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Social media has a mixed reputation when it comes to online marketing success. On one hand, there are numerous testimonials from companies that have used social media to tremendous effect. On the other hand, there are just as many companies that see little to no results from their social media activity, in spite of significant amounts of invested time and effort.

A primary factor that can make or break a social media campaign is the strategy behind it. If a company half-heartedly blasts random content all over their social media profiles with no clear objective, they’re likely to be disappointed in the results. However, if a marketing team sits down and fleshes out a legitimate plan to increase engagement with customers via its social media profiles, it’s much more likely to profit in the long run.

What is Social Media Engagement

Before getting too far into the specifics, it’s important to define the terms being used. This is crucial when you’re trying to set up key performance indicators (KPIs) and striving to get specific results out of your marketing efforts. While everyone knows what social media is, social media engagement is a bit more nuanced and can vary from one platform to another.

Defining Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement is any online activity that involves people interacting with your company on social media. It can manifest through things including shares, comments, likes, and click-throughs, all of which can take different forms and have varying levels of gravity depending on the social media platform you’re using.

How to Measure Social Media Engagement

Methods for measuring social media engagement vary depending on each platform. Facebook, for instance, can provide likes, shares, and comments. Twitter has retweets. Instagram has a “discover” option that allows you to see who saw your posts but doesn’t actively follow your account. With so much diversity in the variety of data provided by each platform, it’s important that you identify what data is important as KPIs for your particular company.

Figuring out your KPIs is often dependent on your goals and objectives. Are you trying to boost your brand awareness? If so, having content shared on Facebook or retweeted on Twitter is important. Are you trying to drive traffic to your site? In that case, click-throughs on a visually stunning Pinterest account could be effective. As you create your strategy, make sure to identify what KPIs are important to help your company gauge its success.

Ways to Increase Social Media Engagement

Once you flesh out your business’s goals, it’s time to start honing your strategy. Here are five different tactics that you can incorporate into your social media strategy to boost engagement:

Create Quality Content

Don’t just blindly post large quantities of useless or bland content. Consider each post and take the time to understand what works on each platform. For instance, Snapchat focuses on image-friendly, fleeting content whereas Facebook posts can go in-depth and will remain posted and available indefinitely. Posting quality content will encourage users to engage with your posts more often.

Provide Customer Service

While you may see your social media as a purely marketing-focused endeavor, it actually functions phenomenally as a customer service channel as well. Providing quality customer service is a great way to encourage conversations and create happy customers, both of which boost social engagement.

Build Brand Awareness and Identity

Your social channels are a great way to propagate your brand. Use your social content to start conversations, champion causes, and above all, be real with your customers. This can have the dual effect of building brand loyalty and increasing overall engagement as your company engages with its customers over common causes, beliefs, and conversations.

Share Other Online Marketing Collateral

Social media is an ideal place to share your website product pages, articles from a company blog, and any other Instagram online marketing collateral that can provide value to get Instagram followers. Once again, this can have a dual, synergistic effect of both increasing your social media engagement through click-throughs and boosting your website’s traffic at the same time.

Use Social Media Engagement Tools

Finally, take advantage of tools like Google Analytics, Canva’s photo editor, Hootsuite’s content scheduling capabilities, and collaboration, and workflow platforms like Zoom and Trello. This can help your team curate content that is consistent in its quality, delivery, voice, and tone — all of which are crucial to maintaining consistent engagement.

Using Customer Engagement to Positively Affect Your Business

Effective social media marketing is a key element to maintaining digital relevance, one of the crucial benefits that social media offers a 21st-century business. However, it must be done with an eye towards creating meaningful, measurable engagement. Otherwise, your social media profiles will simply become museums that house the digital remains of unengaging online marketing campaigns.

Instead, take the time to create a well thought out social media strategy. Use things like customer service, social media tools, and quality content to encourage customer engagement. If you can successfully get your customer base to interact with you on social media, it has the potential to increase everything: brand awareness, website traffic, customer loyalty, and, eventually, your bottom line.