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Oct 27, 2021

Approx. 10 min. read

Social Media Engagement: Importance, Challenges, and 5 Best Practices

Improving engagement on social media is one of the main goals for marketers around the globe. 

Improving engagement on social media is one of the main goals for marketers around the globe. 

As half of the world uses social media today, marketers know that social media is one of the best channels for reaching and engaging customers and prospects, increasing brand awareness, generating new leads, and closing new customers. 

In this blog, we will go over the importance, challenges, and best practices for driving more engagement on social media. 

💡 Before we move forward, download our free Social Media Starter Kit for Professionals where we share actionable tips and best practices for helping you build your personal brand on social media.

The Importance of Driving More Engagement on Social Media

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, social media use has been growing rapidly. A report by Datareportal in July 2020, examined changes in social media usage during the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown period. Notably a monumental increase in online and digital activities.

social-media-use-increase

Marketers shouldn’t neglect this fact, and many of them are now rethinking their strategies for increasing engagement on their organization’s social media and other communications channels

Let’s now take a look into why social media should be an important part of every marketing strategy. 

💡 Related: 5 Social Media Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021

Social trust

Social media is at the heart of the consumer-brand relationship. Consumers find direct communication with brands to be more believable. Using social media, consumers can form stronger emotional bonds with brands.

According to social media research by Edelman, 39% of customers only trust brands if they have interacted with them on social platforms. Hence, being active on social media is not an option anymore - it’s a must!

Reach and awareness

Social media is one of the best ways to engage with existing customers and reach new audiences. Even though there are many different channels marketers can leverage to distribute their content, social media is one of the most effective ones. 

Organic social media posts are a great way to boost engagement with existing customers, while paid ads on social media provide an efficient way to reach new prospects. 

According to research, 72% of B2B marketers who use paid channels online use paid social, while 27% of internet users say they find new products and brands through paid social ads

Sales

People use social media to find and learn about products they want to buy. 54% of people browsing social media are doing so because they want information on potential products to buy.

Furthermore, 67% of online shoppers have bought a product after seeing it advertised on social media.

It is inevitable that social media can be a very powerful channel for lead generation and sales

Support

Social media is not only used for sales and brand awareness. Social support is a form of social proof and can also be seen as a marketing activity. 71% of people who have had a good customer support experience via a brand’s social media presence are likely to recommend the company to their family and friends.

Furthermore, 63% of customers expect companies to offer support via their respective social media presences.

💡 Related: 8 Steps to Implement a Killer Social Media Marketing Strategy

Biggest Social Media Challenges Marketers Face Today

Even though social media marketing should be a part of every marketing strategy, it does have its downsides.

Let’s take a look at the biggest challenges social media marketers face today.

Lower organic reach and engagement rates

Organic reach on social media platforms is not as high as it used to be. As social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, make most of their profits on advertising, it is not surprising that these platforms want to limit organic reach.

Besides lower reach, many organizations are also witnessing lower engagement on social media channels. Take a look at this chart from Trust Insights. It analyses engagement on one million posts from 4,097 brands on Instagram. 

social-media-engagement-instagram

As you can see, the number is declining significantly. The median engagement rate for unpaid branded content on Instagram stands at just 0.31% now. This means if you have a follower count of 1000, only 3.1 of them will engage with your content.

High competition and increasing ads cost

Marketers are not only facing lower engagement rates on social media. They are also challenged with higher ads costs. For this reason, many marketers today struggle to find the balance between social media budgets and their goals and KPIs.

One of the biggest reasons for higher ads costs is the increase in ads popularity and demand. In Q3 of 2019, there were 7 million active advertisers on Facebook. With so much ad content, marketers are finding it difficult to cut through the noise, reach their targets, and increase brand awareness.

Choosing the right channels and reaching the right audience

The next hurdle marketers face is understanding and choosing the social media channels that bring the most engagement and value for the business.

The graph below shows that there is a gap between where customers vs. businesses are. This proves that many marketers don’t put enough effort and analysis into identifying the platforms where their target audience is active.

This means marketers are wasting their efforts and resources on platforms that may not make much business sense for their organization.

social-media-customers-vs-marketers

💡 Also learn about How to Create a Brand Ambassador Program.

Measuring the impact

According to research, 47% of marketers say that developing social strategies to support overall business goals is their number one challenge. 

This is especially true for B2B marketers who usually don’t sell their products and services directly on social media.

If your social media goals are not well-defined, you will find it hard to measure your marketing performance and demonstrate its value to your stakeholders.

5 Ways to Drive More Engagement on Social Media

Driving more engagement on social media is not an easy job. There is no trick or a specific technique you can just implement and see better results.

Firstly, it is important for marketers to know that driving more engagement on social media takes time, devotion, consistency, and creativity.

Here are a few suggestions that can help you drive more engagement on your organization’s social media profiles.

1. Define clear KPIs

Start with big-picture goals. Ask yourself why your business is on social media. This approach will help you define your social media KPIs which will enable your marketing team to stay focused on what matters.

Remember that defining SMART goals is crucial. They need to be:

  • Specific. For example, be specific about which social media platform you want to increase sales on.
  • Measurable. Put a number behind your KPIs. For example, increase the number of LinkedIn followers in Q4 2021.
  • Attainable. For example, ensure that the goal can be met by organic and paid campaigns.
  • Relevant. Set a goal that you can actually achieve in a specific time frame. Use historical data to understand what’s achievable.
  • Time-bound. The time frame should be well-defined to help you prioritize.

2. Know your audience and choose the right channels

Earlier, we saw that many marketers are not doing the best job in analyzing their audience and leveraging social media platforms where their audience is most active.

For example, if you are in B2B, LinkedIn may make much more sense for your business compared to Instagram or TikTok.

Furthermore, it is important to understand which of the platforms have a bigger impact on consumer behavior and decision-making.

According to research, Facebook has more influence on consumer behavior than seven other platforms combined. When asked which social network is most likely to influence their online shopping decisions, 52% of surveyed consumers said they would buy something from a brand they follow on Facebook.

The remaining 48% of respondents said they were most likely to be influenced by a combination of Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Reddit (LovelyMobile).

Take a look into how other marketers choose which social media platforms to leverage.

social-media-marketing-1

💡 Related: What People Like to Share on Social Media  [INFOGRAPHIC]

3. Choose the right content formats

If you are a marketer, you have probably been hearing about how video is king. Well, it depends.

While video may work best for Facebook and TikTok, this is not the case for some other platforms. On Instagram, people tend to scroll through videos and engage more with different content formats such as carousel posts.

social-media-engagement-instagram-facebook

In order to boost social media engagement on your company’s profiles, it is important that you understand what content formats resonate best with your audience and perform best based on the channel.

💡 Related: 5 Social Media Marketing Tactics to Increase Brand Awareness

4. Get to know the algorithms

Unfortunately, we will never know exactly how social media algorithms work. However, marketers can familiarize themselves with the unique algorithms in order to boost engagement.

The best way to do that is to be data-driven. Analyze the performance of your posts and find commonalities between the best performing content.

Take timing for example. Does it matter when engagement happens?

Again, it depends.

LinkedIn, for example, cares when people engage with your posts and factors them into your reach, while Instagram doesn’t factor engagement timing into its algorithm.

Here are a few more useful insights about different social media algorithms:

💡 Related: Social Selling on LinkedIn: Do's and Don'ts

5. Involve your own employees

One of the most untapped opportunities to drive more engagement on social media is employee advocacy.

Many organizations are not aware of the ROI of employee advocacy and its impact on increasing brand awareness, generating more high-quality leads, and driving more sales.

Because people trust people more than brands, having a structured ambassadorship program for your employees can go a long way in transforming your social media performance.

📹 Also, take a look at our online session: The Marketing ROI Battle

 

Skyrocket Engagement on Social Media Today

As seen in the previous section employee advocacy inevitably increases engagement on social media. However, implementing and managing a structured and formal employee advocacy program is not easy.

Your employees should be able to share your company’s content on various social media channels in a few seconds. Organizations should be able to gamify advocacy experience and measure the impact of employee advocacy on social media engagement.  

Smarp’s Publishing Studio is a hub for creating and publishing content to your workforce at scale and it provides a central place from which employees can access their company’s content at any time and easily share it on social media.  

Our Content Booster enables organizations to further enhance their existing technology ecosystem by publishing personalized content with one click, while Workforce Insights provide valuable insights and actionable recommendations for improvement. 

Schedule a Smarp demo to see how other organizations use it to boost social media engagement in their organizations. 

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Written by

Kristina Martic

Kristina Martic

Digital Marketing and Employer Branding

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