How to Improve Engagement – A guide to creating smarter social media content.
November 23, 2015 • 7 min read
Updated on May 2, 2017
Remember when people thought buying Likes on Facebook was a good idea? Gone are the days when teams with the bigger budgets created the most engaging social media content. I’m not saying sponsoring content doesn’t make a difference at all, but I am saying money isn’t the only solution anymore to engage an audience.
Brands and agencies put in a ton of effort into creating and distributing content. And what do they want out of the content? Increased sales of course. However, one of the biggest buzz words and one of the most commonly used metrics is engagement.
Though engagement is one of the most commonly known metrics, it’s not one of the best understood. While different people approach this metric differently, here at Unmetric we’ve done some solid research to come up with a scientific formula to calculate engagement right. Most companies calculate engagement as a sum of all interactions whereas they often forget that fan size is not taken into consideration and in most cases a Share or Retweet is probably more valuable than a Like. This is a topic we love to discuss in-depth, you can read more about Unmetric’s engagement score here. However, for the purpose of this article, I’ll keep it short. We calculate engagement as a factor of interactions weighed by our estimate of how many fans or followers actually viewed the content. Quick note – if that’s not how your brand likes to calculate engagement, our score is 100% customizable and can be tailored to your brand guidelines.
Coming back to the topic in hand: How do you really improve this engagement? Simply put, create better content.
Let’s start simple. We’re coming to the end of 2015 and every single social media marketer knows these points, but to just get it out of my system, I’m going to say them anyway.
- Wherever possible, remember to include picture or videos or other kinds of audio/visual media. Buffer says Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets.
- If you’ve still not got the hang of hashtags, you better get started now. Even Forbes magazine recognized their value. #GetWithIt
- It’s easier to get your audience’s attention when you’re talking about something they care about. Working in pop culture references or newsjacking as they call it, has proven to be successful for many brands.
Now that that’s been said, onward to the more serious (yet instantly actionable) suggestions.
1. Understand your demographic
Once you thoroughly understand: a. who you’re talking to and; b. what they like, your content will never be the same again. Ideation and creation will become simpler. When your audience notices how relatable your content really is, they’ll feel more compelled to Like, Share and engage. On Unmetric, you can access the data under Facebook > Analyze > Page > Stats.
Below is the demographics of PlayStation. One would assume that the consumer electronic brand would have more male fans. Turns out they have an equal (or higher) number of women Like them. Tailoring content to appeal to both genders or create different types of content for both segments is sure to give them better engagement.
2. Explore competitor content
Knowing what content your audience appreciates is essential. Understanding what works for your competitors gives you an edge. Demographics of your competitors’ fan bases will vary, but keeping an eye on what clicks for them can work in your favor. You’ll be able to notice trends and topics to diversify content and to also expand your fan base through content that appeals to competitors’ demographic.
a. Look at industry trends
Go to Ideate > Best Performers > Posts > In your Industry/Group. You can view a list of the top performers in either your industry or the select competitors you’ve added to your group for all social networks. A good idea would be to use custom time periods to uncover season based trends. For example, looking at the top performing posts from December 2014 would help you get an idea of what worked for competitors (and yourself) during the same period last year. This will be useful in building the campaign for this year.
b. Search all social media content for a specific topic
Unmetric’s Inspire allows you to search millions of pieces of microcontent for a particular keyword. Say you want to see the type of content all brands post about “music”, all you’ll have to do is a simple search on our Inspire search engine. You can find it under the Ideate tab for Facebook, Twitter and soon Instagram. The results are sortable by Engagement Score and specific interaction metrics like Likes or Retweets. This way you can see what type of content is most likely to get you the result you want. Furthermore, you can filter the results by industry, group, geography, and timing.
c. Identify content categories
As a final step in understanding what works for your competitors, find out what type of content engages best for them. Unmetric’s content tagging uses a combination of algorithms and human cognisance to tag posts under categories. You’ll be able to see the broad topic that each industry is talking about and also drill down into specifics.
In the above gif, you can see that in the Auto industry, content that’s about the brand engages best. On further analysis, we see that features are most commonly talked about while news about Facebook apps engages the best.
You can find this under Facebook > Ideate> Content > Categories.
3. Be aware of timing
The newsfeed system makes posting at the right time a crucial element of improving engagement. For example, retail brands should be posting more frequently during weekends and evenings so as to attract store walk-ins. While a lot of this can be assumed from human psychology, it’s better to double check with data.
In the chart above of Burger King, we can see that the brand posts the most at lunch time and that’s also when they receive good engagement. However, they get slightly better engagement in the evenings which means it would be a good idea to ramp up the activity in that window.
Similarly, assess the time when your brand is most active versus when your brand gets most engagement to tweak your publishing schedule. You can also take a look at the engagement fluctuation on days of the week. This information can be found under Analyze > Post > Brand > Timing for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram on the Unmetric platform.
4. Discover Post Types that work best
People always say images engage better. They do, there is no contradicting that. However, each band is different as is their audience. Resort to data to understand what type of content excites your fans and followers.
Once you know what post type engages best with your audience, you can increase the frequency of that particular type to maximize engagement. Access this data for both Facebook and Twitter and under Analyze > Tweets/Posts > Brand > Tweets/Post Type.
We keep talking about how social media is all about the conversations. Unlike mass media, your brand has the opportunity to see how your audience react to your content. Talking to your audience and engaging in conversation with them is mandatory. Not only does this improve the sentiment on your page, it also creates a personal connection that will keep them coming back for more. Though this doesn’t increase engagement right away, it will in the long run. By replying, you’ll encourage more replies and in turn, engagement.
Once you have great content, it’s time to put it under the spotlight. With the newsfeed format, restriction on the number of fans your post reaches, influencer marketing has been proven to increase the mileage of content. Even Jeff Bullas recommends it.
Unmetric allows you to view a list of your most popular and most loyal influencers. Reach out to these people to present trusted recommendations. You can find your Twitter influencers Analyze > Account > Influencers. This list can be sorted by both numbers of tweets and numbers of followers so you know your most loyal and most popular influencers.
7. Predict post performance and data-driven suggestions
Finally, Unmetric’s latest tool, Predict, allows you to enter a pre-composed message to predict engagement. We’ve taken it one step further and included actionable suggestions to help your post engage better. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about Unmetric Predict.
Aside from all of this remember to include lot’s and lot’s of giveaways, contents, emotional triggers and any kind of interactivity possible in your content. While it’s important to stay creative and come up with innovative content, don’t forget to double check with your trustworthy friend data.