An oft-repeated mantra throughout social media is to constantly focus on ‘maximizing engagement’. Engage with your community on Twitter, set up alerts to ensure you don’t miss an opportunity to engage, always respond to comments on your blog…you get the picture.

The problem is these same articles don’t delve too deeply into ‘how’ to actually increase your engagement levels. It does take work to maximize engagement; it’s not something that just happens by accident.

If you’re like me you’re probably hard pressed for time and can’t devote hours on end to tracking conversations and following up with comment threads, etc. Let’s get right to it!

3 Weapons to Maximize Engagement

  1. Facebook Groups -

    Facebook Groups are becoming the best thing on Facebook for marketers. Organic reach is down. Pay-to-play is quickly becoming the only way to reach a large portion of your audience.

    My advice? Carefully select a few Facebook Groups in your target niche. Certain groups may be free to join while others require approval from an administrator. Once you get approved or have access to the group you will be unlocking a side of Facebook that’s rarely seen. Engagement is through the roof!

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    Posts will frequently have more comments than likes. Questions are answered intelligently with insights you wouldn’t find elsewhere on FB. Integrate yourself into the group. Answer questions. Provide value. Ask thought provoking questions.

    Increase your influence and start to reap the rewards in the form of increased traffic and comments on your blog. If you’re allowed to share posts on occasion make the most of the opportunity by offering up your most helpful articles. Follow this blueprint and you’ll be well on your way to having a built-in and highly engaged audience in a short amount of time.

    Potential Engagement: A
    Timeframe: B+

  2. LinkedIn Groups -

    LinkedIn Groups have been popular for years and continue to provide value for those that utilize them properly. Much like Facebook Groups you have to insert yourself into the conversation.

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    If you’re new to groups, start small by answering questions and helping others in the group. Offer advice or links. DON’T SPAM the group! Remember the majority of the platform are professionals gathered in one place to engage, not bombard each other with petty agendas and self-serving link bait. Your goal is to be seen as an influencer and to come off as an expert in your field.

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    Comment threads are capable of running for dozens of pages, but don’t let that intimidate you. With all the connections floating around in whatever field and group applies to you, it’s possible that a new lead or potential employer could like what they see and reach out to you to further the conversation.

    Potential Engagement: B
    Timeframe: B-

  3. Google+ Communities -

    Always the darkhorse, never the horse…G+ communities are an invaluable resource for anyone using the platform. If you’re just starting out on Google+, communities can be your best friend.

    Search your field of interest and start to join the already existing communities that look like they have the most potential or the highest number of users. Much like Facebook Groups you have a 50/50 chance to join freely or request admission into a group.

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    Certain communities on G+ are moderated with an extremely heavy hand. Pay close attention to the rules and regulations as each community will vary. Once you’re familiar with the format and start to post your material within the communities you might find some interesting occurrences.

    For starters, Google+ content tends to have a longer tail then other platforms. New content on Facebook gets consumed immediately and then falls to zero in a day or two. Comments and +1’s on Google+ might happen quickly or (most likely) steadily over time.

    My best explanation for this is that users sign in on an infrequent basis to browse the latest content on G+ and as a result posts don’t get as much instant exposure. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because once engagement is achieved it’s generally high quality, but it does change the perspective of how to use and what to expect with G+ communities.

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    Certain users will share the same blog post in numerous communities that center around a common theme (social media) knowing that it’s easier to set it and forget it then to worry about their post being lost in the shuffle. It places less of an emphasis on the ‘correct time of day’ to post because your engagement may happen at any point regardless of the day or hour it was posted.

    Potential Engagement: B
    Timeframe: B+

Don’t forget to set notifications for each platform so that you can interject yourself into any conversations surrounding your content or a certain topical conversation thread. That will go a long way in reducing the amount of time spent checking and monitoring your platforms of choice.

Always provide value and never post randomly or without a purpose. If you want engagement you’re going to have to give to others before those users reciprocate the favor. If you like a post then comment on it. Give somebody a virtual high five or compliment — it goes a long way to strengthening your engagement and most users will acknowledge your goodwill.