I’d be going over a lot of old ground if I started off by explaining why(/how) engagement is crucial to get your social media post seen – so let’s just skip to the highlight:
- Get a network’s algorithm excited by proving that people want to see your post.
That’s social media in simple terms. Get that algorithm on side and you’re set.
However, proving that people do want to see your post is easier said than done. One of the best ways is to get people responding to you.
Remember – asking a question with a single answer will fall flat straight away.
Asking a question with infinite answers enables variety, encouraging more responses. Ask for a witty or creative response to a post and you could be onto a winner. As long as your audience is witty and creative…
Now, I don’t want to cast aspersions across the public, but there are very few you’d pay to go and watch on stage or listen to via a podcast. The wit of the average member of the public is about as quick as an overtired sloth attempting sudoku.
But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t potential there. You just need to unlock it. Make their witty responses easier to fall to hand or less effort, and they’ll be keen to leave their reply.
So, how can you help your audience come up with unique and entertaining replies, so they continue to do so even when others have already left great replies? Simply make sure their response is unique to them and that they have a way to be creative with their reply.
A simple question can be elevated in this way.
Consider these two posts, which are essentially doing the same thing:
- How was your day?
- Describe your day with a gif.
The first one is bound to fall flat. For a start, a viewer will probably think ‘I won’t bother to reply, I’m not getting anything out of it.’ and just move on. Even those that do reply will be fairly flat and will have no entertainment value to anyone but the person who posted it.
The second version, however, thrusts a viewer’s creative mind into action. They can be funny with their reply here. And it’s easy to do, now that the likes of Twitter, Facebook etc give you the chance to search for a gif and reply with that. Also, searching for a gif will bring up multiple results, so even people who have had the same kind of day can reply in different ways.
And it’s not just gifs – you’ll see a lot of viral posts simply requesting an open-ended response like ‘reply with the fifth picture in your gallery’ or ‘reply with the last text message you sent’. Now, although you’ve been quite specific, there’s no referee there so the user can hand-pick their response. Or tweak it a bit. That may, in fact, be the 12th pic in their gallery, or the text they sent three messages ago – but if it reads as a funny reply, they’ll post it.
You’re giving a user the chance to be seen as creative without them needing to be really witty or, well, creative. Users love that. It could just be recalling a unique memory, too, rather than using a gif or a pic, if you want to mix things up…
Here’s a bonus tip, you should ask them what the ‘worst’ thing is – not the ‘best’ – Self-deprecation is a Brit’s special skill. For example, what’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said to you at work? What’s the worst selfie on your phone? What’s the worst thing you’ve ever found in a fridge? What’s the worst gif to send your mate when their car’s just broken down?
If you make the user’s response simple and give them a chance to be witty, you’ll be getting good engagement and that means your posts will be shown to even more people. When you want to ask a question, try to visualise what the responses might look like in a few hours’ time. If you can’t see many different replies, then think again.
C’mon then, let’s see what you can come up with on your social media accounts…