Engagement. Forget about diamond rings and promises to wed, engagement means something different altogether to social media marketers. Marketers seek to gain engagement with their posts by getting users (the people active on social media) to like, comment on, or share their posts. In this blog, let’s review exactly what likes, comments, and shares are, and how they increase your page’s engagement.
Liking a post is easy. Liking takes only one click. On Twitter and Instagram, a user can click the heart icon below on a post to like it. This will make that person’s username appear in the list of users that liked the post. On Facebook and LinkedIn, a user can like a post by selecting the thumbs up icon. Facebook and LinkedIn take likes a step further. In addition to liking a post, a user can change their like into a reaction. The reaction menu appears when the user either hovers over or clicks and holds down on the thumbs up icon. On Facebook, there are five reactions (other than the like option): love, haha, wow, sad, and angry. On LinkedIn, there are four reactions (other than the like option): celebrate, love, insightful, and curious. LinkedIn and Facebook sort reactions by category. So, when a user views who liked a post, they can see all reactions or different lists of users for each type of reaction. For example, a post could have received 372 reactions total, of which 322 were likes, 27 were celebrate, and 23 were love.
The more likes (or reactions) a post receives, the more people will see the post. Getting more likes is one of marketers’ engagement goals for that reason. Although, don’t put too much stock in likes because they are not the most engaging. You cannot like users’ likes on your post, in other words, when someone likes your post, you don’t have the opportunity to engage back. As a business, if you like a post from another page, it may get your username seen by viewers of the post. However, usernames can get buried in the long list of likes. Liking other posts will not help as much as commenting in increasing the traffic to your page.
Comments are added when a user clicks the chat bubble icon. This allows a user to type a response to the post. (Note, on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram these are called comments, but on Twitter, the title is reply.) Most commenting is completed though text entry (with the occasional emoji), but some platforms allow for the addition of images, GIFs, and stickers.
As with likes, the more comments a post receives, the more people will see the post. However, comments have more weight than likes in social media algorithms, so five comments are worth more than five likes . Comments are great because they give the opportunity for you to continue the conversation. When a user comments, you can like their comment and reply to it. When you comment on other pages, you stand out from the crowded likes list and many pages will reply to you.
Shares (known as retweets on Twitter) allow a user to take an entire post from another page and share it with their followers. Sometimes the user will add their own caption to the post before sharing or they might share as is. Most often, user will share the post to their feed or story for all their followers to see. However, depending on the platform, a user may share with select people via a direct message, email, Facebook group, copied link, or other social media account.
Shares increase the number of views on your post because the sharers take your post and put it in front of that user’s followers, people that may not have seen it otherwise. This can also prompt these new viewers to like, comment on, or share your post (increasing your post’s engagement) or follow your page. Remember that sharing brings your content to more viewers. Therefore, many shares of your posts will help your business get in front of more eyes. But, if you share another page’s posts, you will be helping their content show up for your followers, not the other way around (your content in front of their followers).
All in all, likes, comments, and shares are all great forms of social media engagement. Prioritize them in this order: 1) shares, 2) comments, and 3) likes. Now, head to a social platform to see them in action!