If the spreadsheet project seems daunting, there is a shortcut. Especially for your Facebook posts. BuzzSumo has a new tool called SumoRank that will give you a great view of which attributes are driving your posts’ engagement. Here’s what part of the report looks like:
If you want to track how you and your competitor’s Facebook posts fare for engagement, consider upgrading to a tool like Fanpage Karma. You can, of course, also use Facebook’s analytics dashboard, which is actually pretty good.
To track your engagement rates on Twitter, there’s Twitter analytics. It can be helpful, but I find it difficult to see trends in the way Twitter presents the information. There are a couple of other tools I prefer.
Buffer’s paid plans are good – you can sort by which tweets performed best or worst in terms of retweets, mentions, clicks, likes and potential reach. You can also get similar data via Buffer for LinkedIn, which has far fewer free tools to measure activity than Facebook or Twitter have. Want a tool for Pinterest? Check out Tailwind.
While those tools are helpful, they still won’t give you the trend analysis a spreadsheet or a social media audit can reveal. If you’re really serious about improving your engagement rates, I recommend you do a detailed social media audit about every six months.
2) Use images.
It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Adding an image will get you more engagement purty much every single time. Several studies have confirmed this.
Another just-published study from BuzzSumo tallied up results from over a billion Facebook posts. They found image posts get the second most number of interactions by post type.
Though Facebook is image-heavy, the big players in visual content right now are Instagram and Pinterest. According to recent research from TrackMaven, Instagrammers can get small edge on their competition by using these filters:
Speaking of Instagram, there’s a new reason to use it, also based on data from that huge BuzzSumo study. They found that images posted via Instagram and then shared to Facebook get 23% more engagement than if they were directly posted to Facebook. That’s a nice enough lift to be worth the extra time.
3) Ask questions. Answer questions.
Want to know which post type gets more interactions than any other? It’s question-based posts. These do even better when they’re paired with a strong image.
It’s not too surprising this type of post does so well. The marketer is specifically reaching out to the audience with this type of post. It’s not the old “broadcast” model of publishing so many social media marketers still use.
The customer service opportunity
This also brings up one of the major themes in social media right now: Customer service. That’s another way to ask and answer questions.
More and more customers expect businesses to help them via social media. And yet, a lot of companies are coming up short here. Your company may not yet be getting many customer service questions, but when you do, think of these as engagements, too. Because they are – and they’re the type of engagements that really matter to your customers.
Your audience might think it’s fun and diverting to come up with a caption for a cute photo, but when their order is late or your product malfunctions and they aren’t getting help from other sources, their entire relationship with you is on the line. If your social media team can answer their question fast, you’ll have made a major difference to them.
This aspect of social media is so important that some marketers consider these type of social engagements to be “social media engagement.” They think of the likes, clicks and share metrics more as publishing metrics.
Even if your audience is generally mum, there are a number of ways to initiate these types of engagements:
- Thank people who have shared your content.
- Set up a listening station, so when someone comments about your brand, products or services, you can chime in.
- Like and share your followers content.
- Set up a listening station so when people comment or ask questions that are directly related to your business, you can respond to them. The classic example of this would be a search for “Boston hotel”. A hotel in Boston with an active social staff could follow that term and see if they could be of help when anyone uses it. Just always use restraint with this tactic. Be helpful, not pushy or creepy.
Social media engagement is the new frontier of social media marketing. It focuses on quality more than quantity, and thus requires a lot more sophistication than just broadcasting more content out to your followers.
If you want more engagement, you’ll need to get smart with your social media analytics. You’ll also need to maximize your shares and reach with well-formatted, well-timed posts. You may need to craft content based on personas, and on where people are in their buyer’s journey.
Above all, you’ll need to be… social. To ask and answer questions, to say please and thank you and “what do you think?” Your audience is right there, waiting to talk.
What do you think?
Is social media engagement your number one priority on social media? If not, what is? Share your opinion in the comments.