So what exactly is social media engagement, and why is it on everyone’s to-do list these days? A brief working definition of the term is the act of interacting with your audience both interactively and with a certain degree of helpfulness.

It’s just not enough these days to get hundreds or thousands of followers or fans if you’re completely disconnected from them. The entire point of a social web is to make these connections, so we thought we would think of a few tips to help our readers get the job done. (And as always, comments and suggestions are appreciated!)

6 Methods for engaging your followers and fans better in 2014

    Use graphics and videos – If you haven’t observed this by now, we are a herd that likes to look and watch. Videos and images are a great deal more apt to be looked at and acted upon. In some cases, actions are 4X those of posts that offer no visual element.

    Brand evangelists – Having your clients rave about you, especially on video can make a huge difference with regard to social proof. Even better if you don’t need to solicit it. (Make sure you thank them and snag it for your use as well!)

    Contests – Often a small token of appreciation goes a very long way. Rewarding readers with branded merchandise, or something that’s not, is an outstanding way to build brand loyalty.

    Get mobilized! – Since over 60 percent of mobile time is spent on social media, it’s only wise to meet your peeps where they are!

    Shout-outs to customers – Who doesn’t like to feel appreciated? An easy way to build a raving fan base is to promote your Facebook shout-outs on all your social media outlets, and watch the reach grow!

    Ask questions – Ask relevant questions, encourage interaction, and get people thinking about your products and services in new ways. How do you use our lovely blue widget?

If you’ll begin 2014 using at least some of these methods of engagement, we think you’ll be very pleased with the results!