Even though social media has been around in various platforms and formats since the early 2000s, it still remains a mystery to many business owners. Some feel that social media isn’t for them. (To be clear, in 2021, there is value for every business to be on at least one social media platform, save for an extremely small percentage.)

Other business owners see the value of being on social media, but may not understand which social media platforms they should use, how they should speak to their audience, or how they should measure success. 

How you measure success on social media is important, because focusing on the wrong indicators of success can leave you with a false sense of security. You may be thinking that you are doing things right but realize months later that your social media efforts are not yielding the leads you were expecting. 

One common false indicator of success is likes. Just about every social media platform allows its users to show approval for a posting by “liking” it. If you get a lot of likes, you might think that your social media efforts are succeeding; and, to a certain extent ,they are. 

However, if your audience is not doing anything beyond liking a post, then you are not succeeding on social media. After all, you cannot pay your bills or employees in likes. 

The true marker of success is “engagement,” under which there are several factors. Likes are one of those indicators, as are shares, comments, and click-throughs. If you can get the people who are following you to not just like your content, but share it to their followers, give feedback, or potentially click and take a desired action, then you are in prime position to generate leads and be successful on social media. 

So, how do you move past likes and into deeper forms of engagement? 

Let’s take a look.

Make Sure Your Content is Relevant

For your audience to be engaged in your marketing content on any level, it has to be relevant to them and their needs. Otherwise, why should they even care? If your content is not relevant you will not even generate likes. 

To create relevant marketing content, work to understand the needs of your target audience. Take time to learn their pain points—the things that keep them up at night. Once you identify what those pain points are, you will be able to create content that speaks to those needs and position your organization as the answer. 

Experiment with Different Formats

Publish content in different formats. This can include blogs, emails, short videos, long videos, gifs, podcasts, Facebook/Instagram stories, infographics, etc. You can even try publishing resources like ebooks or checklists. 

The key is to prevent your content from getting stale. By consistently posting the same type of content in the same format, you run the risk of your audience tuning you out. It may sound strange, but you want to keep your followers engaged by keeping them on their toes a bit. 

Have Fun

Many businesses forget that social media platforms were created for users to have fun. While social media is a great way to share the message of your business, if all you do is sell, people will start to ignore you very quickly. 

Have fun by asking people to rank their favorite sports mascots or to share their favorite flavor of ice cream (cookies and cream in case you are wondering). Create fun polls centered around your products, share something funny, or figure out other ways to get your audience involved. 

Sales and leads will come naturally to you if the people following you are also having fun. 

Let Your Audience Peek Behind the Logo

Another way to have fun is to let your audience see the people behind the logo. Social media is a great opportunity to let the personality of your business and your employees shine a bit. 

Go behind the scenes to show your audience how hard your employees work. You can even feature an employee of the week or month so your customers can better know the people who are helping. This is a great way to build trust and loyalty. 

Engagement is a Two-Way Street

It is important to remember that engagement is a two-way street. If your audience comments on your posts or asks questions, do what you can to answer in a timely manner. Encourage more questions and comments. Create polls and quizzes that will help you better understand who your best customers are, their pain points, and how you can address them. 

It is another great way to build trust and loyalty. 

While it feels good to see a post generate a lot of likes, it is important to remember that those likes do not hold any tangible value. If you really want to be successful on social media, your goal should be to earn engagement in all its forms. 

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