I was asked recently to help explain how to create engaging content in an accessible way for anyone to be able to do.

Ever hoped when you click ‘Post’ you were going to actually get some returns for your hard work? Thought so! Then you need to read this.

And it’s not the first time the question has come up. Still, what’s certain is that there is [as usual] no universal law that always works. But some conventions really do significantly help your engagement. Here’s my top five for you:

1. Ask the right questions – not everyone wants to admit a vulnerability in public. So, if you’re asking people to share “a time when you failed”, you’ll probably get far less a response than if you ask them “a time when you learned a lesson”. Think about what you’re getting people to do. Simply put, you get better responses when they are made to look good.

2. Encourage a share – Produce something that’s going to make your audience seem thoughtful, interesting or exciting when they share it. A great way to do this is the “short and sweet” post. In this, you take a popular or trending opinion and summarise it in three or four words. The result? You’re the one that just nailed a commentary in a nutshell – people love that. Essentially, write content that will make people ‘look good’. Think about it: you’d only share someone’s content if it boosted your profile, wouldn’t you? Help others to do the same.

3. Ask them a question – Asking for answers or opinions is usually a great way to stimulate conversation as well as get insights from your audience. You want people to engage right? So give them their opportunity on a plate.

4. It’s your engagement, not just your content, that matters – the more you engage with your audience, the more they will come back. So any likes, shares or comments should be followed up with a reaction from you. Perhaps just share a post of gratitude, or drop an avid follower a message thanking them for their engagement. And, when responding to comments, ask another question – this gets conversations going and promotes yet more engagement.

5. Be human – or more specifically, be social! Users don’t tend to go onto Facebook or Instagram with a credit card in their hand, right? Of course not! They want to check out the latest news or gossip from their friends. If you’re too commercial or formal, it doesn’t really resonate with the purpose of the platform.

What works for you? Are there any other tips you’d share? Comment below and let me know any hacks you’ve found generate great engagement.