When engaging with consumers online, do you ever feel like you’re talking to a wall?
If your social media posts fail to get “likes,” comments, shares and retweets—you probably are.
Don’t fret, though; there is a way to tear down that wall.
Social media is a dialogue—and successful social media managers treat all their interactions as such. To get people to respond, you must give them something worth listening to. Focus on quality, not quantity.
Hubspot’s Social Media Benchmarks report says increasing the frequency of your posts has “no discernable correlation” to the level of engagement you receive.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to building engaged online communities and executing successful digital campaigns. There are, however, some tangible steps you can take to pique your followers’ interests and get them talking. Here are three keys to note:
1. Use hashtags.
Hashtags can serve as effective marketing slogans. The best hashtag campaigns are clever and relevant, and they deliver a brand’s core message. Using hashtags helps new users find you through a simple topic search. They also encourage current followers to continue to engage.
2. Add visuals.
Posts with photos and videos have much higher levels of engagement than those that do not. A report by Chute and Digiday found that visual content performs four times better than text-based posts. Tweets with visuals receive roughly 90 percent more favorites and 150 percent more retweets.
Not all images are created equally, though. Stock photography is one of the worst performers. The best visuals for engagement? Infographics , which are “liked” and shared more than any type of content.
3. Make your content pertinent.
The best way to connect with an audience is to tap into something newsworthy. Consider using a new blockbuster film, sporting event or holiday to spark interest. Esurance exemplified that strategy with last year’s Super Bowl pregame show. Esurance aired a commercial asking viewers to tweet #esurancesweepstakes for a chance to win prize money. The strategy—pairing a relevant news event with a giveaway—paid off. Immediately after the commercial aired, the Esurance hashtag showed up in 9,000 tweets per minute and it became a top-trending hashtag.
Managing social media is similar to mingling at a cocktail party. If you fall flat with one line of conversation, try something different. Once you understand which topics have the most resonance, your audience will adore you.
Bonnie Clark is the communications director at JConnelly, a communications and marketing agency based in New York. A version of this article first appeared on JConnelly’s blog.