[caption id="attachment_3605" align="aligncenter" width="509"]Follow these tips to increase engagement in your social media channels. Follow these tips to increase engagement in your social media channels.[/caption]

If your content is not getting the kind of engagement you’d like, you’re not alone.

No matter how well you plan out your marketing efforts, you might not get the kind of interaction with your audience you’re hoping for, making it difficult to tell how effective your social marketing is.

It doesn’t mean you should give up. A recent study showed that about 22 percent of Americans visit social media sites more than once a day, and 23 percent of adults visit Facebook five times or more seven days a week. That same study shows that about 47 percent of those surveyed said Facebook influences their purchasing—up from about 23 percent in 2011.

So marketing your brand—in some form—is important on social media. What you’re looking for is ways to increase your engagement and, like it or not, it probably isn’t direct marketing that will bring that to you. Here are some other ideas:

Ask Questions
You know the old saying about opinions: everyone has one. Others may want to make a quick quip. In one way or another, everyone wants to be heard and asking questions on your social media channels is a great way to increase engagement. Let your customers weigh in with their opinion, tell a joke or show off their own knowledge. If you run an auto repair shop, post pictures of an odd looking part and ask people to guess what it is, or come up with some other auto-related trivia. You can also ask them to share their own maintenance tips.

Keep it light
Everyone has a rough day once and a while and social media can help alleviate the ‘slings and arrows’ of every day life. You can be a ray of sunshine, slice of optimism or well-needed smile to your customers—and you’ll build up a better relationship with them, too. Post pictures of puppies, or ask your customers to tell a funny story about them or their children.

Get up close and personal
When your customers connect with you on a personal level, they’re more likely to do business with you. Give them a glimpse of your life outside of your autoshop—you child’s soccer game, a nice vacation picture. You could also take candid photos of what it’s like behind the scenes of your shop—those can also be light-hearted in tone, as long as they don’t cause people to question the quality of work you do.

When in doubt, inspire
Everyone loves a good quote that speaks to their soul or describes their tenacity in the face of adversity. There are virtually an unlimited number to choose from; find a site like quotegarden, which lists them according to category, select a few and then schedule them a certain time of the day. Ask your customers what the quote reminds them of, or how it makes them feel.

[caption id="attachment_3604" align="alignright" width="300"]A free image and some quick work in Microsoft Paint can turn anything into an inspirational graphic. A free image and some quick work in Microsoft Paint can turn anything into an inspirational graphic.[/caption]

Posts with quotes are so popular on social media; you can’t scroll through your newsfeed for more than two seconds without seeing one. Keep your customers’ perspective in mind, and don’t post anything they may find offensive.

For added effect, find a free image site and pair your quote up with a nice landscape picture, a sunrise or sunset. Most computers have at least a basic ‘paint’ software, and that’s all you need. Just open the picture up, select the text tool and experiment with colors. You can also find free meme templates.

Share relevant content
Believe it or not, you don’t have to do it all on your own. Think about blogs your customers may read. Share those, as long as they’re not competitors. If you run an autorepair shop, you can easily find pictures of classic cars to share—those are popular and they will help increase engagement. Post a picture of a Mustang Fastback, then ask your audience what their favorite car or first ride was. It may not translate directly into sales, but it’ll help build a relationship with customers. (And there’s nothing wrong with pointing out that your mechanics are qualified to work on classic American muscle cars, too). There are lots of businesses that offer products and services that complement your brand. They’ll probably appreciate the extra exposure, too.

Those are some of our ideas on how to increase engagement. What are yours? Let us know in the comments.

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