Increasing consumer engagement through social media

By Donna Eastlake

- Last updated on GMT

Increasing consumer engagement through social media. GettyImages/Urupong
Increasing consumer engagement through social media. GettyImages/Urupong

Related tags Consumer Social media Marketing Advertising Instagram Tik Tok Twitter

Whether you’re a start-up or a long-established brand, continued consumer awareness and interest is fundamental to achieving success in the global marketplace. So how can you use social media to do this?

Social media is a modern-day marketing phenomena. From influencers​ posting sponsored YouTube videos out of their own homes, to billion-dollar companies launching new products to their social subscribers first, the power of social media is undeniable. So what's the secret to social media success?

Social media is on the up and up

According to digital marketing firm, Smart Insights, 5.04 billion people around the world now use social media, with 266 million new users having joined within the last year alone. Furthermore, the average amount of time spent using social media is 2 hours and 23m per day. This represents a huge opportunity for brands to get their products and services in front of consumers and boost company profile.

Social media is constantly growing and evolving. Trends emerge, spread like wildfire and then disappear into obscurity. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Or the endless re-enactments of Anna Kendrick’s ‘Cups’ song..? Yep, that’s right, they’re yesterday’s news.

“It’s really hard to keep track of the pace that social media changes,” said Alison Battisby, founder of marketing company Avocado Social, at IFE 2024.

However, there are certain tips and tricks which are less transient and will help to raise brand awareness and encourage consumer engagement.

Social Media - GettyImages-gorodenkoff
Increasing consumer engagement through social media. GettyImages/gorodenkoff

Help people find you with social SEO

Social search engine optimisation (SEO), is all about making sure your product or brand shows up in the search results of a social media platform search, carried out by a consumer, retailer, manufacturer or supplier.

“Traditionally when we think about SEO, we think about Google,” explains Battisby. “But actually this is moving over into the social platforms. More and more people are using social media platforms to search for inspiration and those social media platforms are changing the way in which they’re built so that they can begin to show users the results that they want to see.”

Moreover, Google's own research has found that nearly 40% of Gen Z consumers now prefer using TikTok and Instagram, to search for products and services, over Google. These users will become more valuable to brands as their expendable income grows in the coming decades so capturing their attention now is hugely valuable.

“Social media platforms are now looking at the words you use in your captions and the words you use in your content. So if you add text on top of a video that text is now readable by the social platform and can help your content to appear in a search,” adds Battisby. “You need to start thinking about the way you are writing your captions so that they are SEO friendly.”

And if you really want to get ahead, social platforms including TikTok, are now allowing brands to purchase the top search result listing for a particular topic. This will guarantee that consumers see your products first under your chosen search terms.

On the subject of TikTok, this social media powerhouse has over 1 billion active users every single month and has been downloaded more than 4.1 billion times, so if you’re looking for market reach, then this relatively new platform, is a good place to start.

Social Media - GettyImages-AsiaVision
Increasing consumer engagement through social media. GettyImages/AsiaVision

Keep things moving with videos

Video content is also high on the list of ways to attract consumers to your social media pages.

“Video is one of the most engaging types of content that you can post,” explains Battisby. But make sure you get your branding in quickly.

“The first three seconds of your video are most important. Research found that usually people will scroll or swipe after three seconds. So if you can get your product or your branding in early, even if it’s quite subtle like packaging in the background or something that says the name of your product, in the first few seconds that can be really beneficial.”

And whether you’re offering recipe tips, showing how your products are made in the factory or jumping on a hashtag trend, when it comes to video style, “the key is to make it entertaining,” says Battisby.

Influencer - GettyImages-10'000 Hours
Increasing consumer engagement through social media. GettyImages/10'000 Hours

Join the LinkedIn revolution

LinkedIn has not always been the most popular of the social media platforms but, since the COVID 19 pandemic, it’s undergone a noticeable transformation making it more of a social environment, rather than just a workplace tool. This trend is reflected in the fact that it recently hit a billion members worldwide. It’s also become widely recognised as a formidable tool for brands to connect with consumers as well as industry professionals.

“LinkedIn has become much more of a place for everyday conversation, and tips and advice,” explains Battisby. “Engagement on the platform has doubled over the last year, with a lot more people posting, commenting, sharing and liking. It’s worth being on LinkedIn because consumers are on LinkedIn.”

Influencer 2 - GettyImages-Edwin Tan
Increasing consumer engagement through social media. GettyImages/Edwin Tan

Use the force of content creators

If you’re looking for a way into an existing audience then you could consider working with a content creator, better known as an influencer. Influencers​ have worked hard over months and years to build a personal audience of dedicated and loyal fans.

“Creators have incredibly engaged communities who really believe in them,” says Battisby. “They love the creators’ opinions, they want to try things that the creators are recommending, they also really relate to the creator. So creators can be very very powerful from a brand perspective.”

According to marketing resource firm, AIContentfy, “influencers have a strong relationship with their followers and are seen as trusted sources of information, recommendations, and opinions.”

This trust is what makes influencer marketing so impactful for businesses looking to expand their company profile and reach.

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