How to Drive Engagement With a Compelling Social Media Content Strategy

What Is Social Media Engagement?

Social media engagement takes the form of likes, comments, shares, audience growth/followers, click-throughs and mentions/tags. Strong engagement is a great measure of online success and is something that every brand should aim for. High engagement rates indicate that a brand is making an impact, creating meaningful connections with its audience, enhancing its online reputation and posting the right content at the right times. If you would like to learn more about driving engagement and creating compelling social media content strategies, the University of Cape Town (UCT) offers a number of online short courses on marketing. 

How to Increase Engagement on Social Media

Benchmark Current Engagement Levels

A brand cannot measure its growth and engagement if it does not take note of its benchmark engagement levels. Before starting on any new social media strategy or objective, a brand should analyse its current follower numbers and engagement rates. Once the brand has this benchmark and continues to track the metrics, it can ascertain what works and what needs improvement on its social media platforms, and can gauge whether or not social media strategies or campaigns are successful. 

Research the Audience

If a brand wants to connect with its audience and increase engagement, it needs to understand its audience. A brand’s target audience should be specific and aligned with the brand’s products and services. When a brand knows its audience, it can determine which social media platforms to use, the best times to publish and the types of content that will drive the most engagement. The brand can also refine its messaging, tone of voice and personality. 

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Create Engaging Content

Once a brand has ascertained its benchmark engagement levels and researched its audience, it can go about devising the types of content that will appeal to its target customers. The content should be valuable, helpful, thoughtful and emotion-provoking, and it should address the audience’s needs and pain points. Social media posts are not just a show and tell about how great a brand is – they are an opportunity to start a conversation and create ongoing, genuine engagement and connection. The type of content that a brand posts will depend on the chosen social media platform/s, the industry and the audience. In general, well-curated images work well on Instagram, longer text-based posts work well on Facebook and in-depth professional articles work well on LinkedIn. Short form videos and ‘live’ videos work well on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok. Here are just some content ideas that will drive engagement:

  • Competitions
  • Live videos 
  • Asking the audience brand-related questions
  • Polls
  • ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions where the audience can ask questions of the brand and its staff
  • Quizzes
  • User-generated content
  • Funny memes and GIFs
  • Customer spotlights
  • Reshared content 
  • Reshared user content that relates to the brand
  • Posts about current events, trends or news

The process of finding the best content types for a brand’s audience will take a lot of testing, analytics and trial and error. This is why tracking performance and continually refining posts is so essential. 

Always Use High-Quality Visuals

Whatever the content type or the platform, brands should always make sure that they are using high-quality visuals. This will capture the audience’s attention and show the customers that a brand is reputable and invests in quality. Brands can use all sorts of visual content, including photos, videos, infographics, GIFs, illustrations and graphics. Generally, it is best to use a variety of visuals because this ensures that social media feeds are diverse and fresh.

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Engage with Audiences

Brands need to do both reactive and proactive engagement. Reactive engagement involves answering direct messages, mentions or comments. Proactive engagement is when the brand starts the conversation. Communicating directly with an audience is one of the easiest ways a brand can improve its social media engagement. If a brand takes the time to engage in this manner, its customers will engage back, and a fruitful dialogue can begin. 

Schedule Content Regularly and at the Right Times

Posting regularly is important if a brand wants to drive engagement, as is posting at the right time of day for maximum post exposure. To ascertain when a brand should post, it needs to look at its audience insights and find the days and times that get the best engagement. 

Learn More About Effective Social Media Marketing in a UCT Digital Marketing Online Course

The University of Cape Town (UCT) offers a number of online short courses for online marketing, including brand management, social media marketing, marketing analytics, market research and more. You can find out more information here: