Leandro Cabrini, Virgin StartUp mentor and founder of Wild Yeast Media – a digital marketing agency focused on wine-related businesses – shares six tips with us that he uses to keep followers engaged across his company’s social media channels.

1. Know your audience

The first step to winning on social media is to know your audience. You need to know exactly who your target market is and how they behave on social media. What do they like? What do they normally talk about? What channels are they using and when are they active? Are there any online communities they are a part of? The best way to understand their behaviour is testing and learning. Try different types of content and posting times; be curious, go into their profiles and see what they are sharing. LISTEN. Get into their minds and you will understand how they think and what they like. It is a lot about putting yourself in their shoes.

2. Quality always wins

Sometimes we struggle to create good quality content. Everyone does. It is very difficult to consistently produce excellent blog posts and interesting headlines, but this is definitely the best way to keep your audience engaged. If you read an article that’s not interesting, you are probably not going to comment or share it with anyone. The same applies to your audience. Give them something that makes them think and start a conversation, something that adds value to their life. Then they will be happy to share it.

3.  Give and you shall receive

Putting out high-quality content is important but interaction with relevant accounts is almost on the same level. You need to put yourself and your company out there. With the large amount of information flooding people’s feed every second, you can’t expect to stay still and wait for people to come to yours by chance. Yes, you can use ads to get traffic but this is not only about awareness – this is about getting people to know you and making them feel that you care about them. When you reply to every comment on your posts and like or comment on other people’s pictures, you are creating a relationship between you and your audience. If someone took the time to read what you wrote, the least you can do is say a simple thanks. This takes time but it's definitely worth it if you are planning to run a successful social media strategy!

4. Authenticity is key

I have seen lots of people with limited knowledge about strategies, channels and algorithms doing quite well on social media. Why? Because they are 100% authentic and they have built a very relevant audience. This normally takes a very long time but it pays off. Many people spend time engaging with accounts that are not that relevant to them: they may provide an extra follower and a couple of likes in the short term, but are ultimately useless for their business. If you are thinking about running successful and engaging campaigns in the long term, I believe you should focus on creating meaningful relationships with your audience. People can see when you are being authentic and this will make your connection with them much stronger, leading to more engagement.

5. Learn the rules and use them in your favour

Social media algorithms and rules are changing all the time. You can choose to see this in two ways: as something annoying or as an advantage for your business, and we all know which one is the correct way. Knowledge is power and in this case you need to know what’s happening around you to be able to plan and stay ahead of your competition. If you know that Facebook is distributing video content a lot more than other formats (some people say the organic reach is around four times higher!), you can start producing more videos. The rules will always be there, but it’s up to us to learn how to use them in our favour.

6. Adapt!

Creating a great strategy and having every move planned in advance is a very good starting point but, as we all know, social media is always changing. Adapting to these changes is crucial to keeping your followers engaged. Let me go a little bit further: everyone is fighting for people’s attention online so you have to be aware of relevant trends and everything that’s happening around you. If what you planned is no longer applicable or there is a trending topic that can help you reach lots of relevant people, don’t hesitate in adjusting your strategy a bit! I’m not saying you should change every day, but if an opportunity arises then make sure you are ready to take it!

Final thoughts

Remember, audiences are people like you and I. Don’t overcomplicate things; keep it simple, authentic and consistent and you will have great results. In order to keep your audience engaged, try to learn something new about social media every now and then. Write thoughtful captions, make people question what they know and give them something valuable. If you do that consistently, sooner or later it will come back to help you. I promise!