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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?