So you’ve read the how-to guides, followed best practice and created your business Facebook page and the likes are rolling in – terrific! But how do you keep the bodies behind those likes actively engaged so they don’t turn into that most dreaded of Facebook phenomena, the unlike?

Here are the unwritten rules of (social media) engagement to retain your followers on Facebook, Twitter and pretty much every other social platform on the world wide web:

Keep your content relevant 

Make sure you are posting interesting and original content that is relevant to your business. Let’s face it, your fans are following you because of what you do or what you offer – veering too far from that will only lead to confusion and unfollows.

Keep your posts short and punchy (Twitter gives you no choice with a limit of 140 characters per Tweet!); attention spans are dwindling with the advance of technology and lengthy posts are at risk of being overlooked.

Don’t overly self-promote

A little self-promotion is expected – after all, you’re using social media to market your business – but remember that push marketing is dead. If you truly want your target audience to engage with you and turn into qualified leads, focus on pull tactics instead, by offering them something valuable, like this informative article (wink-wink).

You should be thinking about what you can offer your followers as a small reward for liking you and hearing what you have to say. Share deals or specials – find small ways to enrich peoples’ lives with the content you post.

Don’t post too much

If people wanted spam they’d be reading their Junk Mail inbox. Be careful of posting too frequently, especially on Twitter. It’s a sure-fire way to lose some followers. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect formula to determine how often you should be posting on social media – you will need to analyze your interaction and audience responses over time. However, Buffer Social have offered this handy infographic as a guide.

Don’t post too little

On the flipside, don’t let your social media page become a content desert. Even a few weeks of inactivity will halt your follower growth and can have adverse future effects on your brand.

Don’t post too much of the same 

Variety, as they say, is the spice of life, so (while still keeping it relevant) try and keep your posts varied and interesting. Develop a well-thought-out social media plan and execute it, while analyzing the insights constantly and tweaking your strategy if need be.

Take note of the posts which are receiving most of that oh-so-crucial form of validation – the Facebook like, and use that knowledge to generate more content in the same vein.

Respond to posts, comments and messages – even negative ones

There’s nothing worse than Tweeting a valid question at someone or posting on their Facebook page and receiving no response. In fact, it could lead to well, a missed lead. Stay on top of your notifications and messages and respond to all comments.

Offer thank-yous to those who post positive comments and respond levelly to the negative ones. Responding well to a negative comment could well turn that complaint into an unexpected brand benefit, and turn your own frown upside down.


This article first appeared on Ignite Media.