Social Media Engagement Strategies That Work (And plenty that don’t)

Let’s dive in and demystify social media. You’re posting regularly. You’re “liking” and “sharing” content. You might even be dabbling with TikTok videos. But if it’s not generating leads for your business, what’s it doing?

More importantly, business leaders should think about what they want their social media to do for their bottom line. Branding is necessary but harder to measure than marketing. Marketing is measurable but doesn’t always result in sales. And the yardsticks you use to measure all your efforts can be deceiving.

So, what social media strategies actually work in today’s market for driving sales? And which techniques and trends aren’t going to generate bottom-line results?

Keep reading. We’ll shed some valuable social media strategy light on what works and what doesn’t.

Choosing the Right Social Channels and Strategies

Before you make any changes to your current strategy, take a look at what social channels you’re using. There are slews of options, and you may be tempted to try and represent your businessFree Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash across all of them. But you don’t have to use them all. And you don’t want to try and manage five social pages and profiles when you can achieve the same results and more with two.

In order to determine which social media channels your business should be using, consider your ideal customer. Use your buyer personas to help you determine what your core audience looks like, how they behave, and what they prefer. You can then decide which social media channels they use most to make purchasing decisions and communicate. Those are the social platforms you should focus on using and leveraging. And when you can precisely select the social media tools that speak to your best audience, you can then begin to carve out strategies for each that, upon execution, drive results.

The ‘What Do You Think’ Strategy

It doesn’t matter what social media platform you’re using, from Facebook and Instagram to TikTok and LinkedIn; when you ask your audience what they think, people will respond. When you’re able to scratch a topic that resonates with people, they’re going to tell you what they think. And it’s a great strategy to incorporate into your social marketing plans.

Here’s what HubSpot suggests as examples of the “what do you think” strategy:

  • Ask for an opinion on something, probing their personalities.
  • Play the irresistible “test your knowledge” type of game with your posts.
  • Publish a poll or a survey about something easy yet meaningful.
  • Just ask whatever questions seem fun, relevant, and engaging.

Get Your Social Media Audience Talking About You

Another social media marketing strategy that works well across all channels involves encouraging your audience to talk about you. In addition to the aforementioned methods of talking with you, look to post content that inspires your audience to share your posts or media with others in their circles. When you get people buzzing about your brand, you can gain some viral traction with your posts. Here are a few examples of this:

  • Hashtags connect like-minded people and trending conversations. Use them!
  • Use social media contests or queries that prompt your audience to upload pics or videos.
  • Rally up some reviews by sharing and asking others to share positive engagements.
  • Post employee or customer spotlights, promoting great experiences.
  • Company announcements, new products/services, and news are always shareable.

Incentives, Competitions, and Gamification Work

If you really want to get your brand rally going on social media, tap into games. People love to play games, and they especially love to win things. You can use that to your advantage by creating trivia or contests. And with each winner, even the smallest rewards can give you brand mileage with additional shares, likes, and retweets. Additionally, some of the best contests are those that involve giving back to the community or supporting a local charity. So, get your audience involved and give back, all while promoting your business. It’s a win, win, win!

Social Media Is Perfect for Special Offers

Don’t over-stimulate your social media channels. Your clients will burn out from too many games, and incentives can lose their luster if you saturate with them. So, add another type of post to your social strategy specifically to promote special offers. These are short, vibrant posts that ask your audience to do something, usually clicking a link or buying. Here are some offers that make for great social media content:

  • Instant discounts or coupons
  • Seasonal or holiday-related promotions
  • Memberships or subscription deals
  • Free shipping or value-adds

Here’s the other thing. Try not to promote the same special too often. A “special” that happens all the time no longer remains “special.” Change things up and experiment with various perks and deals to see which generates more social media engagement. Remember to follow these tips when creating your offers, too:

  • Make your discounts valuable (free or 20% off are great)
  • Choose an engaging image or video asset to go with your offer
  • Put a timeframe on your offer (FOMO)

Social Media as a Lead Magnet

When you dangle the carrot, you can lead the horse to water without force. The same principle applies to your prospects on social media. You don’t have to come at them with a hard-sale offer. And while you can get conversions on social, these platforms are better used as lead magnets. Promote content that sparks attention, inspires interest, and moves potential prospects further down your sales funnel.

Instead of direct conversion efforts, use your social media as a channel for dangling carrots that lead your prospects to take one step closer to a sale. Making your engagements useful to them, for example, with a guide or a free tool or valuable information, they’ll consume it. And they’ll be positioned in a more favorable decision to take the next step, which might be signing up for your newsletter. From there, they’re two steps closer to becoming a customer and buying.

The top two reasons anyone will ever take the carrot are:

  1. You’re educating them
  2. You’re authentically engaging them

So, use other marketing tools in your arsenal, including blog posts, videos, tutorials, behind-the-scenes, infographics, webinars, and downloadable assets on your social media channels as valuable content. And then track the metrics for these lead magnets to see which are more effective at engaging and moving prospects further toward purchasing.

Social Media Mistakes to Avoid (These Are NOT Working for Your Business)

Now that you have some fresh ideas for what you should be doing with social media, it’s important to address some of the social mistakes you might be making. There are obvious mistakes, like posting with poor grammar, sharing overly-politicized content, or losing your cool in a post. However, you can also make yourself a “not to do” list, including these other mistakes, to use as a guide before you implement any new strategies.

Being Post-Happy Isn’t Going to Cut It

Being an aggressive poster on social media isn’t going to make you land clients faster. And always talking about your business isn’t going to cut it either. In fact, it can drive the opposite effect. So, find a consistent frequency you can stick to and make every post in your schedule count. And remember to incorporate content that is relevant to them, not just your brand or offer. Once per day works effectively for LinkedIn. With Twitter, you can do two to five tweets daily. Facebook can be daily, with no more than three posts every day. And Instagram is just fine with a weekly posting schedule. Whatever you decide, channel or frequency-wise, stick to it. And as long as you keep the content dynamic, interesting, and varied, you can increase frequency as you see fit.

Trying to Sell to Everyone

Remember, your social media channels are intended to connect your brand to your target audience. And while everyone’s on social media these days, not everyone is going to be in your wheelhouse. Don’t put lofty expectations of results on social, especially through the lens of trying to sell to everyone. Not everyone out there scrolling is going to be interested in what your brand has to offer, say, or sell. Be specific about defining the targets for each social platform you use. And when you do engage, speak to those captive personas about their unique problems. You can use your content to educate, convince, and convert those within those buyers’ markets. For example, if your business sells windows, you aren’t going to win any sales among people who rent. In this instance, all your posts should address and cater to homeowners.

Ignoring Conversations or Mentions

Another mistake you might be making is avoidance. When you do finally connect with your audience, and they take the time to mention your brand or connect with you directly, you should respond. That’s the point of engagement – engaging. Make sure you have a process in place, whether it’s you or someone on your marketing team, to manage responses to questions, tags, and mentions. If you ignore your comments, you’ll be setting the expectation with them and everyone else watching that you don’t care enough to respond.

Negative comments deserve attention, too. Ignoring them will only hurt your brand. Responding unprofessionally will only hurt your brand even worse. Consider creating a response plan for how you will respond to critical remarks or disparaging comments. Keep it light, polite, and friendly every time.

Monitor your threads, too. What you start as an innocent or benign post could get derailed if others begin bickering amongst each other. Have moderators keep an eye out for unsavory directions your people might take the conversation. Bad publicity on your post or page, even if it’s not you, can make your company look bad.

Automating Too Much

Automation is amazing for business, especially when it comes to posting and managing your social strategies. But, like with anything, too much of a good thing can be bad. And if you’re relying on automation or AI too much, your audience will sense it and disconnect. There still needs to be a personalization element to your engagement strategy. There needs to be thought before you can offer thought leadership. And finding that healthy balance between automation and customization that will allow your social media results to be great.

Treating All Your Social Media Channels the Same

Each social media platform has its own superpower of engagement. You’ll be making a mistake if you’re posting the same exact content on all your platforms all the time. Learn the “language” and purpose of each platform you’re using so you can maximize its reach and engagement superpower.

Here’s a helpful breakdown:

Facebook: Great for engaging conversation and rolling out updates.

  • Example: “I like cheese.”

Twitter: Great for news and customer-facing questions. The fastest outlet for real-time engagement.

  • Example: “I’m eating cheese right now.”

Pinterest: The third largest networking social site, perfect for spreading visual assets and content.

  • Example: “See how beautifully arranged my cheese is.”

LinkedIn: Great for networking in a more professional arena. Discuss trends and promote thought-leadership content here.

  • Example: “My skills include quality cheese-eating.”

YouTube: Great for tutorials, behind-the-scenes, and FAQ video engagement.

  • Example: “Watch me make, present, and eat cheese.”

Instagram: Photo and video dominant, great for engaging visual content conversions and brand awareness.

  • Example: “Look at my cheese.”

TikTok: Get in on the latest trends using hashtags and authentically created video content that supports your image.

  • Example: “I’m going to party over here, eating my cheese that’s bringing me joy.”


Because every business is different, every social media marketing plan will be different. However, if you’re able to tap into these few strategies that work well, along with avoiding the common mistakes that don’t work, you can set yourself up for engagement success.

And remember, whenever you need brilliant content for any of your social media platforms, the team of wordsmiths at Ghost Blog Writers is standing by, ready to create messaging that resonates! Contact us and share your social strategies. We’ll help you devise a plan that drives results across every channel!

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