We Love to Share, So Increasing Social Media Engagement is Easy as Pie.

When I was a kid, I hardly spoke, ever. I didn’t like to say anything unless I had something to say. This brought on a lot of worried comments by teachers and relatives that thought there was something wrong with me. The loud, class clowns in my school were praised as “big characters”. I got the message that in order to have a personality and be likeable I must speak as much as possible.

So I made my best attempt at just saying stuff to people, even if I didn’t really think it was necessary. I’d try talking and talking just to fill air. I thought that’s what people wanted. I noticed that anyone who got anywhere, politicians, activists, celebrities, all liked to talk a lot.

As an adult, I began to read a lot of self-development books such as How to Win Friends and Influence People. It occurred to me that my teachers were wrong. It isn’t being loud and ballsy that makes someone likeable, it’s about how you make another person feel. And most people feel good when talking about themselves. You can easily get someone to like you, by listening to them. Really listening and asking them open-ended questions. That’s fine with me as I find people extremely interesting and spend most of my free time reading about why they do the things they do.


People get a dopamine hit when they share information about themselves.


When we share information about ourselves, our brain’s reward centres are activated. It makes us feel as good as eating something nice or having sex. In a research study by Diana Tamir at Harvard University, it was found that the research participants preferred to share information about themselves than take money.

So people love to talk about themselves and share on their social media, and this generates feelings that are as powerful as a good meal or a good blow job. This is why social media is so addictive. When we talk about how we feel, and we are validated with likes, retweets and supportive comments, it makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Pretty useful for marketers to know.

Look around on your social media and pay attention to what people are posting or sharing. You’ll find lots of nostalgia, lots of complaining. Lots of showing off about kids, weddings or pets, survey results of which Game of Thrones character we are the most like and even, IQ test results. When we share other peoples content we still get our sharing fix. “This is something I agree with, this is something I struggle with, this is something I already knew, I feel like this too.”


Social media is not purely a publishing tool.


When businesses move into the world of social media, I sense that they feel the same pressure to just talk that I did when I was a kid. Everyone else is out there talking about their awards, being funny and doing videos from their car. I should be doing that too. When in fact, we need to be developing empathy for our customer. Even if you make no posts at all, you can still have a successful social media strategy by identifying your potential customer, listening to them, empathising with them and validating them by responding to the content that they are sharing. If people see you are a person who listens, they are more likely to want to share with you and engage with you.


Case studies


Accessibility for people with disabilities.


One of my clients makes a technology that allows disabled people to access services more easily. Without this technology, simple things like going to the shops or to a bank can become impossible for them. And the worst part is – most businesses do not have this technology in place. My clients end users are a small group of fatigued, isolated and extremely frustrated individuals.

The previous social media agency had a strategy of talking about the features of the product, but I decided to focus more on the emotions of the end user. Instead of the content being ignored, we started to get retweets, likes and comments on the posts. A few people began to tag us into other conversations, seeing the business as an authority on matters concerning accessibility. Within 3 months we had a 233% increase in Twitter engagement.


Global food brand.


I was approached by a design agency who were creating content for a global food brand. The content was perfect, but the numbers were stagnant. It was clear to me from the beginning that while the content was good, the brand weren’t engaging with customer comments. I decided that it was necessary to not only reply to comments, but to engage with other peoples profiles and really show interest in what they were eating, cooking and enjoying.

Within a month, the accounts got over 200 new followers on each profile. With a 490% increase in Twitter engagement and a 42% increase in Facebook engagement. And best of all, we’ve been tagged in 8 Instagram posts from users showing how they use our ingredient in their recipes. This gives us extra content to post about ourselves.

The only thing that was required to get this account to take off was showing people that we care about their enjoyment of the product, and we are prepared to listen.


How to maximise your social media engagement:


  • Take a long hard think about your customer. Try and walk in their shoes and empathise with them as much as possible. Social Bakers have a great tool for creating a social media buyers profile. Link.
  • Think about what kind of content your customer would find useful, rather than what information you would like to share about your business.
  • Understand what emotions your customers are feeling. What content can you create that depicts this and will encourage them to reshare?
  • Reply to all your comments and messages. If someone is engaging heavily with your profile, return the favour. What your potential customer has to say is much more important than what you have to say. You’d recognise this in a sales meeting, so treat your social media accounts like real life.
  • Develop a clear tone of voice for your social media. Your social media is the voice of your business and is as important as any other form of copy.
  • Measure your engagement rate each month and on each post. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have detailed analytics that can help you find out what works and what doesn’t.
  • Genuinely have an interest in other people and a passion for watching, listening to and analysing others. It’s fun! I promise.


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