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Written by Bonnie Clark
on October 04, 2016

3 people looking at tablet- JConnelly blog- tips to engage your audienceHashtag campaigns are some of the best ways brands can better engage with their fans and followers.  

Feel like you’re talking to a wall? If your social-media posts fail to get likes, comments, shares and retweets—you probably are.

But there is a way to tear down that wall.

Social media is like any other form of communication. It’s a dialogue. To get people to respond, you have to give them something worth listening to. That means focusing on quality over quantity.

According to Hubspot’s Social Media Benchmarks report, increasing the frequency of posts has “no discernable correlation” to the level of engagement. But you probably don’t need a report to tell you that. When that overly talkative colleague corners you in the kitchen, you make a beeline for the bathroom—you don’t give him even more ammunition.                                                                                                       

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to building engaged online communities and executing successful digital campaigns. But there are some tangible steps you can take to pique your followers’ interest and get them talking. Check out our top three recommendations:   

 

1. Hashtag It

Hashtags serve as effective marketing slogans. The best hashtag campaigns are clever, relevant and in keeping with a brand’s core message. Charmin’s #tweetfromtheseat campaign—which won numerous awards and accolades—was a tongue-in-cheek reference to a study showing a sizeable percentage of young people using social media from the porcelain throne. Above and beyond sheer marketing potential, hashtags are smart simply because they help users find you through a simple topic search. It’s a win-win. Hashtags help your current followers engage and they also bring new people in the mix. Score!

2. Picture This!

The proof is overwhelming: posts with photos and videos have much higher levels of engagement than those without. A report by Chute and Digiday found that visual content performs 4 times better than text-based posts alone. Tweets with visuals receive 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. But not all images are created equal. Stock photography is one of the worst performers (although it’s the most pervasive). The best visuals for engagement? Infographics—which are liked and shared 3 times more than other type of content.

3. Make it Relevant.

The best way to connect with an audience is to tap into something newsworthy—for example, a new blockbuster film, sporting event or holiday. One company that stands out is Esurance. Earlier this year, as part of the Super Bowl pregame show, Esurance aired a commercial asking viewers to tweet #esurancesweepstakes for a chance to win up to $1 million. The strategy—pairing a relevant news event with a contest— paid off, big time!  Immediately after the commercial aired, the Esurance hashtag showed up in 9,000 tweets per minute and it became a top-trending hashtag. Brands should consider the tone and tenor of the occasion before building a strategy around it. Never play cutesy with serious or solemn events (I’m not going to link to that atrocious mattress ad). Don’t. Do. It!

In the end, social media is a lot like mingling at a cocktail party. If you fall flat with one line of conversation, try something different. Once you understand what topics have the most resonance, you’ll have them eating out of the palm of your hand.

Time to Get Social

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