Marketing and social media have long shared a complex relationship. Here's a quick 12 point guide, about how you can boost your engagement, and succeed on social.

1. Be part of the conversation.

get involved with the conversation on social media

A common fault on social media is a tendency to share our own content, but not interact with what others produce. 67% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Twitter, so it's in your interest to capture their attention. Don't be shy, and comment and interact with customers on social media to start building a relationship. Even if they don't become a customer, you'll gain a fan – and you never know who's watching the conversation on social.

2. Know your audience.

social media audience

While you might never know exactly who's watching your interactions, you should have an idea of who you're trying to reach. Creating, understanding, and marketing to buyer personas can make this a great deal easier. By growing your understanding of who your customers are or could be, you can craft content that are more likely to be of interest to them – improving your engagement, and CTR. "HubSpot offer a useful template to get you started."

3. Keep conversations open-ended.

leave social conversations open

There's a lot of noise on social media. Users are regularly bombarded with questions and messages from businesses and followers, on top of the content mountain produced by 2.3bn social media users per year. As such, it's important to remember that even though you think your message is giving value, there's a myriad of reasons why it won't be read. Avoid “yes/no” type questions, and keep the conversation open-ended. This allows you to re-target at a later date, with a warm open.

4. Recycle and Repurpose.

recycle and repurpose social media content on different platforms

While different social networks serve different groups, content can often be repurposed and recycled. For example, if you produce a useful social media infographic for sharing on LinkedIn, this will also make a great tweet, and would belong on a social media focused Pinterest board. Furthermore, if you have brand content such as a 60 second explainer video, this can easily be posted and recycled multiple times – but of course, not too often. A good ratio to follow is 4 pieces of friendly, useful, or topical content, for every 1 piece that is promotional.

5. Offer a Call to Action – and something worth acting on.

Make it easy for people to buy your product through social media

If you're producing content with a desired outcome such as retweets or likes, it's important to give your audience a clear call to action that specifies what you would like them to do. A simple “like this” or “click here” can boost your engagement significantly. When Subway posted a photo of a beach, asking people to like it if they wish they could spend their Sunday there. It gained almost 54,000 likes and over 400 shares. Not bad, for a sandwich chain talking about the beach.

6. Create a Calendar.

social media calendars can help you manage your scheduling

In a report from Texas Tech University, it was found that in terms of sentiment, and customer loyalty, companies who use social media effectively outperform their competitors markedly. To ensure this is achieved, it's important to post regularly. Got nothing to tweet or share? Either recycle and repurpose as per point 4, or use this as an opportunity to engage with your followers and share their content.

7. Reward Followers.

by knowing your followers, you can understand them and build your social media business

Share positive content on social about a specific follower, or something they have produced. Not only is this going to do wonders for that one relationship, it shows others that you care about your followers – leading to improved engagement, and positive Word of Mouth. According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, it costs between 4-10 times more to acquire a customer than it does to retain them. Suddenly, that appreciation tweet takes on a lot of value.

8. Use Video.

video content on social media

Video is still an under-explored format for posts, presumably on account of the time element of creating high quality content. However, through websites such as PowToon, this has become much more straightforward and time-effective. According to this infographic from Hyperfine Media, 80% of users recall a video ad that they viewed in the last 30 days. And with the average user only being exposed to an average of 32.3 per month, this represents a major opportunity for your brand and your engagement.

9. Respond Quickly.

responding quickly on twitter gives you an advantage on social media

According to a research study from Lithium Technologies, 53% of Twitter users who expect to be responded to by a brand on Twitter expect it to be done within the hour – regardless of time of day. This rises to a terrifying 72% if there's a complaint. Keeping an eye on your social media messages can be vital to manage potential issues, but can also help you maximise any opportunities and will help boost your engagement through being timely and effective in your replies.

10. Use Your Team.

try a bot or social media AI like Orla if your an entrepreneur or small business

No matter how small or large your business, if there are other people around, make them aware of what's going on with your social media. Encourage them to contribute, and share items on social that they feel are relevant. Not only does this help staff morale, but it leads to employee advocacy – they will use their personal voice, to boost the engagement of the brand. Going it alone as an entrepreneur, or not ready to hire a social media expert? You should meet Orla.

11. Define Your Goals.

have clear defined social media goals, and use tools such as Orla to achieve them

If you want to be successful on social media, then like all tasks, it's important to have clear defined goals. Do you have a target number of followers? A number of retweets or likes that your posts should get? To achieve this, set a mission statement for each social platform, with a clean and clear idea that will inform the content shared. The result is brand consistency, increasing the likelihood of strong engagement. This also helps make sharing on social accessible across your business, and forms the beginning of a social media policy if one is not already present.

12. Timing.

know your audience on social and understand how they behave and respond to content

No matter how terrific your content is, sharing it at 3am is unlikely to maximise your chances of high levels of engagement. It's an older article, however this useful infographic in AdWeek provides useful guidance on the optimum times to post. As a rule of thumb, nothing before 8am, and nothing after 8pm. If your business is truly 24/7, consider scheduling or playlisting content to allow you to cover this gap while you sleep, or use an automation tool to share something relevant to the industry from another user (Pssst At Orla, we've got this covered for you!).

What strategies or techniques have brought you the most engagement and results on social media?

Let us know on Twitter! Join the conversation @OrlaSocial, we can't wait to hear from you!