If you’re a brand that uses social media platforms to promote your business, then you know the pressure to create content that is engaging, helpful, and relevant to your audience. This pressure mounts even higher as more businesses in your industry (your competitors) start hopping on these platforms and putting out content too.
Now you have to figure out the kind of content that will increase your audience, prompt your existing followers to react to your posts, and keep your brand top of mind. A great way to do this is to create interactive social media posts.
Since interactions are the currency in the digital world, it makes perfect sense to create posts that attract attention, get people to engage (through likes, comments, shares, etc.), and take your brand to the next level.
Read on to find out what interactive content is, why you should create it, and some interactive social post ideas you can implement this year.
What is interactive content?
Interactive content, especially for social media, refers to posts that require users to actively interact with them. Now, you might be thinking: Doesn’t that make all kinds of social media content interactive since you can like, comment, and share them with others?
No. Not really.
Interactive content goes beyond the regular posts you see every day on your Facebook feed. The like, comment, and share features are present across all social media platforms; you can use them for all kinds of content.
Interactive social media posts, on the other hand, are carefully crafted to leave a lasting impression in the minds of your audience that goes way beyond just ‘liking’ and sharing the post. This could be something as simple as just asking a question to something as sophisticated as an immersive experience.
The messaging in interactive posts is usually personalized to fit the target audience and encourages people to share their ideas, opinions, and comments on a specific topic. Unlike regular social content, the users’ responses determine an interactive social post’s direction. So people will have a different experience with each post based on their own ideas or responses.
Why should you create interactive social media posts?
If you’re a brand, there are two main reasons why you should create interactive social posts: to increase audience engagement and brand awareness, and to learn more about your audience.
Increasing audience engagement and brand awareness
As a brand, your audience expects you to publish high-quality content. That’s the main reason your followers ‘follow’ you. But it can be difficult to consistently come up with engaging and unique social media posts. That’s why many social media marketers just create content for the sake of publishing something, and then they wonder why their content isn’t attracting any new followers or increasing brand exposure.
The best way to fix the lack of engagement is to create interactive content. Do this by approaching every piece of content you create with an interaction-first mindset. As you craft each post, ask yourself: How can my audience get actively involved in this post?
Social media algorithms measure engagement through likes, comments, and shares, so each post needs to generate at least one of those forms of engagement. This shows the algorithms that your content is valuable and relevant to your audience, so they push your posts to the feeds of people who don’t yet follow you but might be interested in the kind of content you create.
A simple trick to increase engagement is to create fun, trendy content. For example, you can create content that fits in with popular social holidays, such as National Pizza Day and National Love Your Pet Day. They can vote on the best pizza toppings or share photos of their pets. When they do, comment on their photos and let them know that you’re a real person who appreciates their support.
Make Fridays fun by sharing interactive memes and pictures that your audience can react to and share their opinions on. This way, you’re encouraging them to speak with you and with other people in your audience.
Not only would people know that your page is a reliable source of information, but they’ll also know that you share content that makes people laugh and feel good about themselves. There’s nothing more appealing to people than when you make them feel good.
Learning more about your audience
Social media is one of the first places you go to when you want to do market research, find out the current trends in your industry, and understand what people expect from a brand in your industry. However, there’s no better way to know what your audience expects from your brand than to ask them.
But not every post you make has to be a survey. You can incorporate your questions into your social media posts in different ways to get their opinions, ideas, and suggestions on any topic of your choice. You can learn about their pain points, challenges, and some potential solutions that you can provide for them. This can inform future content you create or even the products (or features) you put out.
How to create great interactive posts
To create interactive posts that people love and engage with, here are some things you need to do:
1. Know your audience
Before you post anything on social media, you should know the kind of people you’re trying to reach. This is especially important if you have a product you want to promote. In that case, you’ll need to define a buyer persona and then create content that will appeal to that person.
To define your ideal buyer, you’ll need to collect some information about the people who are most likely to patronize you. This information includes:
- Demographic (age, gender, location, education level, annual income, languages spoken, relationship status, etc.)
- Interests (favorite (and least favorite) social media platform, favorite content types, favorite brands, what they like to do in their free time, favorite holidays/sports/movies, etc.)
- Profession (job title, industry, challenges/pain points, goals, etc.)
- Buying motivations and concerns
Knowing this information about your audience allows you to prioritize the social platforms that matter, create content that resonates with them and solves their challenges, and be more intentional with your ad targeting.
For example, if your audience mainly comprises people over 50, your posts should be relatively simple and easy to understand. But if you’re targeting Gen Zs (ages 18-23), you can incorporate trendy slang, memes, and pop culture into your posts without fear of being misunderstood.
2. Come up with a targeted strategy
Just like other elements of your overall content marketing strategy, your interactive posts should have a coherent message that is relevant and valuable to your target audience. So to get the results you’re looking for, you’ll need to carefully plan your social media strategy according to all you know about your audience.
What topics, events, or holidays do your social media followers care most about? What do they want to see on your page? What content formats have worked well for you in the past?
Check your profile to see the ideas and posts that people have previously engaged well with and try putting a new, interactive spin on it. If you’re targeting a fairly young audience, capitalize on current events and social trends to get more buzz to your page.
However, while you do this, make sure that everything ties back to your brand and the industry in which you operate. So if you’re a beauty brand, you shouldn’t be making an interactive infographic about the World Cup or the Wimbledon tournament unless there’s a beauty angle you could take.
For example, the Super Bowl 2023 happened in February. News about the Super Bowl itself might not pique the interest of a beauty-focused audience. But you could make an interactive graphic about that moment where Rihanna touched up her makeup in the middle of her Super Bowl performance.
3. Separate content for each social media platform
Facebook and Instagram are different from Twitter. All three are different from LinkedIn and YouTube. And both LinkedIn and YouTube are different from each other.
Each social media platform has its perks and a unique user profile, so you should do your due research to find out the content formats that work best on these platforms. For example, long videos do well on YouTube, but not as well on Instagram. Instagram and TikTok users love 15 to 30-second videos, while LinkedIn users prefer formally written posts.
So depending on which social platforms you’re using, identify content that suits each one of them. Using only one type of content for all the platforms you use can minimize audience engagement and reduce exposure.
4. Work with creative content creators
If you are a small brand operating on a tight budget, you can brainstorm some great interactive social media posts for your audience at the start. But as your profile grows and you generate enough revenue, consider hiring a creative team that will handle the content ideation and creation process for you, especially if you plan to publish interactive posts over a long period of time.
Assemble a team of professional copywriters, graphic designers, video creators & editors, and social media managers to spruce up the quality of your content—which, in turn, creates a positive impression on your audience. If you can’t hire full-time creatives, try getting some freelancers on board or utilizing AI-powered writing tools to help you ideate great content.
5. Analyze your results
Once you’ve been putting out interactive content on social media for a while, take some time to analyze the numbers, check the social media reports, and determine how successful they were — or weren’t.
- Did these posts increase engagement?
- Did they generate more followers?
- Did they boost sales?
- Which interactive content format did my audience like the most?
- Which format did they like the least?
Answering these questions can help you make your next round of interactive social content even more effective.
Pro tip: Experiment with different types of interactive content formats and learn which one(s) resonates with your audience the most.
Best interactive social post ideas for 2023
Here are some engagement strategies you can implement to make your interactive social posts more effective:
If you want direct insights into what your audience feels or thinks about a certain topic, a poll is the best way to get them. For example, in the poll below, Emiola Ahmed, a growth marketer at Hiyalo is asking his LinkedIn audience that lives in Nigeria about the biggest problems facing renters in Nigeria, especially in Lagos.
This post aims to get people’s opinions on the issue so that the product team at Hiyalo can understand the pain points of their audience (renters specifically).
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram Stories, and LinkedIn offer polls to help business owners discover their audience’s pain points and preferences, gauge interest in a new product or service or find topics they can discuss in future content.
Here are some poll ideas you could try:
- Find out the best time of day to publish content
- Ask for your audience’s preferences on certain topics
- Ask their general opinions about products/services
- Discover your audience’s opinions on important issues
- Ask your audience to choose your next post topic/idea
People are usually curious and competitive in nature, and quizzes are the best way to use those traits to boost engagement and get ideas. Not to mention, they’re fun and entertaining.
Instagram has a quiz feature brands can use. With it, you can ask questions or make a statement and assign up to four options for your audience to choose from. As you edit the quiz, you’ll choose the right answer and wait for your audience to click on the option they think is right.
In the poll below, Disney is quizzing its followers on Instagram Highlights about how well they know Mickey Mouse. They offer four options and let their audience answer pick the right one.
The great thing about quizzes is that they can be about anything. You could set up engagement-boosting quizzes about something fun like “What Harry Potter character are you?” or quizzes that test your audience’s knowledge on industry-related topics.
If you want to give your audience a way to speak directly with you, you can do that through the question box feature on Instagram. You can ask your audience anything and get them to reply. Or you can tell them to ask you questions and then you can answer.
In the screenshot below, Natalie Bebko, a dancer, used the question box to encourage her audience to send her questions that they’d like her to answer. When they typed in their questions, Natalie answered and posted them on her Stories for people to see.
Most creators use the question box to host Q&As or ask their audience about their opinions on certain topics.
The question box gives your audience a way to deliver more specific answers of their own choosing — as opposed to quizzes and polls where you, the business owner, have to outline the possible answers and have your followers choose.
4. Giveaways and contests
Everyone loves free stuff. So if you’re looking to get a quick engagement boost and some new followers, host a giveaway or contest.
It’s simple—offer a prize to your audience and ask them to complete a few actions to qualify to win. You can ask them to like, comment and share the post. If you want to grow your followers, ask them to tag some friends under the post to win the prize.
To get the best results from giveaways/contests, your prize has to be something valuable that will prompt people to perform those actions you stipulated. If you can afford it, you can offer an extravagant prize like an all-expense paid trip with a friend to a luxurious location. Or you can offer something small like a free box of your products, a gift card, or raffle tickets.
It’s not about the magnitude of your prize, but about how relevant it is to your audience.
Another fun way to get your audience to engage with your social media posts is to transform images and videos into interactive games they can play.
These games don’t have to be complex, though. For example, you could set up a word search game, where your followers have to put their answers in the comment section. Or you could put two images side-by-side and ask your audience to find the differences.
You can make games out of anything. The only caveat is that your games have to be interesting enough to make people play them.
6. Screen cards and end screens
Screen cards are a feature that is unique to YouTube. They function as communication tools that integrate well with videos without distracting viewers.
These cards appear at specific points during the video. When clicked, these cards can take viewers to any site the YouTuber wants the viewer to visit. For example, if a YouTuber is talking about their new merch that launched a week ago, they could add a screen card that’ll take viewers to their online store to buy some merch for themselves.
End screens are similar to screen cards, except they’re displayed at the end of a video instead of during the video. YouTubers use end screens to recommend other videos, share next-step options, and encourage viewers to subscribe to the channel.
Here’s an end screen from Dr. Mike Varshavski’s YouTube channel, encouraging viewers to click and watch a video on how he grooms his dog, Bear.
7. Live Q&A sessions
If you want to communicate with your audience in real time, you can do live videos on your social media. Most social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube offer this feature.Since a live Q&A session gives your audience a chance to directly ask you their most pressing questions and get answers almost immediately, people are more likely to join in to hear from you.
It doesn’t have to be Q&A though. You can use live sessions to host interviews with other people, network with industry leaders, or just to catch up with your audience. To get the best results out of your live session, promote it on all your social media platforms a few days before you do it. This gives people the chance to clear their calendars and set out a time to hang out with you.
Pro tip: You can repurpose your live Q&A sessions into several articles or blog posts based on the questions your followers asked you.
Boost your audience engagement through interactive social content
There are hundreds of millions of brands across all social platforms, and it is up to you to create content that is creative enough to make your brand stand out from the crowd.
Not only does interactive content increase audience engagement and brand awareness, but it also leaves a positive impression in the minds of people. This way, they remember your brand whenever they’re faced with a need that your product or service can solve.