Engaging followers on social media to boost your brand's popularity is a fine art. Undoubtedly, your audience is spending a sizable chunk of their time on social, but there are way too many things competing for their attention there.
If you don't want to simply get scrolled past in the news feed, you need a better social media strategy. And to build one, you need to experiment with different techniques. Today, we're going to take notes from the pros. Here are 5 social media hacks to get the right people to notice your brand, engage with your content, and share your posts.
1. Starbucks—Involve your audience in your campaign
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well, what if you could share your product's best pictures on Instagram... by getting your followers to do it for you? That's exactly what Starbucks has done with a host of seasonal hashtags.
Starbucks constantly encourages followers to share their photos and, over time, has built a very active community of coffee lovers. They post their photos, and Starbucks shares the ones they like best.
As a result, the photo-taker gets attention and accolades, reinforcing the positive affinity they have for the brand. And Starbucks gets to spread beautiful pictures of their product that drive more engagement with their content.
You too can explore this option, starting by building a small community of users who love your product. Invite them to share pictures of themselves using your product, and watch how a win-win game can score points both for you and for your audience.
2. Just Eat—Hashtag your giveaways
Giving away freebies isn't exactly a groundbreaker in business strategy, but there's a better way to gain maximum impact. The food delivery app Just Eat nails this practice. It's constantly running themed contests and food giveaways that ask users to tag their friends, send in entries, and generally join in the fun. As a result, for every item given away, Just Eat earns a great deal of traction and puts people in just the right mood for ordering food. #FindYourFlavor, #JustEatUK and #StrangerThings2 are just a few examples.
3. Lyft—Start a conversation
"While rival Uber is an efficient delivery service, Lyft is seeking to differentiate itself by offering a combination of ‘humanity and technology."Kira Wampler, Lyft CMO
Lyft crafts its social media strategy in that same vein by posting customer reviews, messages and conversations on their Twitter page. It aims to establish an identity as a warm, friendly taxi experience that nurtures relationships and cares about every single passenger. In fact, fantastic customer service has been Lyft's calling card from the start, so playing it up on social media is a smart, brand-consistent move.
We all want to do business with brands that make us feel special.  Forming personal relationships through conversation is basic human nature. You too can try exhibiting your warm, personal side by sharing users' comments and conversations on your profile.
4. Pokémon Go—Roll out teasers before major updates
Pokémon Go brought augmented reality gaming to the masses and attracted a huge fanbase in very little time. However, with shrinking attention spans, the initial excitement could've fizzled out quickly if they didn't find ways to keep the buzz going.
Fans of Pokémon Go are treated to small doses of upcoming excitement through a regular cadence of trailers and teasers. The anticipation for new levels, more items, and higher scores is enough to make fans look forward to playing every update, making it one of the highest grossing games ever.
If you have a major update coming out, tease your followers with alluring clues, images and videos. This will keep the excitement alive until the update is finally out.
5. Angry Birds—Have a little fun with games
Angry Birds has been on social media since 2009, and from the start, their team has infused their brand's personality with the fun of gaming. They are constantly running fun contests, posting fan artwork, giving away extra lives, and adding a light touch of humor to everything they post.
Plus, it's not just your typical "share to win" giveaways. Contests come with clues and incentives to lure people into downloading the app. Riddles, puzzles, cryptic images and poems, it's all there to keep users tuned in. Sometimes all it takes is a little fun and games to keep your audience engaged.
Now you have 5 tried-and-tested strategies straight from the pros. These techniques can be adjusted and applied to nearly any brand willing to experiment with creative flair. The idea is to build connections and foster relationships with your users so you become part of their social lives. Try one (or more!) of the above tips and see how your audience responds—you might be surprised at your success.