A woman holds up a red sweater on a hanger and looks in the direction of a smartphone on a tripod in the foreground. The smartphone is positioned horizontally and the image of the woman on the sweater can be seen out-of-focus on its touchscreen. In the background are more sweaters on hangers hanging on a rack and another rack holding wide-brimmed sunhats.
Creating videos for social media is a good way to draw in an audience that could be converted into customers. — Getty Images/bunditinay

It’s one thing to have a lot of social media followers, and quite another thing to actually convert those followers into customers. Having a high follower count doesn’t necessarily mean that your audience is ready to buy from you. However, increasing engagement with your posts is a step in the right direction.

Engagement is a metric that describes a broad range of actions on social media: liking, sharing, saving, stitching, etc. Engagement shows the followers are paying attention and are familiar with your brand, making them that much more likely to become loyal customers.

Here’s how to boost engagement with your followers on the most common social media platforms.

[Read more: Startup 2021: Choosing the Social Channels That Are Right for Your Business]

Respond to your followers

It might sound obvious, but one way to boost engagement with your followers is to...engage.

Many brands put a lot of effort into creating content. However, they don’t always respond to comments after the content is posted. “As a simple rule, try to reply to every comment, DM, and story reply that you receive. If people are willing to engage with you, it means they care about what you’re posting,” wrote Later, a social media content platform.

This advice is especially true for Instagram, which, in 2020, changed its algorithm to reward engagement over impressions. That means that the platform will show content that a user engages with more frequently than content the user doesn’t engage with. Writing smart captions, asking questions in your Stories and responding to comments can help you boost engagement and views.

It’s tempting to treat your Instagram account like a one-way street, but social media is a conversation, not a broadcast.

Stacey McLachlan, Hootsuite

Post videos

Video content is king. This is true for virtually every social media platform, and video-only sites like YouTube and TikTok consistently rank highly for engagement among consumers. Consider some of these stats:

Video content is easier than ever to create, too. All you need is a smartphone and a good idea. Product demos, sneak peeks of new menu items or educational content (such as “How to create a planter box”) all make for interesting, unique video material. Live video is even better. An estimated 80% of audiences say they would rather watch a livestream than read a blog post. Plus, many social media platforms have built-in editing tools so you can make your video really shine.

Share audience content

See someone using your product in a Facebook story? Share it, and make sure to tag that account in the process. “It’s tempting to treat your Instagram account like a one-way street, but social media is a conversation, not a broadcast,” wrote Hootsuite. “Make sure you’re listening and engaging with fans when they reach out.”

If you’re not sure what to share, try looking out for micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are trendsetters with 10,000 to 50,000 followers; those with fewer than 10,000 followers are known as nano-influencers. These brand ambassadors can deliver big results for your brand. Look for “local celebrities” who you can leverage to gain more engagement on your own channels.

[Read more: CO— Roadmap for Rebuilding: Perfecting Your Social Media Strategy]

Host a contest or giveaway

If you need to jump-start your engagement quickly, host a contest or giveaway to get people excited. Ask users to share a post, tag their friends in the comments or follow your business’s account for their chance to win a product or experience. Collaborate with other brands to cross-promote or up the stakes with a bundle of prizes. Think about what type of engagement you’re hoping to incentivize, and raise the stakes accordingly.

While a giveaway can give you a big boost of engagement, you’ll need to work to keep that engagement rate high. Often, these types of events are short-term solutions. Giveaways are not a substitute for hosting high-quality, authentic content on a regular basis.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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