Did you know that there are over 1.82 billion social network users worldwide? That number is expected to increase to approximately 2.33 by 2017. Needless to say, being active on social media is an essential part of your marketing plan. But, how can you reach your audience more effectively than your competitors?
While creating quality content is a must, you also need to engage your audience. Again, this should be obvious. But, it can be a problem is you’re on a tight budget. That’s why I’ve compiled the following seven ways to boost your social media engagement for free.
1. Make Use of Free Social Media Listening/Monitoring Tools
You’ve probably heard this before, and you’ll most likely hear it again, but your online reputation can make or break your brand. But, how can you know what people are saying about your brand? By using tools that monitor and listen to your social media activity.
If you believe that you’ll have to dish out some of your hard earned cash for these tools, then you may be surprised to learn that there are plenty of free tools that can accomplish this task. Here are a few tools that have free versions that should do the job:
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- Social Mention
2. Be Visual
Social media and visual content go hand-in-hand. In fact, using images or graphics has some serious benefits for social media. Research has discovered that images can result in an 85% interaction rate on Facebook and increased retweets by 35%.
While creating an item like an infographic can be cost you a pretty penny, you can always share a relevant infographic or chart that your audience will enjoy and share. There are also plenty of other free and creative options for adding images to your social media account that include:
- A behind the scenes shot of a new product
- Highlighting team members
- Old photos of team members, such as when they were children, or previous brand logos
- Asking followers to add a caption to an image
- Asking followers to share your image in action
- Holding a photo contest
- Sharing images from an industry event
- Create a collage through tools like Fotor, Photovisi, Picasa, BeFunky, Ribbet or my personal favorite Canva.
- Create cool and easy infographics with Piktochart. Easy way for me to crank out a bunch for cheap.
3. Include Games, Contests and Giveaways
There’s no doubt that you’ve heard about the power of contests and giveaways. What’s great about these tactics is that it boosts engagement on the social media platform of your choice because people usually like receiving a prize of recognition. For example, you could ask followers to fill-out an entry form, like your page or share their favorite story about your brand for a chance to win a free product or subscription from your brand. Jay Baer from Convince and Concert hasthirteen ingredients for the perfect social media contest. Giving away something is key.
Besides contests and giveaways, you can also use games to get your audience more active. In fact, you could even utilize some classic and easy-to-play games like Mad Libs, Hangman or Boggle. Hootsuite suggests games like “What’s Your Best Guess?,” “Ask The Next Friend,” or asking “If your life/business was a (movie/book/song), which one would it be?” are all easy-to-implement games that will generate buzz around your social media account.
4. Ask, And You Shall Receive
Asking your followers and audience questions is another way to get them active on social media. You could ask them to provide advice, content ideas, what they would like to see from your brand in the future or just a general question like “What are plans for the weekend?”
Another idea would be to hold a frequent Q&A on Google Hangouts, Twitter, Reddit, etc. It gives fans the opportunity to ask you questions about products, services, etc. and become a valued member of your community. Just be cautious of trolls that will try to destroy your brand and always take the high road if you are getting asked sensitive questions. If you’re brand isn’t controversial, however, you should have no problem during a Q&A session. If you want to prevent a disaster, check out these 13 Twitter Q&A fails.
5. Link and Participate
Whether you’re a guest blogger like me or in an industry thats leading money, linking to other sites can be a major assist for your social media networks. Be doing so you’ll be able to gain more links to your site or social media account, increases brand awareness, connects you with industry leaders and can establish you as industry leader. It’s a sharing economy, make sure you share legit information that your readers love.
If you’re interested in guest blogging, Jayson DeMers put together an outstanding guide on how to build your business through guest blogging.
Other ways to improve your credibility and network with industry leaders or targeted audience members is to answer questions on Quora or LinkedIn.
6. Repurpose Your Content
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are just four of the numerous social media networks out there. Furthermore, they all serve different demographics and have different features. Because of this, you should repurpose your content to fit the preferences of the specific social media audience you want to reach. For example, you could create a how-to-list for LinkedIn and convert that into an image to share on Facebook or Pinterest. You could even just update or republish one of your most popular articles. The idea is that you can use the same idea and amazing content to reach different audience across various mediums.
HubSpot has a helpful article that can get you started on rehashing your content.
7. Show Your Personality
Your followers and audience want to see that there’s actually a person or people behind the logo. But, how can you achieve that? For starters, you can share some personal information like your favorite hobby or book with your followers. You could also share recommendations on blog posts or products that you find informative. You could even tell your followers about what your typical day is like.
Social media can be amazing to gain traction to their business in a location where customers are currently on. Don’t abuse social media by posting too much about your business! Remember, social media is about other people. Don’t be the guy at the part that only talks about himself. Nobody likes that guy. Don’t be that way on social media. It’s about being an expert and helping others find useful information.