CEOs and CMOs like to have a North Star metric, that one KPI they monitor religiously to make sure the business is moving up and to the right.
When it comes to social media, this key metric has changed over the years. In the early days of social it was all about follower growth. Then, as PR teams took ownership, it evolved to be about reach and impressions. Now engagement is the right social media metric … since who cares how many people see your posts in the feed if no one is engaging?
So how do you increase engagement with your social media posts?
Post More Often
First things first. You’ve got to be noticed to be engaged with. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from top B2B influencers is that they post a lot. So should your brand. Remember, social media is not email with an inbox filling up with your messages. Instead, it’s all about showing up in the ever-flowing feed when prospects are scrolling on their phones.
With that in mind, how often should you post? Think: 100 or more times on Twitter and 20 or more times on LinkedIn and Facebook per month. Yes, that may seem like a lot, but when you consider how heavily involved each platform’s algorithm is in determining who sees which posts, it really isn’t.
Related Article: What’s Working in B2B Social Media Marketing?
Hashtags are the key to being discovered on the social platforms. Simply put, by adding hashtags to your posts you make it easier for people on a mission to learn about a topic (aka: buyers) to find your content. Use hashtags specific to your industry and product offerings. This should be a mix of the target audience (e.g., #CIO, #CMO, #CFO), theme (e.g., #DigitalTransformation, #Marketing, #5G, #Leadership) and topic (e.g., #SaaS, #MarTech, #AI, #jobs).
How many hashtags should you use? A good rule of thumb is two to three on Twitter, three to five on LinkedIn and Facebook, and five or more on Instagram.
What better way to engage specific people than giving them credit and showcasing them? For instance, tag people (@carterhostelley) when sharing their content on Twitter or mentioning them on LinkedIn. Announcing guests on your webinar or speakers for your virtual event? Tag them. Congratulating employees on a job well done? Tag them. The social platforms will let them know they were tagged, and chances are good they’ll engage with your post and reshare with their social networks, too.
Related Article: Social Media Hashtags: Protecting Your Brand’s Reputation and Trust
Social media is a visual medium — that’s why most brand posts include an image. But if you’re looking to increase engagement, you need to be more interactive. Share video snippets (two minutes or shorter), images with audio clips, and memes (social is supposed to be fun, after all). Strive for about 10% of your posts to use interactive content and watch your likes, shares and comments climb.
How can you expect to get more engagement on your posts if you’re not paying it forward and engaging others, too?
- Thank people in replies and comments for sharing your company posts and brand content. Those you thank will often “like” your replies and comments, plus it signals to everyone on social that your brand is actually listening.
- Ask for feedback (“Agree or Disagree?”) when sharing brand content. Simply put, it’s OK to prompt for engagement.
- Comment and use Quote Tweets when sharing other people’s content. Include authentic questions to the author or other readers (“We think @author’s third point is the most important. How about you?”)
- Use emojis in your posts (yes, on LinkedIn, too) as they make a brand more approachable, human and likeable. No hard data here but anecdotally it sure seems like posts with emojis get more engagement.
Related Article: 5 Ways to Get More Engagement From Your Tweets
Run Engagement-Oriented Posts on Regular Basis
Do a few of these types of posts every month:
- Shine the light on employees as it’s more important than ever to showcase “the people behind the brand.” These can include anniversaries, new hires, award winners, community helpers, team pets and my personal favorite … babies in brand swag!
- Job openings always get shared a lot. Plus, these posts signal that your company must be getting market traction since you’re hiring.
- Social media polls around topics that are interesting to your audience (“Clubhouse — yes, no, who cares?”) and/or relevant to your business. Polls have the added benefit of showing that your brand is thinking “community” not just “audience” when it comes to your social media following. Bonus tip: Give Twitter polls extra love by putting $100 towards promotion.
- Post about special days as these always get lots of engagement from others recognizing the importance or fun of the day. New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, National Pizza Day, Mother’s Day, etc., all are great days to post about. Plan these posts in advance so you can be authentic and creative, too.
Get Employees Sharing
I’m a big fan of employee advocacy programs if only because prospects are more inclined to engage with someone in their network than a brand post. Just make sure to remind folks to tag the company when sharing brand content … so employee posts can be re-shared via the company page feed to drive even more engagement.
Related Article: What Really Drives LinkedIn Follower Growth?
Keep an Eye on Engagement Performance
Make sure you review engagement metrics by social media platform on at least a monthly basis. For instance, our B2B technology clients saw engagement rates of 1.06% on Twitter and 3.53% on LinkedIn in the fourth quarter of 2020. And while these engagement rates may not be a perfect comparable to your business, at least they are benchmarks to consider.
Now It’s Your Turn
What has helped your company drive engagement on social media? Please share your comments!
Carter Hostelley is the CEO of Leadtail, a B2B agency focused on making social media work for technology brands and startups. Carter is a relentless advocate of the importance of social media and influencer marketing as a way to reach, engage and influence buyers.