What does social media engagement really mean – and how to do it

Becci McEvoy

Be Heard Socials


You’ll have heard the term engagement bandied around a lot in the world of social media, but have you ever stopped to think what it really means and why you should do it?

To most people, social media engagement means just two things – likes and comments. That’s because those are the outward signs that people are responding to our content.

In fact, there are a whole host of other things that also count as engagement on – or as a result of – your posts, so make sure you take those into account too.

Other types of engagement include follows, direct messages, post saves, post shares, profile views, web traffic (from social), sales, downloads and video views.

Why is engagement so important on social media

Engagement is the lifeblood of social media and without it you’re just broadcasting.

Engagement helps you build a closer relationship with your followers. It allows you to get under their skin and understand what they want and need from you.

Engagement also sets you aside from other brands who ignore their customers and gets you seen by more people. Best of all – the algorithm loves engagement. In short, the more you engage, the more people will see your posts.

Proactive and reactive engagement

You’re probably familiar with the art of reactive engagement – that is, responding to comments and DMs sent to your accounts.

But how much time do you spend on proactive engagement? 

Not sure what that is? 

Proactive engagement is when you spend time actively engaging on other people’s content.

This could include:

  • Commenting on your ideal customers’ posts
  • Sending DMs or voice notes to potential customers 
  • Starting or joining in with conversations on other accounts
  • Using social listening tools to find brand mentions 

If you have a social media strategy, it should include a section on engagement.

If you don’t have a strategy or don’t currently bother with proactive engagement, I would urge you to factor it into your schedule. You’ll be amazed at the impact it can have.

Just recently we doubled one of my clients followers, by simply doing some proactive engagement for 15 minutes a day, Monday to Friday!

Quick tips to increase your proactive and reactive engagement  


  • Lots of platforms – including Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn – have a bell on each user’s profile. When you click the bell, you’ll be notified each time that account posts. This is a great way to quickly engage with your favorite influencers, brands and ideal customers.
  • When someone new follows your account, take a moment to check out their profile and like or comment on their most recent post. You don’t need to go all out with a follow back straight away.
  • Follow strategic hashtags so that you can easily find and join conversations that are relevant to you – these could be industry or location based.

This is what the bell looks like on Instagram and LinkedIn…


  • Respond to all comments on your posts – or at least as many as you can if you get hundreds a day!
  • Reply to all direct messages – there’s nothing worse than a company that ghosts its customers
  • Always include a call to action on your post, e.g. ask a question or invite people to DM you for more info. People are more likely to engage with your content when you give them a reason to
Be consistent with your engagement 

Being consistent with your engagement will make a huge difference to the success of your accounts, but I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed at the prospect.

The key is to be intentional and to make it part of your daily routine. Engage while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or set a 10-minute timer and put your phone down when the alarm goes off. 

Remember, it doesn’t have to be time consuming, none of social media does, if you do it right!

In fact, if you’d like my top five tips on how to save time on engagement and your socials in general, whilst still remaining consistent, feel free to download my free guide here.

In the meantime, follow the steps in this blog and watch your account grow!

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