10 Ways to Build Social Media Engagement

By Janine Warner, David LaFontaine

Designing a beautiful social media profile is a great way to introduce yourself online, but when it comes to building real connections, how you engage with people is at least, if not more, important.

Like, share, retweet, and comment

Sharing a post is the highest compliment you can give on Facebook. Similarly, retweeting is the highest praise on Twitter. Taking the time to read what others have to say and share comments and posts is one of the most powerful and effective ways to build engagement on social media. Adding a thoughtful comment on someone else’s posts is also an effective way to build your own reputation on Facebook.

If you like a post, but don’t want to rebroadcast it to your audience, here are the ways to show your appreciation on the top social media sites.

Social media is like a party

Too many people dive into social media and start broadcasting posts without ever taking the time to review what others have to say. You wouldn’t walk into a party, jump into the middle of a group of people having a conversation, interrupt them to talk only about you, and then leave before anyone else could get a word in edgewise.

Okay, maybe you’ve seen other people that do that, but you wouldn’t be so rude at a party. If you’re socially aware enough to let your friends get a word in edgewise at a party, carry those same good habits into the virtual world of social media.

Telling great stories is fun and can make you the life of the party, but if you never listen to what anyone else has to say, pretty soon you’re going to lose your own audience.

Post photos

Clearly the most popular activity on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and many other social networking sites is checking out other people’s photos and then sharing, Liking, or commenting on them.

Posts with eye-catching images are significantly more likely to get attention — and get shared, Liked, or retweeted.

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Share videos

Most social media sites make it as easy to share videos as photos. Video is a powerful medium. If you’re sharing ideas, concepts, and anything that requires a demonstration, finding or creating a video to include with your post can add impact and improve engagement.

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Inform with infographics

Creating and sharing infographics is a popular way to build engagement. An infographic can garner more attention than using simple images or text updates.

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A growing number of websites create infographics and encourage visitors to share them on social media as a way to drive traffic to their websites.

Introduce your friends

Although you can introduce and recommend friends on all social networks, LinkedIn is often considered the most valuable place to help make connections. You can review how many connections you have on LinkedIn and how those connections link you to others.

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Ask questions

A great way to invite people to engage with you in social media is to ask a question. Many people feel more comfortable answering a question than simply commenting on a post, and questions can also bring out people’s natural desire to help.

That doesn’t mean you should ask a question just to elicit a response or that you should ask a question in every post you make, but questions often bring greater engagement.

If you’re using Facebook, Twitter, or another social media site for business, you can use questions to better understand your customers, find out what they are more interested in, or learn about changes in the market.

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Be nice

When you’re tempted to respond in kind when you see someone being nasty on social media, remember that what you say when you post online becomes an eternal part of the Internet record.

If you descend to the level of someone who is provoking you with taunts, insults, or plain old blockheaded stupidity, you risk turning off people who would have otherwise been happy to connect and share with you.

On the other hand, just a few kind words at the right time, in the right places, can boost your popularity and make people think of you as a kind, benevolent, level-headed force for good in the world.

If users cross the line into outright abuse or stalker behavior, most social media platforms provide tools that will allow you to report their behavior and get them warned, banned, or suspended.

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Be consistent

The two ways to be consistent on your social media profiles are

  • Be consistent with what you say.

  • Be consistent with when you say it.

Of course, don’t assume that after you establish your personality, you are never allowed to deviate from what you talk about. It’s okay — in fact, it can be a welcome relief — to broaden your focus from time to time.

The second key to consistency is to post, update, and interact at regular intervals. For many people, who log on to social media sites and get lost there for hours, this isn’t much of a challenge.

Establish a clear and consistent schedule for your social media sessions.

Make relevant recommendations

After you build an audience, one of the keys to retaining their attention is to ensure that what you’re talking about is relevant. With that in mind, here are some guidelines to follow that will keep you on track:

  • Listen

  • Diversify

Set aside time each week to browse sites that represent opposing points of view.

  • Think before you post. There is definitely some value in being the first in your community to bring a fact or an occurrence to an everyone’s attention, but there’s a difference when it comes to expressing your personal opinion.

  • Blend. One of the most valuable things you can do is to take information from a wide variety of points of view and then find a common thread in all of them that ties it all together in a new way.