How to Increase Engagement on Social Media in 2021

by Karen Vela  |   |  Strategy Facebook & Instagram  |  2 comments

4 min to read ✭ In this post, you’ll learn about a few proven methods to help increase your engagement across social channels this year.

Social media algorithms change so frequently that it can be challenging to keep up with the best methods to boost your nonprofit’s engagement on social media. Before we spill some of our best practices, keep in mind that building engagement takes lots and lots of CONSISTENCY and TIME. Growing and increasing engagement on social media is a long-term process and will not happen overnight. Start implementing some of these tips to take a step towards positive results!


Learn More On How To Engage Audiences on Social Media!


Social Media Engagement


The engagement you receive across social channels can be a direct correlation to how your audience is perceiving your brand. Figuring out what type of content resonates with your audience can be a bit of trial and error, so it’s important to be tracking and analyzing your engagement metrics. This will allow you to learn what is working and what might not be working. There are many accessible and affordable tools to track your engagement metrics such as HubSpot, Hootsuite, Later, SproutSocial, and more. While these tips tend to be “universal” some may work better than others for you and your brand.


7 Tips to Improve Your Social Media Engagement


1. Create more video content


Video is the hottest thing since sliced bread! Your organization should be prioritizing and producing video content on a regular basis. At this point, almost every social network’s algorithm favors video or has a new feature out that displays video primarily. It’s everywhere, and it’s in the users’ faces almost constantly in the form of Posts, Stories, Reels, TikToks, IGTV, Fleets (Twitter Stories), YouTube Shorts, and more. Remember, video does not always have to be a time-consuming, perfectly produced product. Taking videos with your phone works great for many of these platforms! 


2. Post at an optimal time


Focus on posting your content to social media when your target audience is online. This can be determined by using a third-party analytics tool like HubSpot or Hootsuite, or through the social network’s provided analytics tab. This tip might cause your social media manager to be working odd hours, so be prepared by planning out your content in advance, or using a scheduling tool that will post for you. If you have followers in different time zones, keep that in mind as you choose times that will get your content in front of the largest audience. 


3. Start a conversation


It’s called “social” media for a reason, right? Be social with your audience and start a conversation with them. Their responses, comments, and interactions will drive your engagement up. A couple of ways to start a conversation include utilizing polls, using a question box sticker on Instagram stories, asking a “would you rather” question, playing a game of “this or that?”, asking your audience to caption a photo, or asking your audience to make a guess on something. There are so many different things you could ask your audience!


4. Create valuable content


Create content your audience wants to save, share, watch, and re-read. Sharable content tends to be something that resonates with the viewer that they feel their friends or colleagues should also see. This could be something educational like statistics about your cause, something inspirational, or something that gives good news. These types of content should look professional, clean, and easy to read. Another type of content that tends to be very savable is something that teaches the viewer how to do something or serves as a resource on a topic they don’t want to forget.


5. Be authentic and real


Be authentic. Be real. Be humorous too! People love connecting with other people. Show your audience that there’s a real human behind your brand by being open, honest, and more vulnerable. Instead of only sharing the scripted highlights, show some of the challenges and struggles that come along with the wins—the highs and the lows. Don’t be afraid to add some humor in there every once in a while. Using humor can help your brand seem more authentic and human, plus everyone appreciates a good meme, a spin on pop culture, a joke, or something light and relatable from time to time.  Try using longer captions on your posts to tell a story about a struggle or a triumph. Utilize your Instagram story to share something trending in internet culture and write your own meme caption for it that pertains to your organization.


6. Use hashtags and alt text


Bet you’ve heard this one before! Hashtags are still a major player in the game of social media. Add some hashtags to your posts that are relevant to your industry and specific to the post itself. Try to choose ones that aren’t already associated with millions of other posts—ones that are used less give your post a better chance of gaining visibility. Track your hashtags with a third-party tool that will provide insight on which hashtags performed the best. From there, you can develop a hashtag strategy backed by data that works! 

Alt-text is essentially a description of what your image is showing, and has been added to some social media platforms for accessibility purposes. It also works like SEO because social media has become a search engine itself. Search engines use alt text to display what the user is searching for, which is an opportunity to be discovered. When writing your alt text, be as specific as you can about what is in the image, and try to keep it to about 125 characters.


7. Don’t be afraid to try new things


Like most things in marketing, social media success involves a lot of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to try new things! The only way to truly discover what your audience engages with the most is to try posting different types of content with different forms of media, different hashtags, and at different times. Figure out what works for your organization and what doesn’t. As previously mentioned, make sure you are tracking all of this data!

Karen Vela


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