The average user spends 116 minutes each day on social media. Optimize your engagement and conversions on social media with 7 tips from the leading internet marketing brands.
Why is it called “the art of conversation?”
Because the ability to start and maintain a meaningful dialogue takes practice. It’s a skilled approach that requires a human touch, the right tone, and relevant topics.
Unfortunately, there’s no charm school for social media.
Amidst the complexities of multiple platforms, marketers are left guessing at how to succeed with their social media strategy.
A survey of social media marketers reveals that engagement and conversion rates are the most important metrics for tracking social media success.
So, today, we look at 7 ways to optimize your social media strategy for increased engagement and conversions:
- Increase your impact with visual content
- Foster community with user-generated content
- Drive action with emotion
- Tell your brand story
- Spark results with specific calls to action
- Engage with trends and current issues
- Invest in video
These are the evergreen strategies used by leading internet companies to increase participation and prompt action across every B2B social media platform.
You’re about to become a fluent (social media) conversationalist.
1. Increase Your Impact With Visual Content
An image-rich marketing mix is essential for boosting engagement across all platforms because our brains are predominantly visual.
- Facebook posts with an image receive 2.3x more engagement than those without.
- Tweets with an image receive 150% more engagement than those without.
Visual context is key to amplify the impact of your posts.
Use these 4 apps to create artwork for social media.
Since faces can be read as easily as words, Buffer employs a welcoming hero image for its Skillshare class.
The photo emphasizes the end-value to users, highlights the brand’s credibility, and uses emojis to signal urgency. When competing for attention and conversions, visual content helps you stay top of mind and maximize the ROI of your social media strategy.
2. Foster Community With User-Generated Content
The best social media accounts foster a sense of community. User-generated content is a powerful tool for rallying your followers around a common cause while promoting engagement.
Calling on your audience to create user-generated content:
- Opens a dialogue that helps create a sense of belonging
- Shows that you care
- Establishes a conduit for comments, likes, and shares
User-generated content is a win-win method for connecting with your audience, plus it generates valuable social proof.
Nearly 90% of consumers trust reviews from other consumers as must as they trust reviews from personal contacts, according to BrightLocal. The more customers who contribute to your social accounts, the more trust and conversions you’ll secure.
For example, Hootsuite gives a shout out to their #IWorkFromHere contest winner on Instagram.
Spotlighting individuals helps Hootsuite’s audience realize they’re part of a larger group and join the conversation.
By focusing on followers, user-generated content helps you encourage relationships and facilitate meaningful engagement within your social sphere.
3. Drive Action With Emotion
Since we act on feeling, appealing to emotion is a guaranteed way to swell social involvement.
According to Social Media Today, the average person spends a whopping 116 minutes per day on social media.
While mindset fluctuates by the minute, emotionally charged content always enables you to cut through the noise, hook attention, and prompt a response. The more stirring your posts, the more engaged your users will be, and the more likely they are to respond.
If you’re aiming for shares, the strength of emotion – not the type of emotion – is what drives results, according to Jonah Berger, Professor of Marketing at Wharton, and author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On.
Content doesn’t need to be inspiring or funny. It can create indignation or sadness. Your aim is simply to steer these elevated emotional states to the desired action.
For example, this heartfelt video shows Robert Downey Jr. delivering a bionic arm to a needy child
It captivated viewers, earning 2 million views for Microsoft's charity initiative, Collective Project.
To best secure engagement, use heartfelt media. If your posts resonate with people, they’ll respond – then return for more.
4. Tell Your Brand Story
Humans, we’re suckers for stories.
As Berger of Wharton says:
“People don't think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride.”
Your followers will leap at any opportunity to deepen their understanding of your organization.
Begin crafting your story in your social media plan.
To sustain the interest of your social following, divide your brand story into chapters. Then, craft a narrative campaign that showcases your company culture and reveals your past history:
- Post photo updates of office events
- Share behind the scenes videos
- Publish blog posts describing how you’ve overcome struggles
Showing your human side inspires trust from your audience
To drive conversions, try linking consecutive posts that tell your broader story. Keep your audience in suspense with an intriguing series of Tweets. Once you’ve released the final post, use the accumulated anticipation to motivate a response.
Here's email marketing platform MailChimp showcasing its unique story on Twitter, “Why The Founder of MailChimp Turned Down $1 Billion in Cash.”
Given that social media is used primarily to connect people, MailChimp’s article is a powerful way to differentiate the brand by its people and values: Mailchimp’s founder sacrificed a hefty paycheck to maintain the company’s values.
If your story has an opportunity to resonate with people, they’ll be more inclined to participate and remain loyal to your brand.
5. Spark Results With Specific Calls to Action
Telling followers exactly how to respond to your posts will drive the greatest number of conversions. Sounds obvious, yet many brands fail to place or optimize their calls to action (CTA) on social platforms.
Social media scientist, Dan Zarrella, says that certain key phrases work best in CTAs.
For example, engagement on Facebook increases if you use the words “Like,” “Comment,” or “Share.”
For Twitter, include “Please Help” or “Please Retweet.”
Phrasing your CTAs in the native language of the platform always returns the best conversion rates. What do you want people to do? Share? Comment? Click the button?
This promotional Facebook post from Moz reminds followers to try their service: “Explore keywords now.”
Achieving optimal conversions on social media requires a proper balance of promotional messages such as Moz’s call for users to try its new tool. Remember, though, that the number one reason people unfollow brands is excessive promotional messaging.
However, if you’re consistently sharing value, followers will tolerate these adverts because they understand you’re a business. The key is to guide action with strong CTAs that are appropriate and intuitive but never superfluous.
6. Engage With Trends and Current Issues
To spark an authentic conversation, engage with issues and trends relevant to your industry.
According to Forbes, 62% of consumers say they use social media to address social issues with brands. Liking, sharing, and commenting on recent topics let you tap into a wider audience for greater engagement opportunities.
This Instagram post from Zendesk generates instant admiration and respect for the brand.
The images and caption simultaneously demonstrate Zendesk’s principles and its community involvement, positioning Zendesk as a value-driven company that's concerned with more than money.
Done well, this approach lets you show your support for relevant issues and strengthen your reputation.
Done poorly, you’re the next Pepsi fiasco. Since today's consumers favor purpose-driven brands, voicing your opinions (wisely) is a timely way to garner shares, goodwill, and repeat engagement.
7. Invest in Video
Video content is standard for leading brands on social.
If you’ve hesitated to invest in video, consider that:
- Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images together
- “How to” searches on YouTube grew 70% from 2014 to 2015 and continue to rise
- Retention of video content is as high as 95%
As demand for mobile entertainment and easily-digestible information surges, video becomes an increasingly potent way to engage followers. Whether consumers are keen for amusement, know-how, or a yet undecided mix of both – video is captivating, flexible, and relevant to every platform.
For example, to encourage signups for their new podcast, Hubspot rouses our attention with a sword fight.
Regardless of the campaign, aim to hook viewers with a story, humor, or emotion. If your video excites and nurtures interest effectively, the viewer will arrive at the call to action charged and ready to act.
However unaligned podcasting and swordplay may be, we’re more likely to click-through after watching this compelling clip.
Brands that earn a reputation for consistently rewarding video (of any sort) enjoy an engaged, loyal following that’s ready to convert.
Review Your Social Media Strategy
Tweak your social media strategy with these 7 tips to drive and sustain an authentic conversation with your audience.
As these leading internet brands have shown, orchestrating an effective social media strategy requires irresistible content, attention to detail, and the latest consumer psychology.
Succeed here and your social presence will surge ahead of competing B2B organizations. Our recent social media survey details that most marketers struggle to articulate their social media strategy and attract followers.
For those lacking the talking points needed to achieve engagement and conversions, sustaining a dialogue on social media will remain a challenge.