How To Improve Social Media Interaction

I try not to dwell too much on some of the behavior I see on social media. The chances are that I don’t know the whole story or I’m being cynical about human behavior or both or neither. But one facet of social media I keep thinking about is engagement, specifically on Twitter. I think about how to improve social media interaction. And when I mention social media I mainly mean Twitter because that’s my preferred platform.

Lately I keep seeing tweets from others who feel like they aren’t receiving the amount of engagement they’d like to have. This perceived or factual low engagement may come as no surprise considering all of the changes occurring on Twitter. The algorithm, not to mention the platform itself, constantly seems to be in a state of flux. But I didn’t write this post to complain about the changes on Twitter, including how it often hides replies.

Regardless of the mess that is Twitter, there are other factors at play that affect engagement. And all of these elements I discuss below are things that one can control to some degree. Though I have the book reviewer community in mind for this discussion, these tips are broadly applicable outside of the book review sphere. Last year I mentioned some of these action items when I posted about how to make book blog friends and grow your audience. I expand upon them in this discussion about how to improve social media interaction. Although the title of this post implies a focus on social media, I also share tips on how to improve blog interaction.

Interact on Twitter

It may seem obvious that one should interact on Twitter. But it’s not something everyone does. One of the first things I do when I see someone tweet about the lack of interaction they have is check whether they interact with others. Most of the time I find that they’re not responding to others’ tweets or sharing others’ posts.

I feel that most people join social media to generally find their community for whatever topic. If you want to feel like you’re a part of that community, then you have to interject yourself into it. If you sit on the sidelines, you won’t get noticed.

Additionally, because it takes time and effort to interact, people will often interact with those who do the same. In the business world it’s called a “return on investment.” If someone takes the time to respond to or share your tweets, but over time they see that you don’t reciprocate those actions, then don’t be surprised if they stop making an effort to engage with you. In other words, people like to interact with others who will interact with them. When you reciprocate an interaction, it’s a return on the other person’s time investment on you.

Plainly, start responding to people’s tweets. If you show an interest in what they have to say, there’s a good chance they’ll pay more attention to what you have to say as well.

Moreover, the more you interact with someone, the more often they’ll show up in your “For You” feed on Twitter. At least, this is something I’ve consistently noticed. (Pro tip: you can also make a public or private list of people whose posts you don’t want to miss.)

Share Others’ Posts

Another great way to interact is to share others’ posts. A simple retweet could be the first step to a long-term engagement “dialogue” with a fellow book reviewer. But don’t stop at just one retweet. If you like their content, continue to retweet whenever they have a new blog post to share. Again, if you respond to someone’s tweets and retweet their content, then they’ll probably reciprocate the time and interest you invested in them. You can also share a blogger’s post directly from their website in a tweet of your own. Just make sure to tag them in the tweet so they know you like that particular post!

However, don’t expect a 100% reciprocity rate. That’s unrealistic. The book review community is pretty good at understanding that everyone has lives outside of Twitter. They understand that we can’t spend every waking moment boosting others. Just do what you can in the time you set aside for this bookish hobby.

Blog Hop

If you also want to improve blog engagement, or would rather focus on bettering your blog statistics rather than Twitter interactions, then start blog hopping. I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical that blog hopping could improve blog engagement. However, I started to make more of an effort to blog hop at the beginning of 2023. To my surprise I started to see an increase in the number of likes and comments I received. Thinking back on it, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. This goes back to that “return on investment” notion. That is, because reading and replying to others’ posts takes time, bloggers will likely focus their own energy on those who reciprocate blog interaction.

In a perfect world this wouldn’t matter. But I’m certainly guilty of it. I appreciate when someone consistently takes the time to read my posts and comment on them. So I’ll try to consistently return the favor. I still try to interact as much as I can with others, but I’m only one person. I can’t be everywhere all at once and neither can your fellow bloggers, most of whom work full time, whether it’s paid or unpaid (e.g., managing a household) labor.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO), as defined by John at Tales from Absurdia, “is the practice of optimising your content to make it easier for search engines to index your blog in their search results.” To learn more about it, read John’s post as well as Jo Linsdell’s post.

Much like blog hopping, I didn’t make much of an effort with SEO until the last quarter of 2022. However, once I did I started to see more views on posts that I didn’t share much or at all on Twitter. While I found that SEO doesn’t typically generate visual engagement (i.e., likes or comments), it does improve blog viewership, which is visible in your blog statistics. If you don’t care as much about likes and comments, but want to improve visibility, then SEO is a must. It is slow to start because search engines have to start indexing your posts. But once it does, especially for books that aren’t discussed as much, you’ll see a difference in where your viewership comes from (i.e., social media vs. search engines).

Closing Remarks

There is definitely some overlap between each of these action items. You can do one or you can do them all. While the amount of time and effort put into these suggestions likely won’t return an equal amount of engagement, remember that many of us start out in the book community not knowing anyone. It will take time to build up a niche within the bookish community who you jive with and will happily interact with your content. Progress isn’t always linear. Some days you’ll receive more engagement with others. But if you’re consistent with the above tips, then I’m confident you’ll see an improvement in the amount of interaction you receive.

These are all things I did and continue to do. The amount of engagement I see now didn’t ratchet up over night. It took time and effort and consistency interacting with other bloggers whose content I appreciate and who I felt I could connect with.

However, I don’t know everything. So if anyone has other tips on how to improve social media engagement, leave me a comment so I and others can learn.

25 thoughts on “How To Improve Social Media Interaction

  1. Blog hopping is my number one way of engaging, and it does work! I’m not sure about Twitter anymore, I sort of stay away from it lately. It used to drive lots of views to my site but it doesn’t anymore. But maybe I should use it more, although I hate the new name!

    1. Yes, I eventually caved and have found blog hopping helps a lot. Of course, it does take time and it’s impossible for me to devote a good chunk of free time every day. I try to do some blog hop passes on the weekend if I don’t have time during the week. As for Twitter, there was a period of time where my engagement dropped, I think because they were tinkering often with the algorithm. But I figured it out again. Who knows what it’ll be like in the future!

  2. Excellent advice and thank you for including a link to my post. I agree with you on all of the points you raised. Time is always going to be limited but liking and/or sharing posts only takes a second. If you want to be part of the community you need to actively be part of the community.

    1. Thanks, Jo…and happy to link to your post! 🙂 Agree that it only takes a second to share a post on social media. Interaction doesn’t just fall in one’s lap without some effort!

    1. I’ll be the first to admit that it is a time sink, but for those who care about their blog statistics, it definitely helps. That aside, it’s also a nice way to find posts that maybe didn’t show up on your Twitter feed.

  3. This is really interesting. I’ve seen a couple of grumbly posts on twitter too but when I’ve looked, they haven’t seemed to be very active. One of the best things I love about Twitter is being able to jump into random conversations and start chatting. I do mean to promote other blogs but often forget. That is definitely something that I can do better at.

    1. Well, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one noticing those types of grumbly posts! I don’t like to subtweet much, so I just kept my mouth shut about it. But it’s those tweets that really made me start thinking about this more. Like you, I also love just being able to jump into a conversation to chat. I find that’s much more difficult on Instagram, which is why I still use Twitter a lot.

  4. Great post, Celeste – and thank you so much for including a link to my article.

    I’m yet to find a new social media home since leaving Twitter, but hopefully I’ll find one soon.

    I really need to get in on blog hopping more too, to be fair.

    Hope you’re well!

    1. Thanks, John! Always happy to link to your SEO post.

      Have you considered Blue Sky, or are you still exploring your options before making a decision?

  5. Great post! These are all really helpful tips. I’ve definitely noticed that they all make a difference. My blog hopping and social media engagement tend to wax and wane with my mood, and I’ve noticed that those changes do impact how much others interact with my content, as well. Search engines are where I get the majority of my views now. I’m still not that great at SEO, but even my little bit of extra effort in that area has impacted views a lot.

    1. Thanks! I’d like to think these tips are obvious to some of us who’ve been at it as long as us (or longer), but either there are some who genuinely don’t get it or who can’t be bothered. I know in the beginning it was a little confusing/intimidating to figure it all out. But you just have to jump in!

      Search engines are by far where I get most of my views now. I’m very pleased with how much SEO has helped. I’m not a wiz at it either…I just tinker with it until the Yoast SEO plug in gives me the green light, haha.

    1. Thanks, Mackenzie! I’m sure I could be doing more with SEO, but I just stick to the basics…once that Yoast SEO plugin gives the the green light, then I’m satisfied. Seems mainly to be all about key phrases & the number of times you use it in a post.

    1. You’re very welcome! I think they’re all fairly easy to do, especially retweeting posts by others.

  6. Completely agree about having to interact with others before expecting them to interact with you! I suspect some people think that just putting out content is enough, but if the point of social media is to be social, then we should be talking to the people in our community as well.

    I definitely see more interactions on my blog when I interact more with others and I think it helps build up blog friendships, I get more excited to see a post/comment from a familiar face and more likely to look at their blog if I realised I’ve not seen it in a while

    1. It took me a little while to grasp that concept…and once I did it took even longer still to “get noticed” by the more established reviewer community. It can feel a little clique-y when starting off, but I’ve found everyone to be quite nice and showing that you care about what others have to say really helps you become one with the community. 😛 So yes, I fully agree that the point of social media is to be social…it’s in the name!

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