base. It also shows them that you care about their opinions, which in turn helps to build trust and loyalty, further strengthening your brand identity and reputation. Use survey creation sites like Surveymonkey to easily create polls to post on your social media sites. Be quick. Keep your surveys short and sweet. Your audience is more likely to respond when you keep your poll simple. A poll is generally easier to do since you can just ask one question and have a list of answers to choose from. Because they take little to no effort to complete, followers are more likely to do them. Surveys can take a little longer, which means you may want to offer an incentive for doing them, such as a coupon that provides a discount off a product or service. Or an award that responders can display. This also becomes an inexpensive advertisement for your blog as well as a backlink.
4. Join Twitter chats.
Twitter chats help you reach a new audience with using a branded hashtag. Instead of posting Tweets or sending direct messages, you can have conversations using Twitter chats. This is beneficial because Twitter chats allow you to have real-time conversations with hundreds of different users at the same time. This makes Twitter chats a great way to hold a question and answer session. Or you can join other Twitter chats relevant to your brand and provide valuable input in order to generate interest in your brand from Twitter users who aren’t part of your follower base yet. Offer services or downloads only to participators in your chats. Something they can’t receive in another way. Pick a topic that is relevant to what you blog about and one that many people can participate in. Look to leading niches in your industry and reach out to them to co-host with you to expand your network.
5. Ask followers to engage.
The average time a user spends on a website is, at best, only 20 seconds. You have to make it count. Simply asking your followers to engage will often work. When posting content on social media, ask your followers to share, like, or to share their opinion on it. Explain to your readers why they should share your piece of content. Give them a reason to do it. Figure out just what it is you want from your readers and ask for them to do it. Focus on a single call to action, don’t confuse your audience by asking too much. I use comments from linkups I attend to thank and appreciate the hosts. They spend a lot of time and energy to setup the right environment and help you get a larger audience for your content. Try to let them know what they did that you like about the party. Use hashtags and send a personal invitation to whatever it is you are asking for.
6. Make it easy for people to engage.
Provide a clear way to comment. If I have to hunt for your comment area and wait for a page to reload a few times I am not going to stick around. Put your share buttons in a prominent place. Make sure they are not covering up content. If you you use a left ot right side vertical share consider your readers that use a smaller screen. Let that bar be hidden. There is nothing more frustrating than a popup you can’t dismiss. Definitely limit the networks you include when using social media buttons. Facebook and Twitter will usually provide the most shares, but make this decision based on your individual audience. For example, Google+ has good traction for many blogs as well as Pinterest and Instagram. Remember, if you give your reader too many choices they won’t share at all.
7. Respond quickly and thoroughly.
When people post comments on your social media, respond. And respond quickly. If you don’t, then it’s going to seem like you’re not very active on your own social media pages—or you simply don’t care. If you never bother to respond to my comments I am quick to move on to another blog that will. And when you do respond, do so thoroughly. You want your answers to be informative and helpful. Not only is a “yes” or “no” answer not informative or helpful, it comes off as somewhat arrogant and off-putting. Your followers will be much more likely to post comments if they know that you are reading them and that you will respond to them in a helpful manner. Did you know WordPress doesn’t have autonotification of your responses to the commenter? Make sure you use a plugin that will notify of your replies as well as giving the commenter the option of receiving the extra email!
As you know by now, there’s a lot to be gained by using social media. Social media is one of the most effective ways to increase exposure of your brand. Next week I will be talking about specific social media and the best approach to utilize what they specifically offer. Until then do your homework and decide what you want to promote first, and the best place to promote it according to your readers, your niche, and your style! As always, leave any comments or suggestions below.
How to Tame Social Media Part 1 HOW to use Social Media to grow your readership.
How to Tame Social Media Part 2 ENGAGEMENT and making every task worth the effort and time.
How to Tame Social Media Part 3 WHAT to do, WHERE to do it, and WHEN, was the best time of day.
How to Tame Social Media Part 4 PUTTING, putting it all together.
Find the bonus post for the Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet 2018 here.