Engagement is more valuable than follower count. There, I said it. That means that an account with 20k followers might be more likely to land a brand deal than an account with 200k followers if their engagement rates are higher.
Follower count is more of a vanity metric. It does work in grabbing a brand’s attention right away, and can even momentarily fool them into thinking you’d be a good fit for a brand partnership. However, just because you have a big flashy number next to your name doesn’t mean that the brand partnership will actually go through, especially after you send over your analytics and current stats.
Brands are more interested in working with people who have high engagement, as opposed to only a large following. Ideally, you have a large following and high engagement, but that’s a work in progress. For now, focus on engagement.
This post will define what engagement is, why it’s important to grow, and outline 8 ways to improve engagement on social media. If you’re interested in learning how to grow your account first, then check out this post, and return to improving engagement after!
What is engagement on social media?
Engagement is related to all of the stats that you see in your professional dashboard, specifically around likes, views, comments, saves, and shares. Now that you can hide likes, or disable comments, sometimes it can be hard to get a feel of someone’s engagement just at a glance. This is why brands will ask you to send over screenshots of your recent analytics to get a better understanding of your engagement rates and demographics to make sure you’re a good fit for partnership.
Why is high engagement on social media important?
At the end of the day, social media is a sales platform. Whether you’re working with brands to sell their product, or you’re highlighting your own offerings- you are selling yourself (aka your brand) when you post. High engagement indicates that people are interested in what you have to sell.
High engagement is also an indication that people feel connected to you and your content. This connection comes with trust. And higher trust leads to a higher likelihood of converted sales down the line.
Even if you’re not interested in working with brands, and you don’t need to show your professional dashboard information to anyone- you’ll still want to work on the engagement with your followers to improve your relationship with your audience. It’s important to remember that these are real people, and not just potential dollar signs, or numbers- and real people want to be treated as such. In turn, this kind of trust will help in growing sales should you choose to actually monetize something.
8 Ways to Improve Engagement on Social Media
Social media is kind of just a game, really. It has different formulas that help you excel in the game, and those formulas can change regularly. But that’s okay! That’s what keeps it new and exciting, right?
If you’re working on growing your social media presence, start first with working on growing your engagement, as growing your account will inevitably occur when you focus on engaging with the people who are already there. Try to carve out even just one hour a day to actually WORK on social media, rather than using it as entertainment. This kind of dedication will absolutely have a valuable return if you stick to it.
One of my favorite ways to engage with my followers is to throw up a question box every week. I have a weekly yoga Q & A on my page as a way to provide free resources for teachers and students of yoga. I do this, because people pay for my app, my classes, my retreats, and trainings. So having FREE resources is a really great way to give back.
You can also use the question box as an opportunity to connect with your followers on a more personal level, and answer any kind of question that comes through. Or, you can cater it towards your specific industry or area of expertise. People really appreciate getting value out of content, rather than a glamorized highlight reel.
Using polls in your stories is an incredibly valuable feature if you’re in the creation process of something that you plan to sell. Say you’re planning a retreat, and you don’t know if you should book the venue in November or December. Put a poll up, and actually ask people what they want. They’re the ones that are going to be buying, so it’s nice for them to have a say!
You can also use polls in a product creation process to decide between colors, launch dates, and so on. Not only are you giving your audience an inside peek to the creation process, but they feel like they’re a part of it, too. Feeling connected to the product creates a higher chance of sales once the product is live.
Look, I know that DMs can get a little crazy. But I promise that if you take time to stay on top of them, it’s worth it! If you want to increase your DM volume, you can also add a call to action on a post or a story prompting people to DM you if they have questions, or DM you for a special discount code.
DMs do exactly what their name suggests- they provide a direct line of communication between you and your audience members. Sparking a conversation first might help the more shy fans feel more comfortable to connect with you on a personal level.
Ask Your Audience
If you’re unsure about something you’re creating and planning to sell, ask your audience! You can ask them with question boxes, or polls. Or, you can write it in the caption, and ask them to respond with what they want in the comments.
Calls to action like prompting comments, polling, or question boxes will likely improve the visibility of the post, because there’s a lot of activity happening on it. This can also help your account to grow. However, it’s not something that should be all the time, because otherwise it looks a little thirsty, honestly.
Respond To Comments
Make sure to carve out the time to respond to comments on all of your posts. Do your best to reply to every single one if you can. Not only does this help you to build connections with people who are engaging with your content, but it also helps to drive up the stats on that post. If you read my post on how to grow your account, then you know that replying to the comments within the first hour of posting are the most crucial for post visibility.
Think about it, say 30 people commented on your post. If you reply to all 30, now it will show you have 60 comments, instead. The more comments that a post gets, the more you’re telling the algorithm that this is valuable content. The more valuable the algorithm thinks your content is, the more likely it is to help make your connection visible.
Giveaways are the perfect way to get your foot in the door with brand partnerships, and growing your engagement rates. Check out my how to land a brand deal post so you can get the perfect brand on board for the giveaway.
Remember, if brand deals aren’t your thing, you can always use your own offerings as a gift for the giveaway. If you’re a yoga teacher like me, you can give away bundles of your classes, a full retreat tuition, or space on your latest course.
Most importantly, require that participants in the giveaway must comment and tag 2 – 3 people in order to be eligible to win. This will help their friends to see the post too, and maybe enter themselves. And, all those comments will boost the visibility of the post.
One of the best things about brand deals is that you can now offer discount codes to your followers on products that you love. Most of the time the discount code also provides a small commission for you, which is a bonus, but likely won’t pay the bills by any means.
If you want to use your discount code in correlation with higher engagement, then you can include a call to action like, “comment YES if you want me to DM you my discount code.” This will increase the comments, and open up that direct line of communication with you and your followers. Plus, they get a discount on a cool product. It’s a win-win.
Don’t forget, you can also create discount codes of bonuses with your own material. You don’t need to rely on brand deals for this. You can give $100 off your next retreat, or buy one get one free for your next yoga class. There are so many ways to provide fun little perks to your audience. Get creative with it!
Aligned Brand Deals
Make sure that you only accept brand deals that are completely aligned, otherwise your audience will sniff that out a mile away. We’ve all seen the brand partnerships that just seem off. What happens? It creates a sort of repelling effect, doesn’t it.
People won’t like or comment on something that’s clearly a money grab. However, people are more likely to engage if you’re working with brands that are super aligned with you, your ethics, and the interests of your audience.
Growing your engagement is one of the best ways to really leverage the full value of your social media account. Promise.