Between April 1 and July 31 of this year, social media optimization platform SocialFlow conducted a study collecting data from 1.6 million organic posts from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. They found that an amazing ninety-nine percent of non-paid posts generated little to no engagement at all.

If you’re using social media to build your personal brand, find a job or grow a business, you want your updates to be a part of the elite one percent of posts generating engagement; likes, shares (retweets), and comments. All forms of engagement are not created equal. While likes are nice, they are not nearly as valuable as a comment, which demonstrates an increased level of interaction and interest from your social media connections, or a share (retweet on Twitter), which is social media gold in the form of others increasing your reach by introducing your posts to their own friends/followers. How do you increase engagement?

Make it about your audience

The simplest method for increasing interaction on social media quickly is making your posts about your connections. You obviously want to post items that your connections will find valuable, but don’t stop there. Take it a step further and ask them for their opinions. For instance, if you share a blog post via Facebook outlining ways stay-at-home moms can increase their efficiency, make sure you ask your connections to share their number one tip as well. You may even tag a couple of stay-at-home mom bloggers you know, asking for their opinions.

Another way to make a post about your connections is to ask them what they need/what questions they have about a topic pertaining to your area of expertise. Encourage them to provide each other with solutions as well, especially on networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ where strings of conversations are fairly easy to follow. You’ll not only see more interactions, but you’ll also foster feelings of goodwill as you’re facilitating a community conversation versus simply focusing on you and your responses.

Lastly, share posts from friends/connections and tag them in your comments leading up to the link. Building a personal brand on social media is not simply shining a spotlight on yourself twenty-four hours a day. To be seen as an expert, share resources and stories from others that help solidify your core brand message while still adding value to connections reading the shared posts, as well as those who you are highlighting.

This post first appeared on Personal Branding Blog.