social media

By Sarah Landrum

Remember the famous line “If you build it, they will come,” from the movie “Field of Dreams?” When it comes to trying to improve social media engagement, this type of passivity is doomed to fall flat. Instead of relying on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and other social media powerhouses to do your work for you, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get involved. Otherwise, your following doesn’t stand much of a chance of reaching a respectable number.

So how do you increase your social media engagement? While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, there are definitely a few techniques that work wonders. We’ve amassed six of these actionable tips below to help you get started on your journey.

1.    Use Images Whenever Possible

Humans are visual creatures, and we tend to respond to images. Instagram alone is proof enough of this fact. Images can be anything from design to professional photographs to selfies. If your Facebook page is crammed with text and barren of jpgs or gifs, you’re definitely missing out on engagement. Best of all, you don’t have to pay a professional photographer; just take some snaps with your smartphone or tablet to illustrate your content.

Example: Marketme offers a nice example of imagery that connects with its text. Not only is the picture contextual, but it also is colorful and stands out on the page.

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2.    Connect Your Product or Service With Appropriate Dates and Celebrations

Do you get tired of companies that tweet shout-outs about every weird holiday that comes down the pike? It’s a disastrous way to try to woo followers. With that being said, if you come across a major or minor holiday or celebration that you can honestly connect with your product or service, there’s no reason not to use it as a way to get yourself seen.

Example: Check out this President’s Day tweet from Apfelbaum, a company specializing in stamp collecting. Not only is it showcasing its merchandise, but it’s cleverly connecting it with a national holiday. Bonus: Apfelbaum has utilized our No. 1 tip by adding images.

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3.    Create Interesting Boards in Pinterest

Nothing is worse than a business that’s stuffy. The Internet has little time for seriousness, especially on social media. While it’s fine to use corporate lingo and imagery, it’s a good idea to mix it up with some fun, especially on photo-heavy sites like Pinterest and Instagram.

Example: Lowes is known for its clever advertising, and it definitely ratchets up the excitement with Pinterest boards like this one that make DIYers drool.

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4.    Put a Face on Your Company

Your business isn’t made of brick and mortar – it’s made of people. So why not show them off on your social media pages? This will make you seem much more approachable, and encourage other social media users to see your brand in a whole new light.

Example: Cvent may be a cloud based company, but its Facebook page certainly contains a human persona.

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5.    Hijack Trending News Items

Not sure what to write about on your social media pages, but know it’s about time to add something? Go to Google Trends and see what’s happening around the world. With a little investigating, you can surely find some item to newsjack.

Example: Oakley, the internationally-known sunglass company, hijacked the Olympics – held in Russia, hence the nesting dolls – in 2014 with this Facebook image.

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6.    Host a Social Media Contest

What could be more engaging and fun than a contest? Twitter actually can be a terrific medium for hosting a contest because it’s so doggone easy to track participants using hashtags. Use your imagination and try to make engagement as easy as possible.

Example: Playmobil offered a caption contest that was simple and clever, and it also got them noticed by enabling them to improve the trending of the hashtag #CaptionCompetition. The winner received an advent calendar from the company.

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There’s little doubt that most organizations could do much better with their social media engagement. If yours falls into that category, start pushing your current boundaries and embrace innovative ideas. Who knows? You could end up hitting upon the winning strategy that boosts your numbers in a short amount of time.

After graduating from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR, Sarah Landrum moved to Harrisburg to start her career. Passionate about writing and all things social media, she recently founded a career blog for young professionals and began her own journey in the world of Internet Marketing. Follow Sarah for more advice @SarahLandrum