Social Media Engagement: The Complete Guide

Social Media Engagement: The Complete Guide

Red hearts, blue thumbs, green clapping hands. All signs of people liking — and engaging — with your

Red hearts, blue thumbs, green clapping hands. All signs of people liking — and engaging — with your content on social media.

What’s the point of posting on social without people enjoying your posts, right? To be honest, all of us crave more likes, comments, and mentions.

There’s no shame in wanting to increase your social media engagement. After all, engagement is a valid and highly-reliable metric of your social media performance. It’s basically why we want to be active on social.

So, buckle up as we’re going to explain everything you need to know about social media engagement and how to skyrocket your metrics with post ideas, tips, and examples below.

Are you ready?

What is Social Media Engagement?

Social media engagement is the generic metric that measures all actions that your audience does to interact with your content and accounts on social media. 

Due to the abundance of different social networks today, these actions can vary depending on the channel you’re on. For example, most social media, like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter have likes, comments, etc. But some others, like LinkedIn, offer also custom buttons, like “Visit Website” and more.

However, we’ve gathered below some basic social media engagement examples.

Types of social media engagement

  • Likes (including the variety of post interactions on LinkedIn)
  • Comments
  • Shares (including reposts and retweets)
  • Brand mentions (tagged or untagged)
  • Direct messages
  • User-generated content

Why is Social Media Engagement Important?

Social media engagement is the most trustworthy KPI for measuring your social media success. It indicates how well your content, brand voice, and offering appeal to your target audience.

Of course, impressions and views are essential as well. Nonetheless, building an engaged community can bring better results to your brand.

That’s because we can’t engage with everything we see on our feed. At the end of the day, we don’t relate with or simply don’t care about all posts on our social channels.

Let’s analyze some key areas where your social media engagement rate plays a huge role.

Increased brand awareness

Social engagement can help you a great deal in increasing your social media reach, and thus your brand awareness.

As more and more people are interacting with your brand’s accounts and content on social, the algorithms will identify your posts as compelling and engaging. Soon, the algorithms will start promoting your content organically. So, your brand will gain more visibility.

Social media engagement affects impressions and social reach directly. Basically, that’s the point of going viral.

Improved customer satisfaction and retention

Engagement on social media, particularly comments and brand mentions, can be good indicators of your existing customers’ satisfaction with your products or services.

For example, if they comment positively on your posts or share your content willingly, you know that’s a good sign.

On the other hand, the comment section of your posts is a great channel for receiving feedback and suggestions from your clients.

In fact, it can be ideal for dealing with negative reviews quickly and showing that you truly care about your customers. That can lead to higher customer retention.

Higher conversion rates and sales

Social media interactions can work miracles not only for your marketing goals but also for your sales.

High engagement rates can be seen as social proof by your prospects. Thus, your brand’s social media presence can vouch for your business and help prospects trust you easily.

When a brand is popular on social media, it looks reliable. Simply put, it’s easier to purchase from a brand that many people like on social, than a brand that is more obscure.

Enhanced reputation

Good social media engagement, such as hundreds of likes, positive comments, and user-generated content translates to a good brand reputation.

As you receive more and more interactions from your audience, you can understand what’s working better for them and enhance your reputation and brand image even more.

Also, with social media monitoring tools, you can catch immediately any negative social media mentions of your brand and address them to prevent a reputation crisis from happening.

Increased website traffic

Last but not least, your website traffic is closely tied to your social media engagement. It’s like the next step after what we already said about brand awareness.

Think about this: More people liking your posts results in more people seeing your posts, which means more people getting to know your brand and finally more people wanting to know more about it.

We can’t think of a better place for potential customers to learn about your brand than your official website.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to include your website’s link to ALL your social media profiles. That will boost your referral traffic metric greatly!

Well, these were the 5 key areas where social engagement can help your business flourish. And that’s why this metric seems so crucial for a business. But we can’t say that high engagement rates can be easily accomplished.

Read on as we explain some successful ways to increase your engagement on social media.

How To Increase Social Media Engagement

A social media engagement strategy isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you’re starting with your brand’s social presence. However, it’s of the essence once your social channels have begun gaining followers and creating buzz.

Below you’ll find how to increase engagement on social media and some useful tips to nurture an engaged audience for your brand.

Know your target audience

The fundamental step of boosting engagement with your social media accounts is to understand your audience as much as you can. We admit that it sounds cliché, but knowing your social media audience is critical for crafting your messages and creating engaging content.

Usually, your target audience on social is the same audience you target in real life with your other marketing tactics. However, due to the different nature and purpose of each social network, people want something different from you.

For example, on LinkedIn people are most likely to want more educational content from you, like case studies and real-life business examples. On the other hand on TikTok, they might want to see your brand’s fun side.

So, if you want to smash your engagement metrics start by gathering as much audience intelligence as possible. Learn what they like to see on each social channel and then adjust your marketing strategy and content plan.

Create high-quality, shareable content

Content creation isn’t a piece of cake. Especially high-quality, relevant content that educates or simply entertains your audience. There are many types of content you can leverage to create engaging and relatable posts for your brand.

We’ll go deeper into this topic in the next section, but here’s a potpourri of well-performing social media post types that can inspire people to reshare them.

  • Reels (and short-form videos in general)
  • Long-form videos (great for educational content)
  • Memes
  • Carousels
  • Infographics
  • Photos
  • Plain text posts

Although you can use these types of posts for many purposes like educational, fun, or even employer branding posts, make sure that you use each type on the social network on which it’s performing better. For example, you should use short-form videos on Instagram and TikTok rather than on LinkedIn.

Be responsive and interact with your followers

It goes without saying that you should definitely respond to any comments in your posts or direct messages. That’s the #1 rule for building a community among your audience. People must see that you care about them and what they say.

Furthermore, you can take part in online conversations regarding your brand, products, or even topics that are relevant or trending in your industry.

Pro Tip: Use a social listening tool to spot any mentions of your brand, whether the users have tagged your official accounts or not, or in case they have used an unofficial nickname.

Think about it: If you were working for Chevrolet, you should have been watching out not only for “Chevrolet” mentions but also for the “Chevy” ones.

Except for answering comments and messages and jumping into relevant conversations, try this one: Spark conversations on current events or trending topics with your posts.

LinkedIn and Twitter polls are great for that. Pose questions and let your audience elaborate. It can work just fine with a plain text post as well.

Don’t forget though: Make sure the topics you’re talking about are highly relevant to your brand.

Use hashtags strategically

Hashtags can affect your social media engagement indirectly since they can increase the reach of your posts to broader audiences. The more people see your posts, the merrier the chances of engaging with them.

Pro Tip: Hashtag tracking can help you identify which hashtags you should include in your posts based on their performance. Social listening tools, like Mentionlytics, provide you with hashtag tracking features that you can’t find in the native analytics of each network.

Collaborate with influencers

Starting collaborations with influencers and content creators can be in huge favor of your brand.

After all, one of the latest social media trends is picking micro-influencers (10-100K followers) instead of celebrity influencers for promotional campaigns. That’s because these micro-influencers have smaller but more engaged communities. And they leverage personal communication to build trust with their audience.

With such collaborations, your brand can be introduced to a broad audience of like-minded people with a hint of reliability. These people will reach out to your brand accounts and increase engagement and impressions, not only in posts with their favorite influencers but also in your other content.

Show you’re human!

Go beyond responding to comments and show the people behind your brand. Social media is no place for stiff corporate communications and boring messaging. Now more than ever, brands and businesses need to show their human face to the world.

What’s better for showing you’re human than photos of your team members in the office, in a company retreat, or even work-from-home pictures? Also, fun videos with your employees can be beneficial for your social media engagement as well as for attracting new talent.

Run giveaways and contests

If you work in B2C, giveaways and contests with extraordinary prizes may be the answer you were looking for to boost your engagement, especially your Instagram data and metrics.

Giveaways encourage users to like and comment on your posts and often tag their friends which is basically all you need to smash your number of engagements, at least per post. It’s a low-risk and small investment, in case you’re giving away some of your products.

Furthermore, social media contests and challenges have to do with user-generated content, like videos or images tagged with campaign hashtags or brand names in exchange for prizes. This is also an efficient way for creating buzz and get people to interact with your content and accounts.

Analyze your performance and adjust your strategy

Finally, we conclude this list with the least sexy, but equally important factor for increasing your social media engagement.

Namely, tracking your social media performance, analyzing your data to see what’s working and what’s not, and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

Pro Tip: Run a social media audit before putting your social media engagement strategy into practice. It’ll help you to see what’s improved and what isn’t retrospectively. That will give you much info to work on so that you get better results.

Well, you got a glimpse of what it takes to increase your social media engagement. Now, it’s time to fuel your inspiration with some successful post ideas from top-tier brands and let your engagement metrics go crazy!

Keep scrolling, you won’t be disappointed.

10 Post Ideas to Increase Social Media Engagement

Behold! Here’s your source of inspiration. Have a look at these engaging social media posts from famous brands that know how to rock!

1- Use Short Videos Like Duolingo

Duolingo’s notorious green owl mascot, Duo, is going TikTok viral with every single video! Duo is featured in different storylines based on what’s trending and scores great in engagement rates, as you can see.


brb leaving to become one of rihanna’s backup dancers #dualipa #dulapeep #duolingo #languagelearning #fyp

♬ original sound – Brian Esperon

Duolingo’s success story is worth a bit of analysis. So, at the end of the article, you’ll find a brief case study.

2- Leverage UGC like GoPro

GoPro promotes user-generated content to tie its brand with real-life adventure and creates a unique identity on social.

Its “Photo of the Day” Instagram post series is a perfect example of it. GoPro posts people’s most amazing photos taken while they do extreme sports. And it sparks thousands of likes from its community.

GoPro UGC Example

Source: Instagram

3- Go Behind the Scene like Microsoft

Microsoft’s TikTok is the best place for taking high-engagement post ideas for social media.

The company follows a casual content strategy by loosening up and highlighting its employees inside and outside the office in amusing videos. Take a look:


Replying to @teghansimone problem solved #microsoft #fyp #techsupport #homefortheholidays #wfh

♬ original sound – Microsoft

4- Use Questions to Get People Talking like Delta

Delta Airlines is doing a fine job with its engagement rates on Twitter with minimum effort.

The brand keeps posting simple but engaging questions to get its followers to respond with their experiences and opinions. In some cases, it accompanies the questions with images and GIFs to make them more compelling. This is one of the most clever strategies for increasing Twitter engagement.

It’s truly remarkable since it’s harder to get high engagement on Twitter than on any other popular social medium.

Delta Social Media Engagament Post Example on Twitter

Source: Twitter

5- Do Giveaways like NYX Cosmetics

NYX Cosmetics runs regularly giveaways on its Instagram page to create buzz around its brand and promote its beauty products. As we said above, a giveaway is a battle-tested way of increasing your social engagement since people have to do several interactions with your account for this contest.

For example, to participate in this NYX Cosmetics giveaway, the user has to follow the official Instagram account, like the giveaway post, like recent posts, and also tag a friend in the comment section. So, all engagement metrics go up!

NYX Cosmetics Social Media Engagement Post Example

Source: Instagram

6- Collaborate with Other Brands like Nike

Unexpected and inspiring brand collaborations can skyrocket your social media engagement.

Recently, Nike and Tiffany & Co. took Instagram by storm with their new brand collab. The result: 1.4 million likes and almost 14 thousand comments!

Nike x Tiffany Co. Brand Collaborations

Source: Instagram

7- Respond to Comments with Wittiness like Innocent Drinks

Innocent Drinks does great work in engaging with its community on social media. Although, their LinkedIn account is our favorite.

It brings a touch of wittiness to this mainly professional platform since Innocent Drinks responds to its followers with clever humor. So, it keeps things casual and drives high engagement by building a human brand. We say no more, take a look below.

Innocent Drinks LinkedIn Example

Source: LinkedIn

8- Meme like Semrush

If you want to create fun content for Millenials and Gen Z, then a meme is all it takes.

We shall admit that we absolutely love memes. And Semrush owns the game, with memes from trending shows and events. It manages to represent its target audience’s everyday struggles in a fun and resourceful way.


Semrush Meme Example

Source: LinkedIn

9- Post Data–Rich Carousels like Hubspot

Social media isn’t only for entertaining ourselves. We can learn a little something there, too.

So, Hubspot creates snackable educational content, like carousels on LinkedIn and Instagram to give out invaluable information, derived from its marketing and sales research. After all, Hubspot is an authority in that field and its research is considered highly accurate.

Hubspot Carousel Example

Source: LinkedIn

10- Collaborate with Influencers like Glossier

Last, influencers are a secure way for driving high engagement on social, because they already have a dedicated community that engages with them. That’s the foundation of influencer marketing.

However, Glossier forges collaborations with smaller creators, not celebrity influencers, making its Instagram look more natural and relatable. So, don’t be afraid to choose micro or even nano influencers to improve your engagement metrics.

It works great for Glossier, why not for you?

Beauty Industry Marketing Example_Glossier

Source: Instagram

So, that’s it! Feeling inspired?

Before heading to create some posts, make sure you’re using some of the following social media engagement tools to get better results.

Social Media Engagement Tools

Of course, we couldn’t miss including in this social media engagement guide a set of useful online tools that can help you achieve high performance.

Keep reading to find great tools you can leverage for better content creation, influencer marketing, scheduling posts, and social media intelligence.

1- Video Editing Tools

Here are our top picks of popular online video editors you can use for free.

  • Video editor for up to 15-minute videos with watermark (free version), thumbnail maker, and huge stock library with templates and other design assets.
  • Adobe Spark: All-in-one photo and video editor with unique templates, assets, and royalty-free photos, available on the web and mobile as well.
  • Animoto: Drag ‘n’ drop video maker, easy-to-use, and ideal for small businesses and marketing agencies.

2- Photo Editing Tools

You don’t have to be a photoshop-genius to do some image editing. Choose one of the following free online tools and you’ll do just fine.

  • Canva: All-time classic photo editor with a straightforward interface and lots of options to get creative.
  • BeFunky: Truly easy photo editing tool that gives you access to a library of 100+ digital effects.
  • Pixlr: Reliable photo editor with many useful features to improve your images.

3- Influencer Finder Tools

Identify the right influencers for your brand with these top-tier online tools:

  • Upfluence: Great for influencer research and discovery with a massive database of profiles. It offers also a free Chrome plugin to analyze an influencer’s profile straight from your browser.
  • Modash: Offers helpful discovery features to find influencers with 1K+ followers on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.
  • Mentionlytics: Its Top Mentioners feature tracks accurately all influencers creating content for specific keywords of your interest on every social media platform.

4- Scheduling Tools

You can save a lot of time by choosing one of the following social media publishing tools:

  • Hootsuite: Leading social media tool with more than 200K users worldwide. Efficient with scheduling posts and managing all your social accounts via one tool. You can get access to the scheduling tool of Hootsuite with your Mentionlytics subscription.
  • Buffer: Beloved scheduling tool for effective social media management, with a dedicated community. Offers useful Chrome and WordPress integrations and a mobile app.
  • Later: Popular social media scheduling tool with best-time-to-post recommendations and other great features to keep your social fresh and your audience engaged.

5- Analytics Tools

How could you know that you’re doing great in increasing your social media engagement metrics without facts and figures? Pick a reliable tool from the following and go.

  • Mentionlytics: Tracks and collects all your social mentions and analyzes them to provide sentiment analysis, Share of Voice, audience demographics, and other key insights. Plus, its AI-powered Social Intelligence Advisor gives you specific, actionable tips on how to improve your social media performance, based on your data!
  • Sprout Social: Famous all-in-one social media tool with reliable analytics and helpful features for tracking your performance.
  • Cyfe: Not one of the usual social analytics tools, offering customizable business dashboards with all your social media data to monitor your performance and keep everything in one place.

Speaking of analytics and metrics, we should dive a bit deeper into how to measure social media engagement and what metrics to track. We elaborate on this below.

How to Measure Social Media Engagement

It’s true that social media engagement is controversial when it comes to measuring it. That’s due to the variety of metrics that exist. Total interactions, brand mentions, or even follower growth can be considered social media engagement metrics.

Although, we believe that the most reliable and multipurpose KPI for it is the engagement rate by reach (ERR). It calculates the percentage of users who interact with your posts after seeing them.

Think about it: Most of your posts don’t appear in the feeds of all your followers. So, you should take into account only the users that have seen your post to get valid results, not your total followers.

Furthermore, each social network runs different algorithms when it comes to posts’ reach. For example, you know that it’s easier to achieve higher organic reach on LinkedIn, rather than on Facebook.

So, how you can measure your engagement rate by reach? It’s very simple.

You divide your total number of interactions per post by your reach per post, and then you multiply the result by 100.

Social Media Engagement Metrics_ERR Infographic

Example: (10 likes + 10 comments + 5 reposts + 3 clicks) / 200 * 100 = 14%

Note: You can determine which are the most reliable social media interactions you take into account when calculating your total interactions. 

Furthermore, if you want to calculate an average engagement rate, let’s say for a campaign you run recently, you can add up all the ERRs of all the posts of this campaign, and divide by the number of posts.

Social Media Engagement Metrics_Average ERR Infographic

Example: 1st Post’s ERR: (1.2%) + 2nd Post’s ERR  (5%) + 3rd Post’s ERR (2.1%) / 3 = 2.76%

What is a Good Social Media Engagement Rate?

Let’s get this straight: there’s no universally good engagement rate for all social media. Each platform works with different algorithms, promoting posts based on various factors. So, we should consider the unique nature of each social medium to find out which are the best social engagement rates.

With a quick search, you’ll find out that even for each social medium, there are contradictory opinions on a good engagement rate. For instance, some say that on LinkedIn a good engagement rate is 2%, while other sources say 6%.

Our advice: You can get an idea if your social media engagement rate is good by comparing it with the actual average engagement rate per post for each network. For that, take a look below.

Social Media Engagement per Channel Chart

Source: Statista

So, that’s basically how you can measure your social engagement and understand if you’re doing a good job with your social content. Keep reading though, as we saved the best for the end.

Increasing Social Engagement Success Story: Duolingo

Duolingo is a popular language learning free app, that’s been around for a decade now, with 37 million active users per month. And it’s also a social media phenomenon!

Below we analyze Duolingo’s social media success story — especially on TikTok.

Duolingo seems to understand this rising social platform better than most brands and embraced TikTok marketing, by creating entertaining, short-video content that has little to do with language learning. Investing in fun and amusing content is the reason why its TikTok account saw tremendous growth in a brief time period.

For the record, in October 2021 Duolingo’s TikTok account had only 50,000 followers. However, due to the content strategy pivot, they managed to gain 1 million followers in one month, with 15 million likes, according to Today, Duolingo’s TikTok counts 6.2 million followers and 126.8 likes!

Isn’t that the definition of smashing social engagement, or what? Let’s put this under the microscope.

Duolingo creates regularly TikTok-dedicated, funny short videos, featuring its huge green owl mascot, Duo, with different storylines. The mascot has a unique character. It appears cute and smiling, but it’s somehow evil. Something that is perfectly aligned with Duolingo’s guilt marketing techniques.


Getting my steps in 😷 #duolingo

♬ original sound – Colin French

Even before these TikTok videos, there were trending evil owl memes, showing Duo threatening users who weren’t consistent with their language learning courses via the app.

Evil Owl Twitter Meme

Source: Twitter

So, Duolingo adopted its audience’s perception of the “evil owl” and leveraged it to become more authentic and engaging. Duo seems passive-aggressive and actually says some mean things, but in a cute and non-offensive way.

They even created a storyline with a fake lawyer offering legal services to anyone who’s been harassed by Duo.

Now, one of the latest storylines is Duo being in love with the famous singer Dua Lipa, so they keep posting videos of the owl admiring her. That’s how they keep Duo tied to pop culture and trending topics.


🧎‍♂️🧎‍♂️🧎‍♂️me rn #dualipa #dulapeep #duolingo #languagelearning #fyp #loml #proposal #romance

♬ original sound – 𝑨𝑴𝑩𝒀𝑨𝑹 – 𝑨𝑴𝑩𝒀𝑨𝑹

5 Key Takeaways from this Case Study

  • Duolingo’s team understood that entertaining video content is what people are looking for on TikTok.
  • They brought to life a fun mascot, with its character based on its audience’s perception.
  • They blended the audience’s mockery of their pushy techniques into their social media marketing.
  • They leverage storytelling and different storylines to keep their content fresh and stay on top of trends.
  • They are consistent with their posts, creating new ones several times per week.

We hope Duolingo’s success story got you inspired!

To Wrap Up

Last, we want you to remember that increasing your social media engagement takes time. Be consistent with posting, focused on high-quality, relevant content, and patient. The results will reward you.

You’ve got this!

Maira Volitaki

About Maira Volitaki

Just a content manager here who loves researching and writing about all things marketing. But when off-duty, you’ll find me lost in a mystery book or binge-watching TV shows... or petting the nearest dog! 🐶 Feel free to drop me a line on LinkedIn.