Increasing Suspense to Boost Social Media Engagement

When your business is posting daily, or even more than once a day, after a while, your posts can become a bit monotonous. This is detrimental to the engagement of your fans, which means you’ll be a lot less likely to convert them. Social Media is an exciting medium for marketing, but if it’s not used properly, it can become dull and ineffective. The best way to increase social media engagement is to understand how to create suspense.

Increase Social Media Engagement

Increase Social Media Engagement

Your social media fans want to see excitement from your posts. This isn’t easy to do on a daily basis, but you can create a sense of excitement and suspense with:

  • Giveaways
  • Release Countdowns
  • Fan Competitions
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Social Media Hooks

These are just a few of the most common ways to create suspense, and, when used correctly, they are great for building and engaging your fan base.

1. Giveaways

Social Media Marketing

A giveaway is a perfect way to create suspense and to build up your audience.  It’s also very simple.  First, come up with a prize that will grab attention. This could be a free trip, a big gift card, or some free items from your store.  Next, you’ll need to let your fans know about the giveaway:

  • Reveal the Prize
  • Explain the Rules
  • Announce the Date of the Giveaway.

This should be done over the course of several posts.  After this, you’ll want to send out reminders for those who either forgot or who didn’t see the initial posts about the giveaway. Many companies have giveaways that encourage fans to like their page or share a post in order to get entered into the drawing. Make the rules up as you see fit, but make sure the action you ask fans to take is beneficial to your campaign.

You’ll want to leave plenty of time in between the start and end of your giveaway so the word can spread and more fans can sign up.  Two weeks is a good minimum time for a giveaway.  Once it’s over, be sure to make a big deal about the winner and tell fans to keep an eye out for the next giveaway.  This will once again create suspense and keep fans checking back into your social media page.

2. Release Countdowns

Social Media Statistics

Often used by artists, release countdowns are a great way to build suspense.  Although it works best for artists, you don’t need to be one to make this strategy work.  Simply choose a big product or service release to focus on.  Then, start counting down the days to when it will be released.

Try giving clues about what will be released, and, if appropriate, small samples, so fans can get a taste of what they’re waiting for.  For example, you could discuss the inspiration behind the project, show a making of clip, or even show bits and pieces in photos or videos.

You might even ask fans to offer ideas as to what they believe will be included in the release.  Just make sure you don’t give too much away.  What fans don’t know and what they want to know is exactly what creates the suspense in a release countdown.

Fan Competitions

One of the best ways to get fans engaged by far is hosting a competition.  Nothing gets fans to interact better, and interaction is exactly what you want.

“The key to a good social media campaign is interaction.” Says Jenelle McCleary of Jurevicious Studios,

“You want your audience to feel like they are having a conversation and participating, not just being talked at.” A contest can do just that.

A contest between your fans will get them on your page, involved in your brand, and hooked until the winner is announced.  A contest like this should last a month or more to give fans plenty of time to prepare and present their entry.  It should be easy to get entries because fans will want the opportunity to show off their work.  This is also great for marketing because they will be more likely to like, comment on, and share their entry once it posts to your page.

What kind of contest will you run? According to Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, “there are hundreds of variations, but there are six main categories of participation mechanism. They are:

  • Sweepstakes (nothing required – most common on Twitter)
  • Connect (like/follow the company’s social account to enter)
  • Like (like a particular piece of content to enter)
  • Share (share a piece of content to enter)
  • Vote (state preference from among multiple pieces of content to enter)
  • Create (develop user-generated content and upload to enter)

Choose the one that works best for your brand.

Need some ideas?  Consider hosting a competition for a fan-created:

  • Commercial
  • Testimonial
  • Demo
  • Logo
  • Slogan
  • Branded Art

3. Social Media Scavenger Hunts

Social Media Analysis

If you really want your fans to go somewhere and do something, consider starting a social media scavenger hunt campaign. Instead of having all of the information on your social media page and instead of herding fans directly to your website, set up a less direct path. The scavenger hunt should start with one clue on the social media page (and an engagement announcement on social media of the scavenger hunt). That clue could then lead them to your page on a different platform where they will find the next clue.

Ultimately, you do want to lead people back to your site, so you’ll need to create a landing page for the hunt. This page should not only contain the final answer, but also a call to action. This could be asking fans to post the final answer on their social media profile, to share the original clue, or to make a purchase.

4. Behind the Scenes

Social Media Scheduling

Another way to create suspense is to reveal some behind the scenes footage on your social media pages.  Businesses often post about their products and services, but they don’t often post about the making of.  Believe it or not, fans and industry experts alike are drawn to these.  While watching a behind the scenes video about how a particular product was made or about how a service is prepared and carried out can give clues to the people and strategies behind your brand.

In a sense, you’re taking them through your process, so they will anticipate, and hopefully want, the final product.  It’s also a great way to show off your talents so you can become known as an expert or innovator in your field.

5. Social Media Hooks

Social Media Dashboard

Over the course of doing business, you probably create a lot of media.  Don’t let it go to waste!  You could be showing fans your bits and pieces of media to increase anticipation.  Consider using all the marketing media you create for your products as posts for your social media pages to increase social media engagement. This works best for companies that release larger media, but it can work for your brand too.

What qualifies as a media hook? It could be anything you’ve created to develop, advertise, or demo your product.  Most social media sites allow media posting and hopefully, one of your social media posting tools does as well. It simply needs to be something that informs people about at least one part of your service and product to get them to anticipate the rest of it. For example, consider showing off:

  • Movie or Event Trailers
  • Product Packaging
  • Branded Art
  • Product Demos
  • Soundtracks

What Keeps You Coming Back?

These six suggestions aren’t the only way to create suspense for your brand. When creating your suspense strategy, consider what keeps you coming back for more. You’ll also want to consider which platforms you’re using or if you plan to use more than one. Each site has its own culture, so you’ll probably want to use different suspense strategies for each one.

However, if you do it on more than one, just remember to reshape your engagement announcement on social media to fit each fan base. Luckily, if you plan the campaign in advance, you can use social media tools to spread the word.

So what kind of suspense have you seen on social media? What gets you hooked? Which suspense campaigns work on your demographic? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Anwesha Ghatak

Anwesha Ghatak is a Content Writer at She writes informative blogs and tends to lose track of word count. A bookworm by nature, she finds solace in crime-fiction and historical dramas. Apart from reading and writing, she can be found watching Youtube videos on mythical folklore or fiddling with her camera.