There’s a lot of pressure on social media marketing professionals to spark conversations online for the brands they handle.
After all, social media engagement is the key to boosting your brand’s reputation and presence online, as well as in strengthening your bond with your community.
If you’ve ever found yourself at a loss as to how you can instigate conversations on social media, don’t worry — I’ve prepared not one, not two, but 25 (yup, count ‘em, 25) ways for you to take that first step towards two-way social media communication. Check them out below:
25 Quickest Ways To Start a Conversation on Social Media
1. Craft engaging posts that are related to your industry
It’s reasonable to conclude that, since your fans are most likely the kind of people who are interested in the industry you’re a part of, any posts that would be helpful or relevant to them would spark discussion.
2. Ask random questions
Keep your audience on their toes with unexpected (but interesting!) questions. It helps, of course, if these questions were crafted to establish a point relevant to your industry or brand further into the conversation.
3. Discuss your hobbies or personal interests
Part of the point of engagement is to remind your followers that, just like them, you’re human, too — Human, and therefore, relatable. What better way is there to say “I feel you, bro/sis” than to show them that you’re into the same things they are (and are interested to hear about their hobbies, too)?
4. Provide assistance in whatever way you can
Ask questions for your fans and followers regarding their specific problems — not only will you get a boost in the number of people who respond to you, but you’ll also be able to help someone else solve their problem (and give them a reason to keep coming back to your page).
5. Post content regularly
Spark discussion by posting content based on your editorial calendar. This helps renew your followers’ interest in your brand while subsequently telling them “hey, I’m still alive!”
6. Participate actively in conversations
Don’t be afraid to join in, especially if you have something meaningful or relevant to contribute. Technically, it wasn’t waht started that conversation; however, play your cards right and it could very well be the leadup to the next one. And the one after that.
7. Participate strategically
Stay abreast of current events, especially the ones relevant to your brand or to your audience — and when you get the chance, try to integrate yourself into the discussion. Don’t force it, though! Newsjacking, especially when the news is just trending and not at all relevant to your brand, is frowned upon in general.
8. Be informative
Instruction guides that detail processes step-by-step (especially DIY series) are a big hit with netizens, and with good reason — in this day and age, there’s a prevalent notion that we all have the right materials and instruments at our disposal to do practically anything. This is your chance to show that you’re an expert worth listening to.
9. Suggest practical uses for your products
Good examples are recipes (if you’re in the food business) or craft projects (if you sell, say, art materials or pens). Provide value to your customers by adding value to your products.
10. Provide entertainment
The occasional funny meme or cat GIF won’t hurt you — try as much as possible to keep your content relevant to your brand, though!
11. Ask for consumer input
Think of simple and easy things that you’d like your audience to do with your products or services — it’s a way of keeping them engaged and getting more free marketing for your offerings.
12. Follow the thought leaders in your industry — and strike up conversations with them
No one was ever really hurt by tagging or mentioning fellow thought leaders on social media, after all. Besides, you might learn a thing or two from them — or even better, build a strong connection with them.
13. Add social media buttons on your website and blog
It may sound simple and obvious, but it still bears mentioning. Adding these buttons where people can see and click them is a great way to get them engaged immediately after they see your content
14. Read other blogs as well (and leave your comments there)
Share your thoughts on the topic and, if it’s worth crediting, give the blog the credit it rightly deserves. The action of interacting fans, followers or even influencers in their own domain can help build the relationship and increase the interaction between each other on your social platforms.
15. Share engagement from other people
If you notice a unique comment that really catches your attention (either on your blog or on your social media pages), take a screencap of it and share it with your audience. See if they agree with it and learn what they think about specific topics (and hey, it’s user-generated content, essentially, so that’s a plus, too).
16. Share a personal experience
Again, as long as it’s realistic, relevant and relatable, it’ll work for your brand.
17. Cite industry statistics
Appeal to the folks in your industry who are deeply invested in the field by sharing interesting or important facts and figures. This serves two purposes: to keep them informed and to position yourself as an up-to-date thought leader.
18. Share an image quote
An image quote is shareable AND relatable content, which will get your audience to not just post a comment about it, but also find other people to empathize with them by sharing it on their own feeds.
19. Give them the “inside scoop.”
[tweet_dis]Your fans are definitely going to love any information you can share about the industry[/tweet_dis], whether it’s little-known facts or effective and secret “life hacks.”
20. Run a quiz or a poll
[tweet_dis]People love expressing opinions, so give them a venue and a reason to do so[/tweet_dis]! It doesn’t even have to be a super-serious quiz or poll — something lighthearted such as asking about their favorite band or least favorite color is fine (as long as it relates to your brand in some way).
21. Talk to your audience - and when they respond, don’t leave them hanging for too long
Don’t forget that the point of having a conversation is to ensure that both parties are responding. If you don’t respond immediately, there’s a good chance that your audience will lose interest in talking to you. Respond as if you were in a real conversation: quickly, carefully, and sincerely.
22. Include images in your posts
Did you know that engagement on social media is significantly higher when there’s a picture or any piece of visual content attached to a specific post? When people see images or videos on your feed, they’re more likely to share their own thoughts via comments — and that’s where the conversation starts.
23. Share more about your favourite brands and services
Don’t be afraid to talk about where you shopped this afternoon or to let your followers see what you got this week. It helps strengthen the “human” image of your brand, plus it gives your favorite establishments some free publicity, too!
24. Share an interesting infographic
Infographics — such as this one I made, which contains a glossary of social media terms you definitely need to understand and learn — are great for both you and your audience. [tweet_dis]A good infographic keeps your audience informed and interested, and it keeps you visible[/tweet_dis] as it gets shared and commented on.
25. Be a source of news
Liz Azyan is interested in the ways new kinds of social data and technology introduce challenges and opportunities to society. Get involved with Liz’s latest project here.