Have you heard? Facebook and Instagram are currently looking into removing the like count on social media posts and pages. Since April of 2018, Facebook has tested this change in specific countries on Instagram and then on Facebook in the late summer. So, what does no like counter look like for a social media account? Engagement will not be gauged by how many people simply clicked a little button and continued scrolling.
Engagement on Instagram and Facebook will focus on quality — comments, reshares, replies, and discussions. Comments are quality engagement since they mean someone took more time and effort to interact with your post. Your content moves them to action that takes up more time than the average eight-second attention span. Now is the time to practice strategies to improve quality engagement. What are a few techniques your business can increase valuable engagement on social media?
Give people a reason to comment in the first place! Social media is all about socializing with other users. To do so, you can ask a question or your audience’s opinion and then engage with them. Keep the conversation going and turn the comment section into a solid discussion. For example, as a fitness company, you may share a post on Facebook or Instagram asking about people’s favorite post-workout meals and replying to comments ask them why or your expert advice on their meals. Open-ended questions should be on topics your audience wants to talk about.
When you are planning content, consider why someone would want to share this with another? Is it helpful, intriguing, or entertaining? Is your content worth resharing? Sharable content depends on its relevance, uniqueness, and if it is useful or invokes emotion.
Don’t post what is working for everyone else or what’s tried, true but tired. Your content should be exclusive and stand out. What type of content stands out? Intriguing, vivid, and kinetic. Intriguing content could be a surprising statistic or an exciting industry update. Vivid content includes beautiful images, photography, and sharp and clear pictures. Kinetic content could be videos, possibly with lively personnel sharing helpful advice.
Post timing is important even with algorithms. Within the first hours of your post, the algorithm decides if the post is worth sharing to your remaining followers. Thus, early engagement is crucial. If you post when your audience is busy or asleep, they won’t be able to engage right away. In fact, even if your audience is online, at times, they are more inclined to interact than at other times of the day. To find out when your audience is online and most engaged, make it habit to review your Insights data.
Caution: Avoid Engagement baiting
Some fall into the pit of baiting users to engage. This hurts your post from being seen due to Facebook’s algorithm guidelines. Facebook describes engagement baiting as a tactic in which you “goad people into interacting… to artificially boost engagement and get greater reach on your stream.”
An example of engagement baiting would be “LIKE if you love small businesses” or “TAG 5 friends for a chance to WIN”. Engagement baiting can take on many forms, but the bottom line is you are prodding users to engage unauthentically. You don’t value their opinion you want a comment, like, or reshare.
Quality engagement has always been an essential aspect of social media success. And as social platforms continue to evolve businesses must keep abreast with techniques engage their audience.
For a further discussion of how increase engagement with examples and walk-throughs, you’ll enjoy our Marketing Minute Live sessions from this month: