Does your brand’s social media engagement rate feel less than engaging? Solve your problem with a bit of resolve. With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, I’ve put together 16 New Year’s Resolutions to increase engagement in 2016. (It seemed like an appropriate number.) If you’ve dropped the ball on social media this year, pick it up when the ball drops—and use this list as your guide.
1. Resolve to be personable.
Do all of your social media posts sound like they came from an Automatic Promotion Generator? Do your followers see your company and its team as interesting, authentic people? Social media is about being social—and you have to start by being personable.
2. Resolve to build connections instead of followers.
It’s great to have a lot of followers, but if your only goal is to get that follower count as high as possible, you’re focusing your efforts on the wrong part of social media. This year, resolve to build connections. Are your followers liking your posts? Retweeting them? Leaving comments or replies? If they aren’t, it means your social media posts aren’t connecting with them—and it doesn’t matter how many followers you have if they’re not connected.
3. Resolve to do humor better.
If you’re not using humor as a social media tool, you’re missing out on one of the best ways to build connection and engagement. However, there are a lot of ways to get humor wrong. Read my post on how to use humor in social media marketing, and add humor to your 2016 resolution list.
4. Resolve to share your posts more than once.
Did you write a great blog post or LinkedIn article? Share it with your followers—and then share it again. As MarketingLand explains: “If you only share your content once, you are almost certainly leaving traffic on the table.” Give each share a unique, personable message; MarketingLand also suggests giving each share a unique URL, and then tracking the URLs to see which ones perform the best. You’ll learn a lot about when your followers interact with your content!
5. Resolve to reply.
When someone engages with you on social media, are you too busy to respond? This year, resolve to reply. If someone takes the time to reach out to you, reply back—and don’t just give the old “this information can be found on our website” boilerplate, give them a thoughtful, personalized response.
6. Resolve to target your target audience.
Who is your target audience, and what social media networks do they most often use? If you’re focusing most of your efforts on Facebook but your target audience spends its time on Twitter, you’re losing engagement opportunities. Do some persona research to figure out where your target audience engages online, and go to the social sites where your people are.
7. Resolve to learn how your target audience uses social media.
Different groups of people use social media in different ways. You might expect that people of different ages use social media differently, but it goes much deeper than that; a recent study showed that people tweet differently depending on how much money they earn. Study how your target audience uses social media, and pay attention to what they share. Are they interested in news? In deals? In jokes? Learn what they like, and then engage with them in that context.
8. Resolve to learn one new social media network.
Your target audience is likely to use more than one social media network. As The Telegraph reports, the average person has five social media accounts. This year, resolve to sign up for a social media network that scares you—maybe it’s Pinterest, maybe it’s Tumblr—and learn how to use it to engage with your audience.
9. Resolve to listen to what people are saying about you.
Here are some words of wisdom from Forbes: “You’ve probably heard this before, and you’ll most likely hear it again, but your online reputation can make or break your brand. But, how can you know what people are saying about your brand? By using tools that monitor and listen to your social media activity.” This year, resolve to listen more.
10. Resolve to use more images.
Adding images to your social media posts can significantly improve engagement. According to Buffer, adding an image to a tweet can increase retweets by 150 percent. Use images in your social media content and see if your engagement sees a similar boost.
11. Resolve to give users a reason to share.
As CoSchedule puts it: “Explain to your readers why they should share your piece of content. Give them a reason to do it.” CoSchedule also cites a study by Ellen Langer that suggests giving people a reason to do something can increase action by up to 94 percent.
12. Resolve to share other people’s work.
If I were going to follow Resolution #11 and give you a reason to share this post, I’d say “Share this post with your audience because sharing other people’s work is just as important as sharing your own.” If you only share your own stuff, you look self-absorbed. Sharing other people’s work shows your followers that you want to give them the very best content, no matter who wrote it. This, in turn, gives them even more reason to pay attention to your social media posts.
13. Resolve to post at the right time.
Do you know when your posts are likely to get the highest engagement? Fast Company has an infographic to help get you started—Twitter, for example, is highly active during lunchtime—but don’t forget to test your own unique URLs and track likes, retweets, and other social engagement to see when your best post times are.
14. Resolve to avoid outdated memes.
If you’re sharing posts with pictures of Shiba Inus saying “very wow,” you’re behind. Attaching outdated memes to your social content is like showing up to work in pants that are too small. If you’re going to use memes and humor—and there are a lot of good reasons to use both—resolve to stay current.
15. Resolve to try something new.
If you’ve never created a Twitter poll, make one. If you’ve never held a contest on Facebook, hold one. There are a lot of ways to use social media that many brands never even think to try—Are you sharing video on Snapchat? Are you broadcasting through Periscope?—and you never know what will increase engagement unless you try it.
16. Resolve to stay engaged.
Social media should never be “set it and forget it.” If you want people to engage with you, you have to engage with them and with the larger social media community. This year, resolve to stay engaged; to read your social media feeds even when you aren’t tracking a recent post, to engage with other people in your field and share their work, to follow trends and memes and—most importantly—be a part of the conversation.
How many of these New Year’s Resolutions do you plan to adopt in 2016? Share this post and you’ll be participating in Resolution #11!