Engaging with your audience has always been important. As a professional athlete, you can connect with them both on- and offline. Today we will focus on the online aspect of engagement. We will talk about the importance of engaging with your audience and how you can increase that engagement.
What is social media engagement? Social media engagement is how your audience interacts with you. Social media offers a lot of opportunities to connect with your followers and fans in a two-way-street manner.
Engagement includes likes, comments, mentions, shares, messages, poll reactions, and more.
Why is engagement important? Engagement plays a significant role in the social media algorithms. Every social media channel has its own algorithm that is created to deliver content to its users. Every algorithm is different and it changes all the time, but the importance of engagement is a constant factor.
The more people interact with your post, the more likely your content is shown in people’s newsfeed. This makes sense. If no-one likes your post, social media channels will conclude that no-one is interested in your content, so why should they show it to more people? Their goal is to share as much likable content as possible to keep people on their platforms. If your posts receive more engagement, the platform will be more interested in sharing your content to the world and prioritize it over others.
It also increases fan loyalty. As a player, you might have fans that start following you because you play at a certain club. But what happens when you make a transfer? Do these fans continue following you or not? Increasing your engagement means you increase the relationship you have with your audience. The more they feel connected to you, the higher the probability of them staying loyal to you throughout your career.
6 ways to increase engagement on social media
1. Be authentic
What makes you different from other players? When people scroll down their timeline, you have approximately 3 seconds to catch someones attention. Especially when your audience follow more players and their timeline is full of football pictures. So what makes you stand out from the crowd?
The first sentence and the picture you use are very important. This is the first thing people see when they scroll through their feed and need to catch the eye. So be bold, be authentic and use emoji's to catch the attention of your audience.
2. Go for proactive engagement
Just posting a picture and hoping that people will leave a comment is not enough. You have to be proactive. This means that you have to comment on posts of others and start conversations. It helps you to be more visible and increase your reach. When you leave a comment on a post of a friend of yours, or someone you don't know, your name will be seen by everyone else that sees that picture. The better the comment, the more people see it and the more responses you might get on that particular comment.
But it also helps to build new relationships. If you comment on posts, video's or stories of others on a regular basis, they will start to recognise you, follow you back, and comment on your posts.
3. Respond to followers
When followers respond to you and your content, the social media channels will already see your content as interesting and valuable. But if you respond to their comments in return, you increase the amount of comments and your total engagement - which leads to becoming even more valuable.
Besides the fact that this helps the algorithm, it is also very important to build stronger relationships with your followers.
People appreciate it when you take the time to respond to their messages. By doing so, you create an image of yourself being nice and approachable instead of being distant. Your followers will feel more connected to you and will become more loyal over time.
4. Share engaging content
By creating content people want to interact with, you increase your overall engagement.
Some people like to leave comments on posts and messages, but the caption or article does not always make it easy to come up with something. Therefore it is important to make sure that people can leave a comment on your post, which is different from just an emoticon. A good way to do this, is to ask a question at the end of your post.
Another way to increase the interaction is by using interactive tools. Instagram offers the option to use polls, questions and emoticon buttons to motivate people to interact with you. Also LinkedIn offers the option to use a poll in your posts, and makes it easier for people to engage with you.
5. Know your audience.
Knowing your audience will help you to understand them. It tells you what social media channels they are on, when it is the best time to publish, what kind of content you want to share and what voice you want to use to connect with them.
6. Get more followers
The more followers you have, the more people will see your content and can engage with it. Social media engagement can be a numbers game and the bigger your audience, the more likely you will have a higher level of engagement. A very important note here is that your followers have to be quality followers. Some people think about buying followers or getting new ones via partnerships with a very different audience. This will NOT help you grow. These followers are fake or not the audience that will interact with your posts. It is better to have less followers, who are loyal to you and engage with your content, than a lot of followers but almost no interaction.