Close
Close

The Blogger’s Guide to Meaningful Engagement on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter

This guest post is by Neil Patel of KISSmetrics.

When it comes to social media, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter are the big three. If you’re not on these social sites, then you are missing out on great business opportunities.

If you are on these sites, however, you probably know that getting meaningful engagement with your followers isn’t easy. You can easily drown in the noise, so you need tips and tools to help you break through that noise. The following ideas will help you do just that.

Better Engagement on Facebook

Engagement

Image copyright Darren Baker - Fotolia.com

You more than likely have a Facebook fan page if you are in business. The engagement probably isn’t great, however. See, about 90% of people who like your Facebook fan page never return. They will come back if you can effectively convince them… but you have to have good content.

What is good content on Facebook? We don’t know exactly how Facebook judges content, but we know they look at three scores using their EdgeRank indicator:

  • Affinity: This is a measure of how much a user’s fans like his page. Unfortunately, this is a one-way street, so to boost your Affinity score you need to convince people to Like your posts, click your links and interact with you.
  • Weight: How people interact with your content matters. A comment is given more weight than a Like since it takes more effort.
  • Time decay: The newer the content, the more likely it will show up in your news feed.

Like I pointed out above, if your content gets a low score, it may not even show up in the Recent News feed. And if it’s not showing up in Recent News, then people aren’t going to interact with it. So what you need to do is optimize your news feed. Here’s how to do that.

  1. Less is more: You are more likely to get a fan to comment or Like a post if you limit your posts to two to five a day. If you send a barrage of posts, people may even hide you.
  2. Shorter updates: Another important rule is to keep your posts under 100 characters. If you have to make people read a whole lot of copy, they are less likely to interact.
  3. Use links: Posts with links will get more interaction than posts without links, but make sure you use the full link and not a shortened link.
  4. Questions: Posts with a question will always beat a post without a question. Try and come up with at least one good question a day.
  5. Share photos and videos: These are the best ways to get engagement from people. If it’s an enticing video, people will watch it. And lots of people will Like it.
  6. Time your posts: The best time to post to Facebook is between 10am and 4pm. Interestingly enough, if you post outside of business hours, you’ll get 20% more engagement.
  7. Post on Thursday and Friday: Because of the “happiness index,” these two days get 18% more engagement!

If you want to find out what your EdgeRank score is, you can connect with the EdgeRank Checker here.

Deeper Engagement on Google+

Google+ is the new kid on the block, so ways to encourage engagement are constantly emerging. Here are some traditional and new ways to do that.

  • Post to the public stream: If you want to interact with all of your friends no matter what circle they are in, then you need to get into the habit of posting to the public stream. This will expose you to a lot more people.
  • Share other posts: When you’re surfing your Google+ stream, take the time to engage your friends by clicking the Share button for their posts. This will load their post in your stream, effectively sharing their content with your audience.
  • Create smart custom Circles: It’s possible to run into “Circle fatigue,” where you might just throw up your hands and say “What’s the use?” but there is a very good argument for creating custom circles. Chris Voss, for example, creates a Commenter circle, which is a list of people who have commented on his posts in Google+ but are not connected with him. He then reciprocates with this group by commenting on their posts. It’s a great way to engage the power users!
  • Hangouts: This feature of Google+ is for that person who is truly social. It’s for the person who not only wants to see you, but hear your voice as well. It’s great for company meetings, conference calls, mastermind groups, ad hoc brainstorm sessions, or just simply hanging out. Hangouts are meant to be loose, so bring your own drink, and remember that you can also start a hangout on YouTube.
  • Add Google+ to your website: Google+ can improve social engagement but it can also help your SEO efforts, too, which is why I recommend putting the Google+ button on your content. This will encourage people to share it on the social network and interact with it, and it boost your rankings as well.

Stronger Engagement on Twitter

At the 2011 Web 2.0 Summit, former Facebook President Sean Parker said that power users are leaving Facebook for Google+ and Twitter. The reason is because Facebook is not giving these users the tools they need to handle the glut of information on Facebook.

It’s interesting that these users would go to Twitter, because you could argue that Twitter sends you a glut of information, too. But Twitter is different because around it, there are lots of tools to help you manage that information.

Here are two that I highly recommend.

Buffer is a tool that allows you to spread out your tweets throughout the day during optimal viewing times. If you’re like me, it’s usually in the early morning or late evenings that I really get a chance to engage on Twitter. So if I send out a whole bunch of tweets at that time, they’re wasted because not very many people see them. With Buffer my tweets are shown at more optimal time, which results in more clicks and more retweets.

The other tool is HootSuite. The free version gives you free social analytics and supports up to five profiles. The paid version gives you enhanced social analytics, unlimited social profiles, and integration with Google Analytics and Facebook Insights.

Some people think TweetDeck is better than HootSuite, but I disagree. TweetDeck may have its advantages with a clean interface and URL shortener, but when it comes down to it, HootSuite delivers more value in these areas:

  • Speed: TweetDeck’s Adobe Air is a massive resource hog. HootSuite is much faster.
  • Statistics: You only get the data bit.ly will give you for TweetDeck. With HootSuite you can integrate with Google Analytics.
  • Multiple social networks: With HootSuite, you can also connect to Facebook fan pages, Ping.fm, WordPress, FourSquare, Mixi, and MySpace—not just Facebook and LinkedIn.

In the end, this is an essential tool to help you or your team track conversations and measure campaign results.

Other engagement options

Even though there are a lot more social media sites out there, like LinkedIn, these ideas can work equally well on those sites, too. You just have to use common sense.

What other methods do you use to increase engagement on social sites?

Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. I will take note of this and of course wall apply it on my techniques. Thanks for this post that full of fruitful knowledge.

  2. suraj says:

    i already joined these social networking websites but not able to get reader for my blog. let hope your tips help me to overcome this problem.

  3. John says:

    Great post, and great advice. Only thing I am wondering is about Google+. See, I got on right when it started the Beta, and got a ton of friends. 99% are no longer checking it or logging in. They have all said the samething, I already have facebook. Is Google+ still worth the effort?

  4. Amanda says:

    I find that humor and the shock factor are big keys to engaging readers. The well-placed and wisely used cuss can bring folks in, and intriguing photos are always a hit. Everyone’s so serious these days! People long for light-heartedness and joy. I aim to provide it. Thanks for the great post!

  5. Mike says:

    Thanks for posting that I will learn of this. It will help me overcome some problems.

  6. Zeeshan says:

    I agree with the point of “Less is more”. At times we should put ourselves in the reader’s shoes to get better idea our product or website. Keeping it sweet and simple always works out.

  7. Tory McBroom says:

    I gotta agree with your Hoot Suite recommendation! It’s completely changed how I handle my multiple social media accounts! And for 5 bucks a month its worth it to get the pro edition.

  8. Bob Angus says:

    Google+ Pages has just arrived. Much like Facebook Pages, this is a fantastic way to create a page focused on your blog as opposed to your personal profile.

    To create a page, just go to your profile and you’ll see a link in the sidebar on the right.

    Just set up my page last night at https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/105042585870991141226/

  9. Hi Neil & Darren, I guess Social Media is about these 3 networks as of now and with these valuable tips and suggestions Virtual Social Presence of any person will definitely get a boost. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Kevin says:

    Neil,
    I agree with you. Facebook, Google+, and Twitter are benefits for our business, especially for make money blogging.

    Anyway, I haven’t used TweetDeck is better than HootSuite yet. So, I will check those site after writing this comment. :)

  11. I thought this was an interesting post.
    I’m having a helluva time interacting with people in the social media sphere! All I do right now in Facebook and Twitter is put weekly updates that direct people to a new post, podcast, or something on my blog. I’m wondering if I should focus more on one and get rid of the other, or get rid of both and get into Google +… I’m trying to spend time developing content and products on my blog and am overwhelmed by the idea of doing DIFFERENT things on social media sites. Any ideas?

  12. Amy says:

    Is the WP integration on Hootsuite just in the paid version? I don’t seem to have that option

  13. Good stuff Neil! Thanks for sharing! Especially like the info on Google +.

  14. Kellie says:

    With so many social avenues these days, it can be so hard to keep up. These are great, simple, and useful, tips to help navigate what can be a tricky path. Thanks

  15. Chris Price says:

    So…would you recommend just posting to the main facebook newsfeed for your friends or setting up a separate page for your blog? The question would be how to get people other than your friends to visit your blog’s page…

  16. Thank you for posting this! I am learning how to do this for funding projects at the moment and these are some good tips to be able to keep my audience engaged.

  17. I just started using HootSuite a few weeks ago and it’s fantastic. It’s so nice to be able to manage Facebook postings and tweets all in on and I love that it shortens the links for you.

    That’s great info on Facebook. I’ve only just started out with it and struggling to get good engagement.

  18. Helpful tips Neil. Be social on social sites. Share usable content, stuff your readers can digest and put into action immediately. Over time your consistent engagement results in a rise in traffic. Thanks!

    RB

  19. James Greg says:

    Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are the giant social media sites and if we gather all the people available on these three platforms I guess it would count as the entire population. Using these three correctly as magnificently compared in this post would mean you have access to the whole audience.

  20. Tim Soulo says:

    Hey Neil,

    I think your data is a bit inaccurate right here – “You are more likely to get a fan to comment or Like a post if you limit your posts to two to five a day.”

    Dan Zarella, who’s a “social media scientist” at Hubspot had a research of posting frequency VS engagement and he suggests that the winning strategy is to post “every other day”.

    Cheers,

    Tim Soulo

  21. Daniel says:

    I have joined up with some of these social media sites, though I have to admit I have struggled to really have any great success as far as getting traffic to my site is concerned.

    I may try a few other social sites, or try to give my current social sites a little more involvement to see if I can get some better results.

    I heard StumbleUpon was great for driving traffic to your site(With a really good post possibly viral traffic) yet, I must be going about it the wrong way as I do not seem to be getting all that many visitors from this site.

  22. samu says:

    I love all three Facebook, Google+ and Twitter just post your updates and get traffic

  23. Kevin says:

    “Time your posts: The best time to post to Facebook is between 10am and 4pm. Interestingly enough, if you post outside of business hours, you’ll get 20% more engagement.”

    I’m not sure what to make of this point, it seems contradictory. Also, with a global internet, 10am to 4pm, in who’s time zone?

  24. Lori says:

    Thanks for this article, especially the explanation of the difference between Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.

  25. Douglas says:

    This wonderfully great and encouraging. Huge success.

  26. To answer your question, I’d focus less on apps and tools that get your tweets out during peak engagement times as well as just sharing other posts to your audience on G+, and more on the fact that just like in real life, the kind of bonds that create buying decisions don’t happen with simple meaningless interactions with people; you need to be engaged, in talking, in real time, at the highest level with as many people as possible in your target market. Ubiquity is the key! The social marketer will win.

  27. I’ve found that the best way to increase engagement is to reply to the readers who post a comment on your facebook page or website. Engaging your most active readers shows them that you actually care what they think and will encourage others to leave comments as well.

  28. Hootuite made my life easy in managing our social media network. Great post!

  29. Thanks for the advice. I agree that less is more. I see a lot “experts” out there suggesting that you need multiple posts a day. As a reader though, it seems like blatant marketing and not very natural.

  30. Brian says:

    Some good tips to be sure! What is the advantage of posting the full link on Facebook vs a shortened one? I use both and the main thing I do make sure I get a good thumbnail, title, and preview of the link.

  31. Fernando says:

    Today I took a relax time and was just reading post and I’m totaly in love with Neil, and every time I read a new post of you goes better and better…

    I totaly loved that one, specialy because is about networking, this is a realy cool stuff for me ;)