How to Improve Your Social Media Engagement as a Small Business

Last Updated: 

July 9, 2024

Do you find yourself regularly posting for your business on social media only to feel frustrated when engagement dwindles? Luckily there are plenty of practical solutions that can help you get engagement rates back up whilst offering valuable content to your customers

  • Tips to improve engagement on your socialplatforms
  • How to earn and maintain an engaged audience
  • Trends and topics to write about

Let’s explore some easy and practical ways to get improve your social media engagement in the new year…

Key Takeaways on Increasing Social Media Engagement for Small Businesses:

  1. Post valuable content: The posts that get the most engagement are those that provide tangible benefit to the audience. This could be problem-solving, question answering, or sharing relevant topics. Avoid promotional-only posts and aim to provide the kind of content you would want to see if you were part of your brand audience.
  2. Use high-quality images: Visual information can attract attention far quicker than text. Posting clear, high-quality, and relevant images can significantly boost engagement. Experiment with different formats like GIFs and videos as well.
  3. Repost and encourage user-generated content: User-generated content provides an authentic view of your product or service and helps build trust in your business. It can also encourage two-way conversations between your brand and the audience.
  4. Use relevant hashtags: Hashtags help categorize your content and make it easily searchable. Research the hashtags your target audience uses and create unique ones to encourage content sharing.
  5. Post regularly, meaningfully, and consistently: Consistency is crucial when building an engaged audience. Social media algorithms favor regular posters who target their audience.
  6. Monitor trends: Watch for developments in the Metaverse, the increasing influence of TikTok, the rise of short-form content, and the expansion of e-commerce on social media platforms.

By following these strategies and staying up-to-date with the latest social media trends, you can boost engagement rates and offer valuable content to your customers.

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Tips to improve engagement on your social platforms

Tip #1 – Post valuable content

Take a moment to ask yourself what sort of posts you engage with on social media. The answer is likely to be that you only engage with posts that provide value to you – it’s no different for the rest of us.

You should be providing tangible benefit to your audience via your posts, whether that’s problem-solving, question answering, information sharing or discussing relevant topics. So, think about what sort of content would you like to see if you were part of your brand audience. Try and avoid promotional-only or sales-y organic posts too – not everyone likes a sales pitch.

If you’re struggling for content ideas, look at your competitors to see what resonates with their audiences. Make use of your intel as well – i.e. if there are questions that get asked a lot by customers or a gap in general knowledge you can fill.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the ‘what should I post’ question, but it might help you to divide post types up ahead of time, for example:

  • Company, product or service updates
  • News and topical commentary
  • Question answering/FAQ
  • Re-posting user-generated content (more onthat later)
  • Infographics and educational content
  • Deals, giveaways and competitions
  • Audience participation and questionasking

Tip #2 – Use high-quality images

The human brain responds to visual information far quicker than scanning text, and the brain can make snap decisions upon seeing images. Without realising, your audience is likely to make up their mind based upon the quality and content of the image presented. The brain will essentially say ‘yes this is worth my attention’, or ‘no this isn’t worth my attention' in a split second, so offering low-quality or boring images means the accompanying text will probably be dismissed too.

To avoid lacklustre images and low post engagement, keep the following rules of best practice in mind:

  • Only post clear, high-quality images
  • Post images that are fully relevant to thetopic you’re posting about
  • Ensure any text on the image is relative, nottoo large or too small
  • Images with people in them normally get higherrates of engagement
  • Don’t post random images for the sake of it
  • Experiment with different formats like GIF’sand videos to test engagement

Tip #3 – Repost and encourage user-generated content

User-generated content is that which is created and shared by your audience. If a user is sharing content about your business or service, that means they are highly engaged and have likely gone through a bit of effort to do so.

Re-posting user-generated content provides your audience with an authentic view of your product or service and helps to build trust and confidence in your business.

You can invite users to share their content by creating hashtags or encouraging them to post public stories. It will also help to open 2-way conversations between you and your audience, empowering them to share their views.

How to earn and maintain an engaged audience

Step 1 – Use relevant hashtags

Hashtags help to categorise your content and make it easily searchable for other users. There are hundreds of thousands of hashtags that already have dedicated communities attached to them, pushing relevant posts into the feeds of people that are more likely to care. This provides social media users with a personalised experience and assists in filtering out the noise.

Random hashtag stuffing doesn't work though – especially if the content presented doesn’t relate to the hashtag. In fact, users that see posts unrelated to their provided hashtags are less likely to trust your business and will regard these posts as spammy.

To increase your chances of being found by your target audience:

  • Research keywords that people use to discover your business
  • Research which hashtags your target audienceare using
  • Create hashtags to encourage content sharing
  • If you have a physical store or location, use location hashtags too

There is a sweet spot for hashtags, you know. For example, if you sell handbags, you might post with the hashtag #handbags, but also #totebags or #modern style. There are plenty of free hashtag generator tools that will consider hashtags that are related to each other and home in on specific audiences.

Step 2 – Post regularly, meaningfully, and consistently

In the early days of building an engaged audience, consistency will pay off. Social media algorithms tend to favour regular posters who target their audience, not people that randomly post en-masse.

It also helps to make sure that your audience is aware of your social media platforms by having clear links on your website and other forms of communication such as on packaging or via in-store messaging.

You could also consider paid social advertising, but when you’re starting up, it could be costly.

How to Spot Trends and topics

Over the last two years, we have seen an enormous shift in the way businesses communicate with their audiences on social media. This could be all thanks to the pandemic and reduced physical interactions, but there are other influences too.

There are also recent announcements from Facebook regarding the metaverse, so it seems this year will be a massive year of change for marketers around the globe. Here are some things to look out for:

The Metaverse

Facebook has announced it is investing billions into the new Metaverse in the coming years, and this points to rapid development and improved application of many augmented reality (AV), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

The Metaverse concept promises a revolution in digital technology, changing the way that people interact with brands on a large scale. It’s not completely clear how brands will leverage these new tools, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

TikTok

Remember when TikTok blew up at the start of the pandemic, and everyone thought it would be a fad? The reality is quite the contrary – TikTok has now become an integral part of social media strategies for many large corporations and businesses across the world. It’s earned its spot at the top and will likely be the leading short-form video content platform for years to come. As businesses aim to maximise their reach, consider strategies such as buying TikTok views have become increasingly common to leverage the platform's immense potential.

The reason is that TikTok fills a unique gap in the market. The public is ever more interested in short-form, bitesize content that can be quickly digested amidst their busy lives, so businesses should be prepared to get in on the TikTok action.

Short-form content

The way people have consumed content has changed. Whether it’s listening to long podcasts, feature-length documentaries or watching short-form content on YouTube shorts or TikTok, people are far more conscious of what they spend their time consuming.

Whilst attention spans seem to be reduced when it comes to short-form content, there are many benefits for small businesse owners as the platforms tend to favour authentic messages from people that are passionate about what they do.

E-commerce

This is a rapidly developed new shopping field that’s been created to meet demands from users looking to shop differently during the pandemic. This year you can expect to see many social media platforms introducing shopping including TikTok and Twitter. Facebook is even adding delivery options to the Marketplace.

Instagram will likely continue to lead the way here as it seeks to make posts ‘shoppable’, they’re also working on automatic product detection tools to make it even easier.

Now you know how to boost social media engagement naturally and consider trends. With so much choice the question is, where will you begin?

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