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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

15 smart social media strategies to increase audience engagement

These social media strategies can help your brand drive engagement that ultimately leads to a loyal following and more conversions from your online content.

15 smart social media strategies to increase audience engagement
Members of Fast Company Executive Board share their expert insights. [Image: Courtesy of the individual members.]

Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter allow businesses and leaders to connect to prospective customers with the tap of a button or two. But using social media well has become a skill that leaders need to learn to meaningfully engage with customers.

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It’s not enough to consistently post content; instead, your brand needs to take the time to respond to comments, create engaging posts that resonate with followers and learn more about the audience’s needs.

Here, 15 Fast Company Executive Board members explain the smartest ways to interact on social media to get the engagement you want. Follow their recommendations to drive more meaningful interactions with your online audience.

1. CREATE EMOTIONAL CONTENT.

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My personal formula is Visuals + Emotions = Engagement. If you touch your customers’ hearts, they will touch their wallets and support you. Corporate social media accounts have to walk the tightrope of advertising and accessibility. Consider why you go on Instagram, for example. You are not there to see advertisements, you’re there to browse your interests. – Brandon Pena, BrandON Media Group

2. ENGAGE WITH EMPATHY.

Remember there is always a human behind the profile. Engage in a personalized, empathetic and human way. Take the time to interact with them outside of just selling them. Also, make sure to drive consistency with the content you are sharing. – Kyle Lacy, Seismic

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3. SOLVE PROBLEMS.

Use social media to solve problems and pain points. Social media can unfortunately be used divisively. If you can use it to add value to other members of the social media community, that value will come back to your brand tenfold. Consider answering questions, pointing users to helpful articles or even directly solving problems through interactions on social media. – Tyrone Foster, InvestNet, LLC

4. STOP SELLING.

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Stop selling! Once you get this point out of your content and engagement plans it becomes obvious that focusing on what your audience needs and values is the only way forward. So listen first, observe and then provide them with the content they want. – Andrei Kasyanau, Glorium Technologies

5. SHARE YOUR AUTHENTIC STORY.

It is important to demonstrate that life is a real experience, which means there are ups and there also downs. The key when communicating with your audience is to be real and share how you learned from them all and present your learnings connected to your personal thought leadership. – Leigh Burgess, Bold Industries Group, Inc.

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6. BE INTUITIVE.

See what your audience responds to and explore that topic in more detail. Read the room: if you use all 2200 characters available on Instagram and don’t get much engagement, try keeping captions short. Tag (but don’t over-tag) people. Ask questions. Still, the best “technique” is to just be yourself, show your vulnerability and not just the strong front. – Anna David, Legacy Launch Pad

7. ASK YOUR AUDIENCE QUESTIONS.

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Ask a question in your posts. Ask your audience to engage or participate in some way. People will generally only take action if you ask them to take action. – Laura Kerbyson, Laura Kerbyson Design Company

8. HAVE A CLEAR GOAL.

Make sure you have a clear goal in mind before you start posting content on social media. What do you want to achieve? How will it help your business? Consider using a growth hacking tool that can help you schedule posts across multiple platforms and track their performance. This will also allow you to measure the success of each post so that you can make adjustments accordingly. – Kristin Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

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9. MAKE POSTS RELATABLE.

Create a “day in the life” scenario. Make the social post relatable to them. Spend less time on your own company and more about the business problem or outcome they are trying to solve. Create dynamic and digital content that delivers consequential and benefit statements that increase the value being delivered. – Craig Jones, StarCompliance

10. SPARK CURIOSITY.

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Focus on the value you can deliver to your audience, which can vary from education to entertainment. Make the audience the hero, not your company. If they can walk away with an inspiration, a smile, or a tip that they can use to enhance their lives or their business, then they will remain curious about your next posts and it will fuel brand attachment while creating a strong community. – Andreea Vanacker, SPARKX5

11. SPEAK TO WHAT YOU KNOW.

Be yourself and don’t overthink it. Don’t be afraid to break away from the curated content and script of popular topics and show your audience the real you. Speak about topics you’re knowledgeable about and passionate about without having an underlying agenda. Bring thought leadership into your content to inspire and engage your audience. – Amanda Dorenberg, COMMBANK

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12. CURATE VALUE-FOCUSED COMMUNICATION.

Step away from calculated tactics and meaningfully engage (read: a pure, social approach to social media). I consider the brands that have created a lasting “hook” for me personally, and a roadmap of successful interaction becomes clear. Unapologetic, value-focused communication is magnetic, whereas cold impersonality doesn’t break someone’s scroll. – Katelynn Minott, Bright!Tax U.S. Expat Tax Services

13. INTERACT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE.

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You can do this in many ways, whether it’s through sharing social posts to spark conversation and engaging in the comments, or tagging a business partner on a social post to recommend them. You could even answer questions that potential customers may have. Doing these things is important to improve your brand credibility and increase your audience engagement. – John Hall, Calendar

14. COMMUNICATE CONSISTENTLY.

Social media performs better when a brand’s communications are consistent. Post with a standard pacing every day or every few days. Always respond to users’ comments inside posts. This way the platforms will reward you with more organic reach. – Robert Brill, Brill Media

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15. DEMONSTRATE TRANSPARENCY.

Be transparent! In our world today, “audiences” are looking for transparent and authentic companies and leaders. If you are not willing to do that, I don’t see how you will be able to stay in business. – Shawn Nason, MOFI

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