Social media is becoming increasingly important, and some people simply leave money on the table by ignoring these basic rules of how to increase engagement on their posts. 

Here are six things to do to increase engagement

Use a picture, but not just any picture

Honestly, you'd think this is kind of obvious being as we are visual creatures, but as I've said before, today common sense is not so common. So let me tell you, people react when they see a picture. 

While every post on every platform should have a visual element to it, you need to take it one step further. Presumably, the people who follow you are interested in you, so when you post about a panel you're on or a talk you're giving, make sure the flier or the link includes a picture of you. 

Your followers will likely engage more when they see a picture of the person they decided to follow.  

Don't link me out. The algorithms hate that 

This one is also pretty obvious and often ignored. Facebook doesn't like to see YouTube links in your posts, and that is true for all the platforms. 

The last thing Zuckerberg wants is for someone to read a post on Facebook and then leave the platform to one of its biggest competitors. 

So if you must post a link, consider posting a picture in the post and the link in the comments. The algorithms prefer that. 

Encourage commenting by replying

People like to be heard, so when you reply to every comment, it not only encourages people to engage with your posts, it also helps resurface the post. 

I'm sure you've seen the notification "Your friend has liked/commented on this post." 

Remember, it's called social media, which includes the word social. Be social. Engage. Be human. 

Don't ramble on. Get to the point 

Disclaimer: I am bad at this. 

Remember that people have very noisy feeds and very little attention span. Cater to that. Keep your posts short, and if you absolutely must write a long post, don't forget to add paragraphs and include an engaging picture. 

Either way, whether your post is short or long, don't make me wait till the end to understand the point, because if you do, I'll never make it to the end. 

End with a question and challenge your audience 

Once again, social. Ask questions, make concrete requests, give your audience a reason to respond. I used to do a macro photography contest on my social media, for example. 

I'd take a picture from super close up and ask my followers what was in the picture. People loved it. They engaged, they guessed, and then some people even copied the idea and did it on their Facebook. 

Don't just state a point. End with a question or a challenge and your audience is more likely to engage. 

Do not, I repeat, do not automate your posts 

I get this question so regularly, I had to address it. I'm a big fan of shortcuts, but only when it's appropriate to use a shortcut. 

Most posts I publish, I then manually distribute across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more platforms. What I do not do is automate that process, because every platform has its unique strengths and weaknesses, and every platform also has a unique community.

So, if your followers on Twitter are different from your LinkedIn connections, then write the post on each platform with that in mind. 

Also, don't forget that you likely have people who follow you on more than one platform, and by automating the process, you make those people see your content twice. 

That's a wrap. Most of these rules can be summed up in two simple words that I use often: Be human.