The overall goal for businesses of all types and sizes is to increase sales — and one of the ways to do it is through brand exposure and social media engagement. Increasing sales via social media engagement revolves around the idea that a more involved audience is more likely to share your content with their friends (exposing your business to more people) and patronize your business themselves.

However, increasing your social media engagement is no easy task (and is something we here at Vivial work at everyday). Below are seven social media tips and strategies we have learned through our own efforts to increase social media engagement and, in turn, sales.

1. Know where to use hashtags (and how many)

If you don’t use hashtags correctly, you probably view them as a useless addition to your social posts. However, used correctly, hashtags can give your content longer legs by helping more people discover it.

To master the hashtag game, you need to know what social media networks to use them on (Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter). Never use hashtags on LinkedIn. While you can include your tweets on LinkedIn, LinkedIn does not have a search function for hashtags, so your efforts are useless (and also look unprofessional because you aren’t following best practices).

The second item in the hashtag game to master is finding your goldilocks number (not too many, not too few) to be effective. Each social post should have one message and by tagging many ancillary keywords you dilute your message (and make it harder to read).
social media engagement through hashtags

When you go to write your next social post, ask yourself, “What’s my main message?” Select one or two hashtags that reinforce your message, not detract from it.

2. Know best times for engagement

While each business will have different times for the best engagement on each social network, you first need to get started with a jumping off point. From Twitter to Google+, each network has a time when activity is high so posting around these times is the best way to reach your audience.

The downside to this strategy is that these times may not be specific to your audience. To know what works best for you, start taking note of when you receive the most engagement and test out posting at different times of day.
social media engagement times

3. Know how often to post

Do you ever feel like there is Facebook Page that keeps your news feed full 24/7 (when you really just want to see what your friends are posting)? When a Facebook Page, or any social profile does this, users are more likely to stop following that Page’s updadates — or block them completely from their newsfeed (which counteracts all efforts).

Instead of posting 24/7 with the hopes of grabbing people’s attention, post at optimal times with focused content. If you follow the posting schedule below, you’ll get a good idea of the best time to post (saving you both time and effort). Most social media networks should only be posted to a few times a week, while Twitter can be posted to several times a day.
social media engagement times

4. Know how often to share content

When you have content to share, you want to make sure it reaches as many eyes as possible so you can get the most out of the effort you put into the piece. By following a posting (or a promotional) schedule, your business will have successful content that helps you reach your goals.
social media engagement for content shares

5. Know how to catch your audiences’ eyes

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that people no longer want to read long paragraphs — they want to see your message (a la Buzzfeed).

To catch your audiences’ eyes with visual content, use a variety of content, such as stock photos, infographics and videos. Not only will you capture their attention, but you’ll also keep it.
social media engagement images

6. Have your own voice

Social media provides a place for your brand to not only share, but also converse. So give your business a human voice!

People on social media enjoy following businesses that have personality and engage in unique conversations because it allows them to connect on a deeper level.

From celebrating a one-year anniversary, to showcasing your latest employee, have a human side and a human voice to your brand.
social media engagement brand voice

7. Have fun with it

Don’t take your social accounts to seriously; the easiest thing for people to relate to and share is a joke.

Find a comic or meme related to your business that your followers can relate to and find humorous. Every Monday on Twitter you can see Vivial execute this tip — and it’s one of our most popular tweets all week!

Example of a funny Vivial tweet:

No matter how experienced you are on social media, these seven tips and strategies can help you increase your social media engagement. From tracking your current engagement to finding new tips to use, we’re here to help.

Need a little bit more? Check out our Social Cheat Sheet which provides tried and true social post ideas that will help you keep your social profiles active on the days when you feel you have nothing to say.

How are these tips working for you? Let us know in the comments below.