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Digital marketers often identify social media as one of the best forms of content marketing, but it can often feel like we’re just going through the motions. If the social media content isn’t attracting leads, what good is it? It’s likely you just need a quick boost in strategy to make sure your content is appealing to your target audience and getting inbound requests and messages.
In fact, 90 percent of social media users have used the platform to communicate directly with a business before. So if none of your customers or followers are reaching out to you, it’s a telltale sign that something should be changed. Ideally, you’ll post a picture or video with a robust caption that offers value and the floodgates will open: direct messages, likes, comments and queries should start coming (or even just trickling at first) in, proving that your content struck a chord and inspired action. Not there yet? Here are four ways to bolster your strategy to attract those leads.
Related: Content Marketing Secrets for Every Social Media Platform
1. Focus your content on interesting stories
How much does your content dive into stories? They don’t have to be your personal stories. Stories of past clients, stories of other inspiring entrepreneurs or even folklore stories can be used to establish your point. Stories of other people who just went for it and found massive success are powerful too. It helps readers or viewers imagine themselves in the shoes of the story’s protagonist. These stories can be shared in captions or in the post itself through videos.
Lenney Leong is the founder of Get Customers. He’s had success creating video content around stories, with over 7.2 million views and counting. He advised me to make sure you engage from the start. A long, roundabout story will do little to draw viewers in. “Set the stage for the story from the first sentence, or by the title of the video,” Leong noted. “Be straightforward so people know they should stay engaged throughout the storytelling and know what to expect.” Leong has garnered many inbound conversations as a result of this storytelling. And it’s worth noting that videos perform best on Instagram, seeing 49 percent higher interactions.
2. Do a poll asking what type of content people want most
Instagram has many interactive features in its Story functionality. Use them! If you feel like you’re unsure what your followers really care about, utilize the poll to see for sure. It’s possible you’ve been creating content for something they’re peripherally interested in, but they are really curious about how you created your product’s landing page or how you scaled your company one year in. Instagram influencers and bloggers swear by the functionality, especially because it can have surprising results. You may think your followers want one type of content when really they want another.
Be open to what you haven’t yet considered. In addition to the polls (where followers can choose one of two options), also use the “Question and Answer” functionality so people can submit, in their own words, what they most want you to talk about.
Related: 3 Keys to a Highly-Effective Content Marketing Strategy
3. Host a Q & A on Facebook or Instagram Live
While using the story functionalities is a great way to glean some initial insights, it also depends on what your viewers are doing when they flip through your story and if they currently have the time, interest, or energy to engage. “Another great way to bolster your content strategy is to host a Q&A on Facebook or Instagram live,” says Sarah Lefebvre, CEO of Localiz. “Followers may be more likely to submit questions if you’re going to answer in real-time, and you can tell by the questions or engagement that you’re getting as you navigate different topics what is resonating the most.”
Even better — since only a fraction of your audience will tune in for the live, you can use the answers you gave and strategies you talked about in future posts. Save the video, take notes, and convert into posts of their own. Now that you know for sure it’s something people are interested in!
Related: How Your Business Can Capitalize on Facebook Live
4. Make sure you have a call to action in every post
Finally, it sounds so simple but is often overlooked. Make sure there’s a call to action in every single post! It doesn’t have to be the same every time, but use something like, “Message me if you’re interested,” or “Follow me for more content like this.” Even asking viewers to comment with a watermelon emoji if they are also looking forward to summer drives engagement and lets you know who is paying attention to your posts.
Without a call to action, people simply don’t know how to engage. Be clear, state what you’re looking for, and give plenty of direction to viewers and followers — all of which leads to a direct message conversation or whichever KPI matters most to your business.
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This article originally appeared on entrepreneur.com