I’ve said before that social media is a game of attention – if you can’t capture a person’s attention you won’t be able to get them to purchase anything. But before a follower on social media can purchase, they’ll have to engage, and you’ll have to “solicit” that engagement. On social media, likes, shares, comments and hearts count as engagement, and if you’re not asking for it you probably won’t get it.

A lot of times business owners think they’re asking for engagement but they’re not. If the request isn’t specific, chances are people won’t respond. Everybody is busy and easily distracted, if you give specific instructions, aligned with your business goals, you increase the likelihood of higher engagement on your posts. Share your opinion about a related topic and invite your audience to give their feedback.

If you want your audience to show up and engage with you, you have to show up first. You have to be consistent with publishing and posting on social media or your people won’t stick around. (I know this is a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the truth…) Your prospective customers are spending time online engaging with all types of post like back-to-school pics, silly animals, even the stuff that makes them angry! If your content isn’t present in their newsfeed how can they engage? Create a habit of consistently showing up and your followers will take their cues from you.

Many small business owners think they can’t be fun on social media because they’re a business. Guess what? Being fun on social media is what gets you engagement! Large corporations have to hire talent to manufacture enthusiasm and represent their brands online, but every small business owner is already passionate about what they do. That passion is attractive. Knowing that people are using social media as a form of escapism, wrap your content in something fun! Infusing your business with quirky, irreverent parts of your personality sets you apart online, it helps you stand out from the pack.

Lastly, don’t shy away from hitting your audience in the feels. Human beings are fueled by emotion so you can incorporate emotional stories in your content to inspire action (ASPCA commercials, anyone?).

Engagement doesn’t just position you to make more sales, it also tells the algorithms that you are giving your followers what they want. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with more visibility and opportunities for more engagement.

Moniek James is a serial entrepreneur and nerd who helps small business owners use social media to be more awesome online. Find her at www.moniekjames.com where she shares her favorite entrepreneurial hacks and musings.

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