The best social media checklist for maximum engagement

Before posting links to your content on social media, there are certain steps you should follow to ensure that your post reaches the right audience and gets the most engagement. Social media can sometimes be a fickle beast; one minute you’re raking in followers and making impressions, the next your posts seem to be drifting through the arctic tundra looking for likes.

The audience might not react to your posts as you hope, and putting time, money and energy into a good social media strategy can be a waste if you don’t see the intended results.

However, one thing is consistent with social media and that’s consistency. If you post regularly and plan your posts properly, you will see increased engagement and a steady growth in followers. Here are the steps you need to take with every post to ensure you get the most out of your social media strategy.

Make your posts purposeful

Take advantage of popular weekly hashtags such as #ThrowbackThursday to give your post more relevance. This can create consistency when you post and allows your audience to anticipate similar posts in the future.

The golden rule, however, is to not post for the sake of it. Don’t jump on the #MondayMotivation bandwagon just because you want to post on a Monday. Your posts need to have intent in order to stand out from the clutter.

This intent should be something useful for your audience – to provide information or advice, rather than simply selling your products. Get involved in discussions or simply have some fun, either way, have a reason for posting on social media.

Group of people having discussion

Create an engaging headline

If you know the purpose of your post, writing a great headline should be easier. Make it interesting and engaging to attract the attention of your followers. Your headline should be backed up by well-written content to keep your audience interested.

Some social media platforms are limited (i.e. Twitter allows 280 characters, Instagram allows 60 videos), but that shouldn’t stop you posting more than just a witty headline. You should give your audience a taste of what’s to come if they click on the link or watch your video.

Quotes can also be a great way to attract attention – but we’re not talking about cheesy quotes on a sunset picture. Adding an actual quote from your article or video is a good way to show the viewers what the link or video is about.

The headlines and quotes should provide context and value, so if your audience doesn’t check out your content, they can still get an idea of what it was about.

Give your brand a voice

Having consistent messaging, tone and vocabulary can help you establish stronger connections with your followers. This forms your brand’s voice and can be an amazing tool for storytelling and building trust.

Just like celebrities and influencers, brands that have a strong personality on social media tend to do well with their post engagement. A brand voice can attract attention to your business and ensures that your posts are consistent with your website and content.

Followers like familiarity so keep your voice the same across all platforms and outlets. Be authentic – your audience will trust you more if you’re not pretending to be something else.

Square professional microphone in studio booth

Embrace emojis

Straight text can be boring, especially for the younger generations. Emojis give your business the ability to express itself better, with fewer words. Emojis also encourage more engagement from the audience, improving your interactions by 48%.

Emojis can create additional meaning, context and nuances for posts. If you want to show sarcasm, use a side-eye emoji, if you want to show excitement, use the flame emoji. They make your posts stand out a bit more.

Don’t go overboard with your use of emojis, use one or two and make sure they are relevant. They should support your text and not make it hard for your audience to understand the message. Also, ensure that you know what the emojis mean, some have their own nuances that may give your post an entirely new meaning – we’re looking at the peach and eggplant emojis.

Post visual content

Visual content always gets the best engagement. Beautiful photos, videos, GIFs and graphics will encourage your users to pause while they scroll and read your post. The best media is video content; a Facebook video receives 135% more views than a photo.

Videos make information sharing more dynamic and interesting, as well as requiring less effort from your audience. They allow you to get more information across is a shorter space of time.

A post with a custom graphic or high-quality image can get 12% more impressions on Twitter than a regular Tweet. There are plenty of free online tools that allow you to create custom graphics. When it comes to photos, however, you’re better off creating your own. Social media users don’t respond well to stock images.

The benefit of visual content is that you can show your audience something, rather than tell them about it. Visual content packs a punch, so embrace it and start using the platform’s inbuilt video and story features, such as Facebook Stories, Instagram Live Video etc.

Instagram on a smartphone screen

Use relevant hashtags

Hashtags are a way of archiving your posts along with other related content from other users and brands. They allow your post to be found by people searching for that hashtag, and they can be used to group your posts together.

Using the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday allows you to share old content from the past, but make it more relevant. Anyone searching for #ThrowbackThursday on social media will be able to find your post, as well as thousands of others that used the hashtag. You can reach a wider audience through hashtagging.

Hashtags link conversations together – they allow users to debate and discuss points in a bigger dialogue. Using them increases the chances of your post being seen and they can increase likes by up to 70%. You can jump into trending conversations by including a hashtag on your post.

Social media platforms use hashtags slightly differently, also the basic premise of grouping is the same. Some have limits to how many hashtags you can use. On Facebook and Twitter, fewer hashtags actually lead to more engagement from your audience (the ideal number is one or two on Facebook and three to five on Twitter). Instagram is different, you can have numerous hashtags on one photo, ten being a good number.

Some brands have created their own hashtags for personal campaigns, such as #ToyotaStories, where Toyota will create a personalised music video every month for one of their loyal customers. This encourages Toyota drivers to use the hashtag when uploading posts about their vehicles.

Before you post, think about the conversation you’re hoping to start, or what attention you want to get from your content, and then use appropriate hashtags to become part of a bigger picture.

Track and engage with your audience

Once you post, the work doesn’t end there. You should track the performance of your posts and keep an eye on the comment threads. Engage with your audience when they raise concerns or ask questions.

Social media users want honest interactions with brands. Having a dedicated team to deal with customer services on social media is a great idea if you have the resources. Employing real people to monitor and respond to consumers’ requests is far better than using chatbots and automated responses. If you show your followers that you genuinely care, they’ll be more loyal and more likely to suggest your business to their friends and family.

By tracking the performance of your posts, you can make adjustments to your future posts. If you can see what your audience responds to, and what they completely ignore, you can make the necessary changes to your social media strategy.

To wrap up, being good at social media requires planning, personality and consistency. Create content that you know your audience will like, and engage with them in your comment sections. This checklist will maximise your post engagement if you follow the steps.

If you wish to partner with someone who knows how to apply the best practices to achieve your online goals, don’t hesitate to email us at


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