Best practices for social media engagement

I know, social media can seem like a pain. But it's meant to drive engagement between you and other people.

Since the true purpose of social media is to drive connection, you're not leveraging social channels to the fullest extent if you're not engaging on an individual level.

Why is engagement on social media so important?

1. Because if you're not connecting and engaging with others then you're missing out.

You're not actually meeting the people that social media let's you get in touch with. No matter the country or time zone or interests, you can cross so many barriers easily and fluidly with a single post.

2. Algorithms want to see engagement.

If you're screaming, "ME ME ME" from the corner by only posting about yourself, for yourself, and by yourself, then you're not really on social media for the right things. You should be engaging so that no matter the channel you're on - Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter - people see you as someone looking to be social.

And the algorithms love it. I conducted my own social experiment: I continued posting to my work Instagram account and stopped engaging altogether (no liking, commenting, etc. on other people's posts) and watched my own posts decline by half. That's just how important engaging is.

So, you've scheduled all your posts in advance. What do you do next to jumpstart your social media engagement?

Scheduling your posts out allows you to take the pressure off of posting or devising new content everyday and puts you in the headspace to engage with people who engage with you first or who may be of interest to your business.

1. Comment on people's posts.

Spend your time writing comments that mean something. I "That's nice" or a "You're awesome" or "Follow me back" don't count for much in the game of comments.

Side note: Do not have a robot do this portion for you. Robots are not good at pretending to be human - their comments often don't make any sense - but by having generic comments you're showing people that you're not interested enough to be specific.

General Goal: 10 before 10.

I heard this in one of my accountability groups and loved it! 10 before 10 is an easy way remember to engage on social media. It means that you leave 10 comments before 10AM - you knock out your engagement before the day has even started.

2. Like other people's posts and videos is like being a good neighbor.

Genuinely engage with content you enjoy so that you can see more of it and so people know that you appreciate them. Especially if they're also putting in the time and effort, reward them with the likes and kudos you would want for yourself.

General Goal: Spend 10 minutes engaging per day.

That may sound like a lot, but if you spend your time starting conversations and not just scrolling, you'll be surprised what you can do in just 10 minutes! Or 5 minutes. Whatever your schedule allows, it's worth spending time relating to others.

3. Start a messenger conversation

Really love what someone has done? Send them a private message.

Really want to dig deeper into a post? Send them an individual message.

People love that you thought of them and want to speak further. It's like a handwritten note in a sea of emails.

4. Respond to people engaging with you.

If someone leave you a great Google Review, Facebook Review, or comment - thank them! It's not too time consuming and people will remember that you spent time engaging with them specifically - it makes them feel heard and appreciated.

Especially if your content is being shared or people are generating a lot of their own content and tagging your business or checking in to your location, this is a perfect opportunity to connect in another way.

5. Get involved with Groups.

Facebook and LinkedIn Groups can be invaluably to generating a following or traffic to your page. Whether you've created a group and are managing it, or have joined a group that has your target audience, both do wonders for your social media presence.

Keep in mind that in the group you're there to add value first, connect with others second. And a very distant third is to promote yourself directly and only in the manner approved by the group so you don't come across as "spammy."

What if I have a lot of social media channels that I need to engage with?

If you have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, Twitch, and the list goes on and on then I would divide your time on what matters most and how you can be most effective.

If you comment best online, then block out time for LinkedIn, Facebook, and Youtube to tackle all at once. If you comment best on mobile, then block time for Instagram and Twitter.

I would recommend splitting your time between them so you're not only active on one. I love time blocking as well so you don't fall down the rabbit hole and engage for 8 hours (when you could be working on your business).

Does all of this even work anyway?

The biggest complaint I hear about social media is that, "It's all for show and I don't get any business anyway."

My response is that you will get a response where you show your effort. If you aren't spending your time and effort in social media, it's unlikely to reap any rewards. However, if you are cultivating true relationships and engaging you are much more likely to connect with people who can help you grow and may even be customers.