There’s a decline in social media engagement. Today, Facebook’s number of active users is on the rise. In spite of this, the actual amount of engagement is declining. People are still signing up, but are spending less time on the platform.
Facebook is taking steps to fix this. They modified their algorithms so you see more posts from your close friends, and they are promoting groups more. However, the data still appears to suggest that the platform is simply not as popular as it once was.
What is Social Media Engagement?
Social media engagement is the combination of likes, shares, comments, and reactions a brand receives on its social media posts. Here is a breakdown of these forms of engagement by platform:
- Facebook: Organic and Paid Likes, Mentions, Impressions, Clicks, Reactions, Post Engagement, Shares, and Comments.
- Instagram: Comments, Likes Received, Engagement by Hashtag, Engagement by Media, Likes for Instagram Stories and Instagram Live.
- Twitter: Impressions, DMs, Clicks, Likes, Replies, And Retweets.
- LinkedIn: Impressions, Comments, Shares, Likes, And Clicks.
Social Media Use Trending Downward
Fewer Americans are using social media. This has not happened until now. This is based on a study by Edison research involving 2000 participants ages 12 and older. The study has used the same methodology each year, so it is pretty reliable in terms of getting consistent results.
Between 2017 and 2018, it appears as if social media use dropped by three percent.
What’s going on? One of the issues is that younger Americans are beginning to use messaging apps more, but standard social platforms less. It is unlikely that social media use will drop off entirely. It will remain a popular medium for connection, but there is definitely a move away from these standard social media networks.
Of course, the decline isn’t something that is happening across the board. Both Pinterest and Instagram saw an increase in usage of 2% and 1% respectively. Snapchat increased in usage by 2%. On the other hand, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook either saw no change, or a decrease in usage.
Here’s something a bit more alarming. Most of the numbers above reflect a decrease in overall use and engagement. Branded engagement has decreased even further. This can be largely attributed to the above-mentioned algorithm changes at Facebook that are prioritizing personal content over the public.
What Can Brands do to Create Successful Content?
Knowing the above is true, brands face a new challenge. They must maximize the engagement they receive in order to get the most ROI out of their efforts. Here are seven strategies for doing just that.
1. Start with The Right Topics
There are no tricks or techniques that can replace simply offering up content on the right topics. You have to understand what interests your audience, the problems they are trying to solve, and the questions they are trying to answer. To do this, segment your audience accurately so that you can better reach them with targeted content. Then, use analytics data as part of an overall agile marketing effort in order to learn what content is getting the most engagement.
2. Use Trending Topics and Current Events
There’s a sweet spot in content where a trending topic is also relevant to your brand and audience. When that happens, take full advantage by creating content around that topic. Here are some things you can do to stay on top of what’s trending.
- Use keyword research sites like BuzzSumo and Ahrefs.
- Subscribe to headline aggregators.
- Participate in industry discussion groups.
- Subscribe to industry publications.
3. Be Responsive to Your Audience
Nobody is going to engage much with an empty room. Rather than simply publishing content, and moving on to the next thing, be responsive. Answer questions, thank followers for their feedback, and respond to other comments.
4. Give Loyal Fans and Enthusiasts Their Due
Loyal customers and brand ambassadors can certainly help you increase your social media reach, and bring audiences to your social media pages. In fact, you should maximize this by reaching out to these loyal followers. Ask your closest fans for brand mentions, or to share branded hashtags.
Next, return the favor. Give brand ambassadors and loyal fans mentions. Link to and share their content, respond to their posts and comments. You can even dedicate space to honoring your followers similarly to what Design Nominees has done on their site. This will establish a goodwill, and ensure they continue to help your brand grow on social media.
Source: Design Nominees
5. Curate Great Content
It can be difficult to present your audience with a steady stream of engaging content, while also taking care of the daily tasks of operating your business. Fortunately, you can increase your content output simply by finding and sharing great content from other sources. Content creation also widens the scope of your content offerings, keeping your audience more engaged.
Brian Dietz, a content writer at AllTopReviews.com says, “Just keep in mind that there’s more to curating than hitting the share button. Instead, give curated content your own spin. Always provide your audience with your opinion on the content, or some other commentary on its relevance.”
6. Tailor Content for Each Social Media Platform
You’ve probably heard some of the various tropes about different social media platforms. For example, Facebook is often seen as the platform for ‘boomers’ while Tumblr is the spot for anime loving Millennials. These tropes are divisive, and often used to slam people who fall into specific categories. On the other hand, there’s definitely truth to the notion that every social media platform appeals to a different demographic, and has developed its own personality of sorts. More importantly, each platform has its own set of written and unwritten rules.
In order to get the most engagement out of your content, you have to consider the platform on which you are publishing. Tailor your content so it is meaningful to that particular audience.
7. Spend Money to Increase Reach
Many brands use content marketing as a means to reach their audience without investing in traditional advertising efforts. Because of this, using paid advertising options can seem counter to the purpose of content marketing. Unfortunately oh, this may be a necessary evil.
Because of the algorithm changes that platforms like Facebook have made oh, it is increasingly difficult to reach audiences with organic posts. It may now be necessary to invest some of your marketing dollars in paid advertising like Facebook boosting on social media sites.
Use the techniques listed above to help counteract the impacts of lowered social media usage, as well as changing algorithms. It will take more of an effort than ever to continue engaging your target audience with your content. However, if you are able to do so the results are certainly worthwhile in terms of traffic, increasing reach, and conversions for your social media page or other business.
About the author: Daniela McVicker is a blogger with rich experience in writing about UX design, content planning, and digital marketing. Currently, she is the content editor at Top Writers Review where she reviews services like Trustmypaper and helps individuals and organizations improve their web content writing.