Oh the algorithms, they are a changin’. Well, maybe not this week, but you can be sure that algorithmic changes in search and social have definitely joined taxes and death in the list of things we can be sure of. Which, for marketers on social media, means constantly adjusting your strategy to stay in touch with the fans and followers of your brand.

While there are always tips and tricks for making the most of whatever the rules are this month, there are also good ideas that work regardless of those rules. The following list of seven tips for more engagement have been valid forever and always will be, ’til death do us part. Or something like that.

1. Keep the Hot Side Hot and the Cold Side Cold

If you aren’t aware of the 80/20 rule, it says that 80% of your posts should be conversational and 20% should be promotional. Sounds simple enough, but we’re all aware of those businesses that seem to try and worm a promotion in with every single post somehow. It’s annoying.

You can make your promotional posts entertaining and engaging, but keep your conversational posts conversational. If the only thing you make conversation about is your business and your latest sale, then hire someone else to post for you.

2. Don’t Chase the Influencers

Common sense might tell you to make every attempt to engage with the big influencers in your industry and get them to promote you. Common sense would need a swift kick in the tush for suggesting such a thing. Those influencers? They’re on the content creation side of the equation. That’s why they’re influencers. There isn’t much recognition or following for the “best sharer”. They also get more messages than they can handle, and you’ll be lost in that shuffle.

The people who follow the influencers should be your goal. They are the ones who share their stuff, the content curators. They’re the ones who make the influencers popular enough to be called influencers. Create great content and share it with the people who are most likely to spread it around.

3. Use More Visuals

Oh, you’re already using a lot of visuals. Great! Use more. And use better images. How much visual content is too much? Scientists are diligently waiting for that point to be reached by humans, but so far the answer lies in the far future. Until then, use more visuals. They’re the mosts popular type of post, period. Across all industries, age groups, and any other demographic you want to consider. People like pictures. It’s really that simple.

4. Post at the Right Time

Yes, Virginia, there is a right time to post your social media posts. That time depends on your business and your target audience though, so make sure you do plenty of analysis on your results and adjust accordingly. Our Smart Queues and analytics features make that just about as easy as possible.

5. Always Respond

This is one reason you should have a dedicated person or team handling social media. The quickest way to lose a follower or fan is to not respond to them. Using a social media dashboard as your central point of engagement makes seeing and responding to each message or comment much easier. The most responsive companies on social media have the most loyal following.

6. Be Valuable

Social media isn’t a “gimme”. People won’t read your posts just because you posted them, even if they already like you. Your goal should be for every single post to inform, enlighten, or entertain in some significant way. Remember the conversation we just had about influencers? Exactly. The things they post are worth reading. Emulate that if you want that kind of influence. Would the post you just scheduled stop you from scrolling and make you pay attention? If not, make a better post.

7. Reference Controversy

You’ll hear some people tell you that posting controversial stories is a way to isolate a big group of people. Others will tell you it’s guaranteed engagement. I offer you a third path to follow, should you choose to accept it. Reference the controversial story, but relate it to your business or simply ask for opinions. Everybody has one, after all.

In other words, don’t offer a stance on whatever the controversial situation is one way or the other. Ask others what they think in an intelligent way or from a different angle, and you’ll get responses. Or somehow tie your industry into the situation if it can be done relevantly and tastefully.