According to Sprout Social, a social media management system, in 2018 brands will see an increase in engagements and even quotes that 41% of millennials will incorporate their favorite brands when posting just to say thank them. Despite social media engagement being on the rise, many brands are struggling to increase their engagement through social media.

With social media becoming a stronger tool for businesses to build brand awareness and increase customer satisfaction it’s critical for every business to capitalize on the increased exposure.

The simplest way to increase engagement

One of the most common ways brands are missing the mark when it comes to increasing engagement is neglecting to thank those who tag them on social media. While this may seem like a no-brainer, but it is often overlooked as a result of smaller businesses who either don’t have the time or see the importance of responding.

Due to a lack of response to shout outs on social media many followers will drop off as the brand appears uninterested and therefore negatively impacts the perception of the brand.

How to Say Thank You

When responding to shout outs, it’s important to be timely, within an hour of the post if possible. Additionally, when responding it’s essential to view the shout out as an opportunity and not just reply, “thanks.” Instead, ask the consumer what they like the most about the product, share their post on the brand page, or comment on their page or content. This makes brands appear more interested in the consumers reactions and gives them a platform to showcase their own individual content.

What About the Unpopular Comments?

With social media being readily available to nearly everyone with a mobile device it’s often used as a platform to describe the negative experiences encountered by consumers. Since social media is something everyone can see it is important to be conscious of the public eyes and respond as soon as possible. Furthermore, when responding be sure to thank them for their individual opinion, then immediately apologize for the inconvenience, and then proceed to encourage them to reach out to the appropriate customer service representative.

Once all responses are tended to, it’s time to move on to evaluate the present posting times and analyze the current engagement patterns.

When to Post

 While posting times will vary for each business it’s important to evaluate when your followers are using social media. The main idea is to post when most of your followers are active on social media. Whether your business is using Facebook or Instagram both have tools yielding insight into what days and hours followers are most active.

The Value of Competitors

In addition to knowing when to post it’s essential to view the trending posts from competitors. With views, likes, and comments visible to the public, competitions posts become a valuable tool to evaluate not only what type of content is trending, but also what products are.

Another way to increase both engagement and awareness is to respond to strategically reply to competitor’s comments. For example, when a product or brand lacks something such as a feature or attribute yours has it’s a perfect opportunity to respond to that comment and make the commenter a customer.

Analyze Popular Posts

When creating content and posting it various times throughout the day it is important to take time away from posting and focus on what is popular among followers. Often times trending content has a pattern such as the angels of the photos, the types of questions, or perhaps even the colors used in photos. It’s important to find the patterns in your popular posts and capitalize on them by re-creating content including aspects of popular content already created.

Never Underestimate Call-to-Action

With Instagram Stories taking off a proper Call-to-Action is often a missed opportunity to increase engagement. Including a Call-to-Action in an Instagram Story gives your audience a chance to learn more about your products and your brand. Additionally, it may even boost the number of clicks to your website.

When creating stories in Instagram another thought to keep in mind is the format of the stories in Instagram. With Instagram stories having a fixed format of 1080 pixel wide and 1920 pixels high it may be wise to create content catered to those sizes to successfully position all content to the audience.

Utilize Influencers and Creatives

Whether it’s a photographer with a follower count breaking 10,000 or a fashion icon with fewer than 5,000 followers, incorporating influencers is an essential key to increasing engagement. When utilizing influencers, it’s important to measure the engagement of the influencers through specific measures such as tracking branded hashtags and the use of promo codes.

Also, when looking at the best platform for Influencers don’t just jump straight into Instagram. While Instagram is the number one platform for 92% of influencers according to Sprout social, it’s important to look at the other available platforms. With YouTube increasing its influencer utilization from 1.7% to 12.2% from 2017 to 2018 (Sprout Social) it’s important to include a variety of influencer channels to optimize engagement.

It’s Time to Embrace Engagement

With brand engagement becoming an emerging trend for 2018 it’s important to increase engagement across all platforms. Generating more comments, posts, and followers means on certain platforms your content will be at the top of your consumers feeds, increasing brand awareness.

To stay engaged and increase a social media presence utilize the tips and tactics above to increase engagement across all platforms.