How to Establish an Engagement Strategy

What is Social Media Engagement?

Think about social media engagement as all of the interactions you have with your followers, across all platforms. It’s LinkedIn and Facebook shares, Instagram likes and Twitter retweets all rolled into one.

Any chance you have to engage with your followers — a reply, a share or a like is a potential interaction that you can increase trust and grow your brand.

Consumers who trust you and your content will eventually become customers. 

Customers like to share recommendations to others — so they’ll eventually become ambassadors for your brand. 

This kind of organic sharing is the best possible scenario for social media engagement.

How to Engage on Social Media

Like most technology, approaches to social media are cyclical and they change rapidly. 

Today, bots are out.

Many social networks have set parameters around engagement, which limits possible bot actions. Social networks can now close your account if you’re caught using bots.

Authentic engagement is in.

You need to spend the time to like, comment and share other content. Or, if you’re not doing it yourself, you need to hire a social media agency to do it. No matter what social media platform(s) best fit your business, you need to be responsive.

Our top three recommendations to clients are: 

  • Build relationships
  • Be casual 
  • And be friendly.

If you need help establishing a voice on a social media platform, let us know

What’s included in a social media engagement strategy

Mapping out how your business will engage on social media is crucial to the success of reaching your target customers online. A social media engagement strategy will outline who and how you plan to interact. 

A few important sections we include in our engagement strategies are:

  1. Accounts of industry leaders
  2. Accounts with the same or similar target audiences 
  3. Industry-related hashtags
  4. Predetermined responses for different scenarios


At Smith Social, we always start with a social media strategy to plan how to reach your target customer. An engagement strategy is just one section of the plan. 

If you’re looking to increase your reach on social media, it might be time to consider implementing an engagement strategy. Don’t have time? Ask our team to help! Get started today by reaching out to us.


Instagram Third-Party Automation

Instagram Third-Party Automation – Is it too good to be true?

5,000, 10,000, 100,000…what is your Instagram follower goal? And, what lengths are you willing to go to achieve that goal?

Some brands and individuals have been turning to Instagram third-party automation services to help them grow their followings fast. Third-party automation services automate Instagram activities like commenting, liking, following, and unfollowing by having a bot facilitate these activities instead of a human.

Types of Third-Party Automations:

  • Follow/Unfollow: The automation bots follows a large quantity of Instagram accounts with the goal of people following the IG account back. Later the same bot unfollows all the accounts they originally followed. This grows the IG account’s followers while keeping the following number low
  • Mass ‘Liking’: The automation bot ‘likes’ thousands of photos per day based on set search parameters with the goal of gaining attention (i.e. profile visits and/or new followers).
  • Mass Commenting: The automation bot comments on thousands of photos per day based on set search parameters with the goal of gaining attention (i.e. profile visits and/or new followers).

So, does this automation actually work? On the surface, maybe you could call it a success. There is a good chance you will get new followers, but that doesn’t mean they will be within your company’s target audience. Some say it works well, and is very cost effective, but…

is the $15/month, too good to be true?!

Mass automated ‘liking’, commenting and following can easily be spotted by an Instagram user.

For example: We included ‘#travelgoals’ on a client’s Instagram post. We then received the following comments which are super generic and in no way related to the original Instagram post.

The problem with third-party Instagram automation services is that it violates Instagram’s Terms of Service, and creates an inauthentic environment on Instagram. Which Instagram dislikes.

Going against Instagram’s Terms of Service not only puts your Instagram account at risk, but your business too!

The Risks:

    • Account Suspension: Instagram recognizes when your account is connected to a third-party automation service, and can and will flag your account. A flagged account can be suspended from use for hours, days or indefinitely.
    • Security: You create a hole in your Instagram account security by sharing access to your account credentials with a third-party company not affiliated with Instagram. This opens up your account, brand, and business to cybercriminals.
    • Inauthenticity: Instagram users are not dumb, they catch on and recognize inauthentic interactions. This could hurt your brand reputation in the long run.

Where does this leave you? How then do you gain Instagram followers? If you are purely judging your social media success by the number of followers you have, you are severely missing the point of social media. Having more followers does not result in more meaningful analytics. In fact, automation does not guarantee engagement with your new followers. It is possible to have 10,000+ followers and only have .001% engagement. Wouldn’t your business rather have a smaller number of REAL followers/fans of your business with a higher engagement rate with your posted content?

Now that you know third-party automation is the inauthentic way to gain Instagram followers…let’s take a look at a healthier option for your business to use. 

The GaryVee $1.80 Strategy (ends at 5:46). This strategy works well but takes time. However, with this strategy you will gain more customer focused followers who view you as the industry expert you are.

Breakdown of Gary Vee $1.80 Strategy

$1.80, leave your two cents (a meaningful comment) on 9 of the top posts, 10 x per day.

$0.02 X 9 = $0.18 X 10 times = $1.80 

Before you implement any new social media tactic make sure to plan it out strategically. What are your goals? How long will it run? How will you track your results. How will you define its success?

Facebook Creator Studio

Using Facebook’s Creator Studio for Your Team

If you’ve been frustrated with the logistics of posting to Instagram, then you’re in luck!

Facebook just introduced their new Creator Studio scheduling tool that allows for any Facebook user to publish and manage the postings to any Facebook Business Page, as well as direct scheduling to any Business Instagram Account all in one scheduling interface. Yes, Creator Studio has come to redefine the ‘mobile only’ posting rule of Instagram! (insert cheers)

The current way you’ve been scheduling on your Facebook page will be moved (if it hasn’t already) over to Creator Studio. In Creator Studio you will have all the same options as before to create and schedule your Facebook posts. Including an option to Go Live.

Under the Instagram posting section, the interface will be similar to that of Facebook but with Instagram post specific details (including location tagging). Creator Studio is currently providing the scheduling options for images and videos to your Instagram feed as well as the scheduling of IGTV videos. However, the scheduling of InstaStories is not included at this time.

Setting it Up

To get started with Creator Studio, visit https://facebook.com/creatorstudio and click ‘Log in with Facebook’. Once connected to your personal Facebook login, it will automatically pull in the Facebook pages and Instagram accounts you are currently admin of.

How to Use

Here is a quick overview on how to use Creator Studio for Facebook and Instagram scheduling.



The Benefits

  1. Creator Studio allows for one central scheduling interface for you entire team to be able to manage your Facebook and Instagram posts. Allowing you to view when others have scheduled posts out.
  2. Your team will access Creator Studio through their own personal Facebook login. No more sharing passwords.
  3. Anyone with admin access to your Facebook Business Page will have access to the Facebook page in Creator Studio. However, each admin’s available features in Creator Studio is dependent on their admin role (i.e. Admin, Editor, Moderator, etc.) on the Facebook page.
  4. When your Instagram business account is connected to a Facebook Business Page, it will automatically be pulled into Creator Studio.
  5. Anyone with admin access to you Facebook Business Page will have access to the Instagram account in Creator Studio. Again, features will be dependent on admin’s role.
  6. You can manage all admin access levels in your Facebook Business Manager.
  7.  And, Creator Studio is FREE!!



Two Types of Hashtags You Should Be Using

Two types of hashtags you should be using on your social media posts

Hashtags have now been around for over a decade. The first hashtag was used by Chris Messina in August of 2007 on Twitter. Chris had the idea to use a hashtag to categorize a group’s discussion or an online conversation on Twitter. Over Benny Pointingthe years hashtags have spread from Twitter across multiple online platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, as well as entering into our text and verbal communications.

Hashtags were originally meant for discussing certain events or topics of conversation. While this is still the case on many social networks, hashtags are becoming exceedingly popular being used to further describe the subject of a post or to create a humorous bit. Many of these hashtags become one-off hashtags that aren’t found on multiple social media posts. While this is creative and fun on a casual communication level, they don’t add value to your business’ social media posts. These hashtags won’t get your content seen.

However, there are two types of hashtags your business should be using to help increase the reach of your content.


1. Common use hashtags

A common use hashtag is a hashtag that has the highest count of usage across a particular social media network. Common use hashtags can have thousands or even millions of posts that contain a specific hashtag in the post description. Sometimes these can be popular words or phrases to categorize a certain subject; for example: #bunnies, #rabbit #bunnylove

To determine what the common use hashtags are for your business, start with listing out possible hashtags for your industry. Next research how many posts are currently using each hashtag on a particular social network. For example, on Instagram you can type the hashtag into the search bar and Instagram will give you the current number of posts that contain the searched hashtag. Add this number next to the hashtag name. Creating a small chart like the pictured example will create a visual representation of which hashtags are the most popular in your industry.

Common Use Hashtags

* Note: If you are using Instagram and Twitter in your social media strategy, make sure to research your hashtags for Twitter and Instagram separately. Hashtags that are popular on Instagram are not always popular on Twitter.


2. High growth hashtags

High growth hashtags are hashtags that don’t necessarily have the highest count of posts but are growing at a faster rate than other hashtags. High growth hashtags are a good indication for where a current conversation or trend is taking place. If you can identify high growth hashtags for your industry, you will have the opportunity to join an active online conversation and greatly increase the reach of your content.

To determine which hashtags from your common use hashtag list are also high growth hashtags, add two more columns to your chart. Wait 24 hours and recheck the post count for each hashtag. Add this number in the next column. After inserting all the numbers into the chart, you can then calculate the growth rate percentage with the formula below:

Growth Rate Percentage = (New Post Count – Original Post Count/Original Post Count) * 100

Calculate the growth rate percentage for each hashtag and insert into the last column of the chart. Identify which percentages are the highest. Identify which hashtags have the highest use count and which hashtags have the highest growth rate. Are they the same hashtags?

High Growth Hashtags

*Note: It is best practice to calculate high growth hashtags for your industry once a quarter to make sure you are still using the fastest growing hashtags.


Benny Sitting

Calculating common use and high growth hashtags will give you a solid plan for utilizing hashtags on your social media posts and working towards increasing your content reach. Using a combination of each type of hashtag is best practice. If you have any questions about setting up a hashtag strategy, contact us for a free consultation.