My Point of Heu
As someone who has been managing social media for others for over a decade, I've seen the constant ebb and flow of the various platforms, algorithms, metrics and changes. Sure a lot of people base social media success with the number of followers you have... but if a page has 20K-100K followers but only has 40-100 likes per post, then your reach, impressions and return on investment isn't very high.
First, what are engagements and how does this help me?
Think of engagements as handshakes. You literally came into contact with each of these people, shook their hand, looked them in the eye and made an impression. They said something, you said something back and in turn the people with them or next to them saw you, heard you and perhaps was introduced to you too. This is how social media marketing works, but it's all virtual (online). Engagements come in the form of comments, likes, messages, replies, tags, and so forth. This also helps to boost your post and allow more people to see it.
Highly engaged posts are the ones with higher reach and are seen, viewed, consumed by more people. The reach means someone saw you...and the engagements means someone spent some time looking and consuming your content.
An easy way to create engagements is to prompt a response. Some will ask questions, others will ask you to tag a friend, while some posts may not directly necessitate a comment, you may be compelled to leave one. If you don't have time to leave elaborate responses to all the comments, it is ok to leave an emoji that depicts your reply. It is best to respond to the comment as soon as possible to assist with -- yes, you guessed it -- engagements. If you reply 2 days later the post won't really see as much of an uptick in metrics from your comment 48 hours late...unless it was featured on the explore page and a dozen other people comment too, then you might see some movement - but not as much as when you first uploaded the post. You can also like the comment, but commenting back is even better and makes the person who left the comment feel important and special.
So how do I get followers?
This is kind of tricky and takes a multi-level approach...
1. You need to let people know you have social media, if you don't tell them they won't know to seek you out and/or follow you.
2. Follow similar or likeminded accounts.
3. Grow through grassroots - utilize all your partners, friends, collaborators and supporters to follow you and engage with you.
4. Following to unfollow can work but is a pet peeve of many, it is time consuming to keep track of who follows you back and who followed then un-followed you.
5. Be authentic, informative, entertaining, visual and beneficial.
6. Offer incentives
There is no magic wand...but if you utilize social media in the best way with the best intentions success will come. Be aware of what you are trying to promote, be positive and always be open to try new things.