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The importance of social media engagement

I’ve been trying to explain recently to people just why social media engagement is so important. The actual guidance and research spans hundreds of pages, and is ever changing as the platforms seem to sporadically and randomly update their algorithms just to keep us on our toes, but here’s some advice that should be pretty evergreen.

What is social media engagement?

Simply put, social media engagement is a measure of how people are interacting with content and accounts. It might include:

  • Likes
  • Favourites
  • Shares
  • Mentions
  • Comments
  • DMs etc.

Why does engagement matter?

Having a high number of followers is something of a vanity metric. What is actually important when growing and building a brand is building trust and credibility. The more people engage with you brand, the more they are building a relationship with you.

It also plays a big role in how those mystery social media algorithms treat you, as they prioritise accounts with highest engagement, meaning the more engagement you are getting, the more visibility you will be given.

It can help your SEO, if you use the right terms, meaning you’ll be seen in search traffic.

How do I increase my engagement?

Start by engaging with others. Social media is exactly that – social. So interact with others, and grow your reputation by doing so. It’s a mix of proactive conversation where you try to spark engagement, and reactive, joining existing conversations.

You can:

  • Like
  • Comment
  • Share
  • Repost
  • Send

To find the right accounts to engage with, try:

  • Searching for a hashtag relevant to your interests
  • Creating lists of notable people and engaging with them on a regular basis
  • Looking at who follows your competitors

The various platforms prioritise engagement in different ways. LinkedIn favours engagement received in the first 60 minutes, Twitter loves a hashtag, and Instagram is all about the videos.

Create sharable and interesting content. Types of content that are more likely to get good interaction are polls, videos, and questions.  If you want people to engage back with you, you need to speak in a credible and authentic voice. Don’t go out with the hard sales pitch. Be chatty, friendly and supportive.

Make sure you keep an eye on your analytics and see which content is getting the most engagement. And then do more of that.

Get engaged

Basically have fun with it. It’s like going to a party (or pub, read more here). Keep showing up, having a chat, and sparking conversation.

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