Nowadays, with the ever changing social media algorithms and increasing number of content creators coming onboard, how can you still stay relevant for your business? In this article, I will break down 6 ways you can increase your audience engagement, reach and develop strong customer loyalty.
Billions of people are on social media every single day. With the current stay-at-home situation, all of us have more time to log on to our favourite social media platforms to have a scroll, endless scroll at times!.
Engagement – The measurement of comments, likes, shares and saves on your social media account(s)
Reach – The total number of accounts that views your content on the platform
Customer Loyalty – When a person patronizes your brand on an ongoing basis. It can also include customers who only patronize your brand and not others in the industry.
If you are a social media content creator, you may have experienced some drops in engagement. The number of likes, comments, and shares your posts get may have suffered a hit. It seems like simply posting a picture with acaption and some hashtags is not enough anymore! Have you ever wondered why this happens to you?
This could be a result of your account getting shadowbanned. Shadowbanning is the blocking of a user’s content on social media sites. If you are shadowbanned on Instagram, your content will not appear on anyone’s feed unless they already follow you. Unfortunately, there is no definite way of confirming if you have been shadowbanned.
Instagram in particular also changes their algorithm constantly, for example reshuffling the engagement percentages of likes versus saves, shifting from showing posts chronologically to what they think you find most interesting, etc.
As you can see, it is quite a complicated algorithm. Hence, the 6 ways that I am sharing with you can help us as users, content creators, and business owners increase our visibility on social media platforms.
1: Post High Quality Content with Interesting Captions and Appropriate Hashtags
If possible, use a digital camera to take your photos/videos. That will give you the best quality pictures with balanced colours, which Instagram recognizes and will then promote to more users. The image above was taken on my iPhone 8 camera in 4K resolution, which means 4,000 pixels. This is the highest resolution available on iPhones, and I find it sufficient to take high quality pictures without a camera! So even if you don’t have a digital camera, you can use your mobile phone too.
Next, the post should also be eye-catching. Be it bold angles, out of the box perspectives, or beautiful sceneries, social media welcomes them all!
Statue of Mary, mother of Jesus, holding him after he passed. Though dark, this image draws you in to the statue and is deeply striking.
Sunset; A beautiful scenery image which will get more attention on social media
Cooking YouTube channel Dian Xi Xiao Ge shoots high quality videos showing life living in the village, cooking with fresh hand-picked ingredients and the beautiful sceneries in her village.
Source: Dian Xi Xiao Ge
TIP!: Food videos like this can get millions of views, especially on video-based social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube. Even without an elaborate setup, filming simple testing of recipes or trying a viral recipe will be sure to get you some engagement! Include as much of the sounds of the food preparation to entice viewers as well!
Once you have settled on your post’s image/video, it is time to type your caption! Be descriptive and tap on trends such as popular slang terms, jokes, and other things that have been trendy lately! Make sure to link it back to your brand so that the audience remembers that this is your post!
You can also write a question of the day (QOTD) in your caption, which increases engagement when your followers reply to your question in the comments.
Question of the Day with interaction with other content creators on Instagram
Lastly, complete your caption with some hashtags! The optimal number of hashtags per post on Instagram is 11 hashtags, and it is not recommended to exceed that number. Hashtags definitely boost your posts’ visibility, thus increasing engagement and reach!
TIP!: Observe how other content creators use their hashtags and what are the common hashtags they use. Adapt these hashtags to create your own list of hashtags!
NOTE: Instagram has banned certain hashtags, check the list of hashtags here.
2: Keep Track of Analytics
Observe your audience demographics to better cater your content to suit them! For example, the majority of my audience on my Instagram clothing shop is from Singapore, and are females aged 18 to 24 years old. This is exactly the audience I want to attract and retain, and my posts are targeted towards them as well.
You can also see the times at which your followers are the most active. It helps to post during these times to gain the most reach and engagement! With most of your audience online on social media when you post, the likelihood of them viewing your post is increased.
NOTE: These analytics (Instagram Insights) are only available if you have a business profile. It can be easily set up for free when creating your account!
If you are a content creator on YouTube, the platform provides you with all the statistics of your channel, such as subscriber growth over a period of time, estimated revenue, total watchtime and more. It even shows you the devices from which viewers are watching your videos from! You will be able to view your YouTube analytics as long as you have uploaded videos to your channel.
Example of YouTube Analytics
Source: Single Grain
3: Make Full Use of the Platform’s Features
Instagram has various features that can be used to elevate your Stories, which are 15-second short videos that will last for 24 hours after you post them. These features include polls, question boxes, countdowns, quizzes and more.
To make your story more interesting, try adding one of these features to it and increase your engagement with your audience! You can also use these tools to gather responses from your audience.
For example, I use the question box to play guessing games with my followers! I get them to guess the theme of my next product launch and the first person to get it right will receive a $5 voucher to use on my shop.
Polls are also great if you want to find out what your audience prefers more. Simply put up the poll and wait for Instagram to calculate the vote percentages for you! Instagram allows for 2 poll options only.
Similarly, Facebook also has a poll feature. Facebook’s poll allows you to keep it on your wall for as long as you like, unlike Instagram Story’s 24 hour limit. You can also input more than 2 options in Facebook’s poll feature!
The last tool that will definitely boost your viewership is using advertisements. Make use of targeted advertisements on social media platforms to reach people who do not follow you, but are in your target consumer market!
Instagram allows you to promote your posts and define the target audience the promotion is going to reach. You can then customize how many people you want to reach and/or your budget for this advertisement.
TIP!: Select an eye catching post with a call to action in the caption or image to attract more people to your profile.
4: Gather Feedback from Your Audience and Consumers
Gather as much feedback as possible from your audience, and you can even post some of these “testimonials” as well! Be it constructive criticism, areas for improvement, or positive feedback, always ask for your customers’ thoughts on their purchases. You can also use the question boxes and polls to gather some of these feedbacks.
Ultimately, you want to cater your content and products/services to your audience as best as you can, right?
5: Share Others’ Content
Be it reposting other creators’ content or purchasing from them and posting about it, sharing others’ content will get you noticed by others in the same industry!
I often repost interesting posts on my Instagram story, simply because I want to share it with my audience. Sharing others’ content can be as simple as that, but it can also bring about benefits to your own profile! The creators of the content you share may in turn share your posts or give you a follow! This exposes you to their viewer base which thus increases your reach.
6: Host Giveaways and Contests
Lastly, host frequent giveaways and contests on your social media platforms! Two of the common criterias for joining online giveaways is to share the giveaway post on their stories, and tag a few friends in the comments. Every person who joins the giveaway will thus spread your profile to their followers, and all of these viewers might be interested in giving you a follow as well!
Hosting contests such as getting people to design a shirt for your company in order to stand a chance to win a trip to Bali (example) can also give you inspiration on your brand’s artistic direction.
That is 6 ways of engaging audiences in social media platforms. Use it wisely and I hope that this article has helped you with engaging your audience on social media.
Remember to always be genuine, show your passion and actively interact with your audience!
This article is brought to you by Loh Jae Yee. Jae Yee is a third-year student in Ngee Ann Polytechnic. She is currently interning with SNCF from March 2021 to August 2021. She is also constantly experimenting with fashion and making her own clothes and jewelry.