Facebook is a top social platform for engaging with prospects for your startup. Having engagement from an audience is the step to generating leads, loyal followers and in breeding that all important word of mouth. While our egos all love a good ‘Like’ count from posts, it’s the higher level engagements that really move you up a level. Sales, opportunities and being viewed as an ‘influencer’ are the result of being talked about, and that all starts with your community when they interact with your content. While there are dozens of ways to generate compelling content that gets you engagement, here are five essentials that you really can’t live without.

Shareability

By far the best way to get people talking about you and increasing the awareness of what you are doing is to create content that is highly shareable. People pay more attention to content when it is shared by their friends; it means the ‘trust-factor’ is far higher and it tends to be believed more. So think about why people share content — it’s real simple: it’s about ‘social currency’. So, your post has to make them look good! Does your content amaze people? Is it unique? Does it inspire? Is it crazy, even? Pluck at the emotional heart strings and you’ll get people wanting to be the reason why their friend feel the same emotion.

Direct People

Sometimes you gotta just tell people to do things. Creating content without a call to action is like opening a shop without a cash register; most people just won’t know what to do when they get there. So they consume and move on. Instead, direct your audience. People like to be led, and when you create a great reason to engage with you, you need to guide these participants to the next step. So leave nothing to be assumed: suggest things like “what do you think?”, or “comment below”, rather than simply hoping someone will read your mind. Alternatively, if you’ve just produced a great piece of value that guides, helps and advises your audience, end it with “hey, like this video if you think it’s been of use” or “share this with someone you think could benefit from it.”

You’ll be stunned how many more people engage through you simply asking them to. A word of warning though — make sure you’re asking only after giving! Provide great value before making demands on your viewers. Give first and ask second is the way success in this world works.

Bring Variety

While I’m the first one to promote the importance of consistency, the one place where this isn’t true is in the type of content you produce. If there’s a singular thing that kills engagement, it’s only ever doing the same type of post, day in and day out. Like your motivational quotes? Good for you. The audience loves them too? Even better. But when it’s day #154 and you’re posting four a day with nothing else, you’ll find you’ve become the social media equivalent of wallpaper: always there but not contributing that much to the room. And after some time, people will stop noticing you’re even there. Instead, switch it up. Don’t lose those quotes, but post four or five other types of content too. Images, long copy, short copy, video, live streams, links and polls.

They all add up to variety and people will see you as stimulating. Remember, not everyone is into the same thing, so make sure your audience consumes your content like they’re picking from a menu — some things they’ll dig and others they’ll hate. Even beluga caviar gets boring when it’s all you ever eat.

Use Video

You’ve got to move with the times and adapt as Facebook and its users do the same. So when Facebook started throttling—limiting—traffic to posts that took users away from the site, such as to an article or a YouTube channel, it was an intelligent move to post more native content. Also, as technology changed, so did the options for engaging. There was once a time when you could ‘Poke’ someone. That was a novelty, so everyone was doing it. Now, it’s almost unheard of. But there are some types of content that simply resonate with the social, human creatures that view them. The one that wins is the one that is the most dynamic. And yes, that’s video. In a world where having a connection to someone is the thing that really builds interest, you’re simply missing out on a major advantage by not using video. Why is it an advantage if everyone can use it? Precisely because most people don’t use it. Why? Simple fear.

For many, producing a video is like public speaking, and so they’d rather soldier on without it than possibly feel a little momentary embarrassment. Now you can produce live streaming video content where you can engage in real-time with your audience, there is no better way to generate engagements, conversations and generally feel the pulse of your audience.

Start Conversations

When you’re starting out and your content is hitting the ground for the first time, it can be a little disheartening when you lack engagement. Slowly but surely, over time there will be some engagements though. Perhaps you’ll get a flurry of Likes or maybe some comments will appear when you ask a question. It’s important to capitalise on these early responses and engage with them. And this is where true engagement lies — getting a conversation started. If you do it in the content itself, then great. But at the very least, get in the comments section and start speaking with people. So many times I see a great post go up and a few comments start to emerge, only for the original poster of the content to ignore them altogether. Get in the trenches! You should be responding to every single comment that gets posted. Early on, even when I received a singular Like for a post, I’d connect with that person and thank them for the engagement. You never know where those conversations can take you! Audiences love it when the content producer reaches out and connects with them. Think about a gig where a pop star speaks to the crowd — they go crazy for it.

The same is the case here. And evolving this further, invite more people to comment on the posts or comments by carefully tagging relevant people into the mix. “John, Mary and Jill: since this is the space you work in, what do you think here?” is a great way to bring others into the conversation… this is social media, after all!

Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Richard Moore originally worked 60 hour weeks in the City of London, before deciding to pursue a better life for himself.
Now, as owner of four highly successful businesses, Richard is asked to consult with entrepreneurs and business owners that need serious, practical insight to help massively grow their new business ventures.
Richard has worked with startups to 9-figure businesses and is regularly retained to coach leadership and sales teams with his courses.
Richard is known for reading three times a day, every day.