Tracking your followers on social media is a no-brainer. It’s easy — and gratifying — to see the number of fans and likes tick up. But these metrics don’t tell the whole story. How many people are engaging with your content? Interacting with your team? Participating in the conversation? Asking questions? Advocating for you?

Increasing social media engagement is essential to maximizing your social media ROI and meeting a number of mission-critical goals.

Social Media Engagement Matters

Reach, or the number of people who see your social posts, is crucial. It broadens your audience and helps you zero in on the types of content that are most compelling to them. Social media engagesocial media engagementment is the next step. It should come as no surprise that reach and engagement have a reciprocal relationship.

Here’s an example: you post a stellar piece full of actionable advice. It’s so compelling, so useful, that fans share it. It lands on the news feeds of their friends and family. Shares impact the number of people who see your posts — and increases the potential for further engagement.

Social media engagement is also critical because social media is now the biggest driver of referral traffic to websites. From there, you have a greater chance of converting customers and realizing a strong ROI.

Unlocking the Potential

The power — the point — of social media is engagement. How do you increase this key metric? We’re not going to tell you to create great content (but definitely create great content!). It’s an essential building block of not only your social strategy, but your overall digital marketing efforts. That’s your starting point. What else can you do to build and nurture social media engagement?

  • Figure out where you are.

    How engaged are your fans/followers? How much buzz is your brand creating on social media? Give yourself a starting point so you can measure the effectiveness of any tactics you employ. Analytics tools like Databox, Hootsuite, Social Mention, etc., can give you the data you need, as can your social media/digital marketing agency.

  • Use compelling images.

    Put faces to your team’s names; highlight exciting new products or the ways in which real customers use them; sharesocial media engagement photos of your team at industry events or in the community; throw a photo contest; make data pop with fun infographics.

    There are a multitude of ways to incorporate images into your posts, and it’s worth your while. Photos have an 85% interaction rate on Facebook and increase retweets by 35%. The popularity of Instagram attests to the tremendous power of pictures.

  • Ask for feedback.

    Want to know what people are thinking about you? Ask them. Solicit feedback and reviews, pointing fans towards your review page or to the comments section. What do you like? What could we improve? How do you use our product? What would you like to see next? It gets conversation started, and it can unearth a wealth of consumer data that you can put into action.

    Do not offer rewards in exchange for reviews. This will get you suspended from social platforms and reflect negatively on your brand. It seems innocuous: leave a review, get a free sample. But this is frequently against the terms of agreement. Not to worry, most people are ready and willing to share their opinions. A simple, “Thank you; we hear you!” is reward enough.

  • Give some stuff away.

    Everyone loves free products, and a contest/giveaway is the ideal way to generate excitement and engagement with your brand. is a master of this. The workout/health site regularly features contests, asking their fans to share success stories or comment about their favorite workout buddy for a chance to win a free workout social media engagementprogram, and followers vote through likes.

    In one recent contest, the winners were each asked to select one person from the comments who they felt should also get the prize. This creates engagement with the brand, as well as within the community.

    Give it a try: people can like your page, fill out a form, share a comment, upload a picture, or complete another call to action to be entered into the running for the prize. It doesn’t have to be big or costly; it does have to be meaningful.

  • Show some personality.

    Social is the time to loosen your tie or untuck your shirt and be a bit more real. It’s important to stay aligned with your brand identity, but if it makes sense, indulge in a little humor or be a bit quirky or irreverent. Burger King typically nails it, and their fans love their posts.

Some other quick ways to increase social media engagement:

  • Share a surprising, bold statistic related to your industry/brand to grab attention.
  • Encourage more than a like; ask fans to love. These reactions take a bit more effort (not too much though!) to indicate deeper engagement than a simple like.
  • Share curated content from reliable sources to give your fans value at no cost to you.
  • Repurpose your content; a great infographic on Twitter can become a longform article on LinkedIn. You made that investment; now you can maximize it for different platforms/audiences.

How do you engage with your followers?