engagementEngagement. It’s the “X” factor that separates a highly successful social media strategy from one that merely wastes time and energy.

Enticing people to interact with your social media profile is easier than you might imagine. If you use these 4 simple tips you’ll find that you start generating more conversation and getting more attention on your social media profiles.

1. Vary Up Your Content

When business owners first start using social media they tend to focus primarily on sharing links back to their blog posts and blasting information about promotions.

There is nothing wrong with either type of content. However, on its own that content is not interesting enough to make your social channels a big success—even if your blog posts are really useful and your promotions are really great.

Other types of content are also fun and useful. Add the occasional photograph. Pair the photograph with an inspirational quote or an explanation of what’s going on in the photograph. People love visual content.

Share a news post, link, or resource to someone else’s content that’s relevant to your business or what you do. You don’t have to share information from competitors. You can share news articles that directly support why your business is necessary. For example, if you run an accounting service an article about what the IRS is doing next year might be worth sharing.

This type of content turns your social profile into a resource and even injects a bit of fun into the mix.

2. Treat Each Channel as a Unique Entity

There are plenty of tools that will let you post the same status update to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn all at the same time. If you use Pinterest you can post your Pins to Twitter when you pin them, as well.

It seems convenient and helpful. But it can backfire.

If your customers watch several of your social channels they will notice this repetition. They will often conclude that you are automating everything and that you don’t actually want to keep up with your social accounts. Thus, it’s a good idea to vary up the wording on your content, even if you are posting the same link. Offering the same content in different ways says that you are taking time and care with each audience.

As it stands, what works well on one social channel looks terrible on others. Twitter status updates thrive on one or two well-placed hashtags. They look absolutely terrible and lazy, however, when you use them on LinkedIn.

3. Ask Questions and Invite Opinions

Social media is a two-way street! Engagement is all about communication, so you need to make it clear that your followers are more than welcome to communicate with you.

You can ask questions about just about anything. Let’s take our accountant again. He might ask things like:

What’s your biggest tax challenge?
How do you keep track of your business records?
What’s the one thing that would make accounting less scary?

He might also ask for opinions on products or services he’s thinking about offering, like:

I’m thinking about offering payroll services to my customers. Is this something you’d use?

I chose accounting rather deliberately, simply because there’s a misconception out there that certain types of businesses can’t engage with their customers because they aren’t “fun.” Accounting isn’t fun, but even an accountant can provide useful, engaging, and interesting content to customers on social profiles. After all, accounting is still something small business owners worry about, and that means you can talk about it.

4. Give Back

Make sure that you’re paying attention to other people on your social profile. “Like” their Facebook comments whenever they’re appropriate. Look for things to Re-tweet or share. Make sure to use tools like “Follow Friday” to offer shout-outs to others. And thank every single person who mentions you, because that will prompt more mentions. People like to feel as though they are being heard.

How do you promote engagement on your social media page? I’d love to hear more about your own successful strategies in the comments below.