Without a doubt, what works best for you on social media will change depending on the audiences you are trying to engage, the time you put into it and your unique personality, skills and objectives.
So the only way to find the specific formula that works for you — or the elements of it anyway — is to experiment and watch the results.
I am going to give you a few ideas and things to play with, but I challenge you to get out there and play around a bit to see what works and what doesn’t. That is the only way to become someone who can really leverage this tool for all it is worth.
But here are a few ideas to get you started:
Ask questions: Posts that ask questions generally get twice as much engagement as do posts that are statements.
Images: Pictures work in some crowds and not others. If you a posting to a legal audience, images will probably get you more engagement. In real estate, they are so social media saturated that photos could make no difference or even have a detrimental impact on engagement.
Use data: Percentages, numbers and statistics sometimes garner more interest — but again, not always. Try them out on your audiences.
Generosity: This one always works. Be generous with the content of others. Share, like, favourite, retweet, etc., but also think about other ways of helping them distribute their content to introduce them to your followers and give them direct feedback. Genuine compliments almost never go amiss!
Knowledge translation: Share tips you have learned, live-tweet conferences (think about TVO’s Steve Paikin tweeting election coverage).
Think about when you are posting: After 8 p.m. is when the most people and the broadest representation of generations are surfing their social media. If you want real-time engagement, 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. also have nice big groups of people online.
Don’t be afraid to repeat your posts: Most professional and business people dip into their social media; they don’t sit on it at all times. So think about reposting your posts. In many quarters, people will post the same content (especially on twitter) up to four times a day because they are going to catch different people at different times of the day.
Analytics: Use the analytics about engagement with your posts to guide what you post about in future.
And, finally, appetites, communication trends and tools change all the time. So don’t stop experimenting — ever!