Engagement – Five Ways to Encourage your Community

Who is your community online? Your customers, your neighbours, your friends and family, your employees? These individuals can help ensure your social media following grows.

Measuring the success of social media is measuring engagement. Engagement is every time someone interacts directly with your content – clicking a link, liking a post, commenting or mentioning, and retweeting, reposting or sharing. Communications is defined as creating common understanding. Engagement is your way to know if your community is understanding your posts. Reach tells you how many eyeballs saw it, but engagement tells you how many people are paying attention – and get it.

1. Contests
This one is obvious, but there are right ways and wrong ways to run a successful online contest. I have three tips. First, make sure you include a disclaimer and rules within the post. Second, always make one of the contest stipulations to tag a friend, which is your best way to extend the reach of that single post. Third, invest in the post with a small promotional budget, which will help the contest grow legs and become organically effective.

2. Fame
One of social media’s strengths is the ability to give almost anyone fifteen minutes of fame. Chances are if that content is about me (or my mom, or my best friend, or my neighbour) I’m going to engage with it. Feature a photo of a customer of the week and tell followers what day you will be looking for your new customer of the week – they might just prioritize popping in to see you.

3. Content
That Matters You need to give your community a reason to regularly engage with your content. If you only post about sales and new products, chances are you won’t maintain consistent engagement. Think about what your customers are interested in and post about those things too. If you’re a golf course post golf tips and golf news. If you’re a print shop post graphic design tips and examples of amazing designs from around the world. Be creative and give your followers content they want to talk about.

4. Incentives
Everyone loves a deal. Consider offering your social media followers a special discount code or password from time to time. There are a few ways you can do this – post a discount and tell your customers they must mention the post at the time of purchase; ask customers to private message you and reply with a secret code they can mention when they are next in the store; or be even more mysterious – when someone comments on your page reply with an individual discount just for them. Your other followers will see this transaction and will be more likely to keep engaging if they know they could receive their own incentive one day too.

5. Just Ask
Posts rarely go viral on their own. In the offline world, we do not hesitate to ask friends and family to advocate on our behalf – the online world is no different. Ask your community to share your latest post or leave a comment. Seems simple, and it is. By ensuring you have reached at least your own network you are automatically extending it to their network too.

Start encouraging your community to engage with you and your business on social media – more engagement leads to more followers. I would love to hear how you are putting this into action - engage with me directly by using @CIPRComs and by using the hashtags #PRPower and #FernieSuccess.