Posted On 11 Aug 2021
Venetia Hillary

What to post and when. That’s a social media marketing strategy, right? Wrong. These are just tactics to boost engagement. Although they can be very effective if executed well! They are, however, usually the first and the last thing a time-poor small business owner will think about when planning their social media strategy, because…. what else is there? Well, what about engaging with your followers? How are you socialising with them (it’s right there in the name!) If you’re not already doing it, you need to start including Community Engagement in your social media marketing strategy to start getting the results you crave.

Social Media = Connection

Social media is all about connecting with people. In order to connect, you need to be putting out high-quality content that speaks to both your brand’s position in the market and the mindset of the potential customers you’re hoping to attract. But social media platforms reward accounts that build engagement in a variety of ways – not just through likes and comments. They also look at how many times a post is shared via DM, saved for later or how many users are tagged in the post’s comment section. These types of engagement are much more personal, and due to that they give the algorithm a better indication of just how valuable a post may be to a wider audience.

In order for someone to engage personally with your content, they need to have a personal relationship with you. In some instances (with accounts that exist purely to entertain) this can be created via content alone. But for businesses who have an end-goal of driving leads to their website/sales team – you’ll need to put in a little bit more work!

This is where community engagement comes in. But first… a little bit of information about the algorithms!

What’s in an… Algorithm?

The main goal of all social media platforms is to keep its users happy. How they do this is by showing you content that they “think” you will enjoy based on how other users are already engaging with it. The more engagement a social media post generates, the more reach it will gain with the help of the algorithm. This is how the algorithm is built. It has thousands of pre-programmed rules that control how organic reach is achieved, with the most relevant content (with the highest engagement levels) placed at the top of feeds with increased visibility.

So what do these rules look like?

On Instagram

The Instagram algorithm considers three main ranking factors when deciding how/if it will show your content to a user.

1 – Your relationship with the user. If they have liked, shared, or commented on one of your posts before, they’re more likely to see your content in the future.

2 – Any interest the user has conveyed in similar accounts. When someone uses the Explore function, how they engage with content that is similar to what you are posting determines how likely the algorithm is to also show your content there. For instance, posts that are similar to ones they’ve liked are more likely to show up for them in the future.

3 – How relevant your post is. The higher a post’s relevancy score (which is an amalgamation of all of these metrics) the higher the chances your post will show up in someones’ feed.

SOME OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER: If a user follows a lot of accounts, it’s harder to show up at the top of their feed. Visibility is also affected if a user doesn’t spend much time on the app, which means they’re less likely to see your content if it’s not at the top spot.

On Facebook

The Facebook algorithm considers four main ranking factors when deciding how/if it will show your content to a user.

1 – A users relationships including who they interact with and how often

2 – The type of content a user interacts with the most (e.g. video, link, image, etc.)

3 – The popularity of a post including the number of likes and how much engagement a post generates

4 – How recent a post is with newer posts shown first in the News Feed

Building Relationships Builds Engagement

By looking at both of these algorithms, one thing should really stand out for you. They both value the relationship a user has with you as the biggest indicator of whether your content is deserving of a widened reach.

You need to spend the time interacting with the followers who have already engaged with your content to increase your connection with them. As they engage more and more with your account, they are effectively telling the algorithms that your content is valuable to them, which means more exposure for you! By engaging with your audience like this, you’re also showing that you’re human. Social media users want to connect with real people. Personal engagement helps users remember you. It also builds trust and loyalty for your account and encourages your fans to become strong brand advocates for you.

How?

What are some of the ways in which you can build community engagement into your social media marketing strategy?

  • Reach out to all new followers with a simple welcome message and ask them how you can help
  • Quickly reply back to Direct Messages (DMs) that come through
  • Thank or acknowledge people when they take the time to comment on your posts
  • Share other people’s content to your feed to get them to notice you
  • Explore other people’s profiles, engage with their posts, and work to build a relationship with them
  • Watch other people’s Stories, Reels and Instagram TV (IGTV) posts and react to them

At the end of the day, engagement is just a fancy word for “talking” and this is how we build human relationships. The more active you are, the more successful you’ll be! How many hours a day do you spend creating content for social media. 30 minutes? An hour? More? Next time you sit down to think about what to post, cut that down by half and redirect your time towards engaging with your community instead.

Spend 50% of your time creating content and the other 50% of your time creating relationships.

This way, you can start to attract the right kind of followers and build their trust and loyalty to your brand. And hopefully, they will keep coming back for more and more!

Want more content on social media marketing?

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If the idea of building a social media marketing strategy from scratch has got you stumped, maybe it’s time you call in the experts! Get in contact with us today and let us show you how we keep ahead of the game.

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