How often do you look at how many Facebook fans you have and use that as a measure to determine your success in social media?

If you do this a lot; you’re far from alone. Countless companies rely on numbers as a measure of success when the reality is: numbers mean very little.

The fact is, it’s interaction that showcases your success. What’s the point in having 2,000 Facebook fans or 10,000 Twitter followers if none of them respond to your company’s messages or share the super-cool things you post?

Be Interesting!

If you want people to engage with you, you need to give them a reason to engage. Ask questions, post a poll and if appropriate, be controversial.

You need to give your fans a talking point. If you want to share something interesting, ensure to ask what everyone thinks – don’t rely on your fans to take the initiative to air their opinions without a push in the right direction.

Post at the Right Time

Facebook (and Twitter) move quickly. Post when all your fans and followers are in bed and chances are, most of them will never see what you have to say. Post in the evenings and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and you will probably experience a far greater response.

There’s an interesting infographic here that goes into more detail.

Acknowledge Your Best Fans

People like to be recognised for their achievements, whether it’s climbing a mountain in aid of charity or simply participating in an online community.

Booshaka is a free application that awards points to your fans when they interact with your page. It also allows you to display a leader board so you and your fans can see who your top contributors are.

An application like this gives your fans an incentive to interact more than they might otherwise do.

Reward Your Best Fans

If a name at the top of a leader board isn’t enough to get your fans fingers typing, offer the incentive of a small prize to whoever is at the top of the leader board at a certain time.

This could just be an occasional competition, or you could give away a prize to the top contributor each week.

However, ensure your fans know that they won’t be winning any prizes for spammy or pointless contributions! Only messages that offer some value to the community should be counted.