“Engagement” has been a buzzword in the social media marketing space for years, and it has remained part of the vocabulary for a reason: it matters. Measuring success on social can be difficult, especially when attempting to affix a dollar figure. Engagement metrics – retweets, shares, likes, replies, clicks – are not only often easier to see than others, but can lead to a better understanding of your audience and ultimately greater results from your social media efforts.

If you’re looking to increase measurable results through engagement, try incorporating these five activities into your social media strategy.

  1. Provide value

Why are you followers following you on Twitter? Why did your last Facebook fan click “Like”? Chances are, they saw something of value in your content. So, it stands to reason that if you want to keep them engaged and interested, you would continue to provide value.

Too often brands forget that social media is not the “look at how great our brand is” show. They spend a lot of time creating cute photos, witty tweets and on-trend hashtags that represent their brand well… but fail to offer any real value to their fans.

  1. Generate creatives that are relevant to their lives

The creatives that accompany your social posts – from quick-turnaround images with whimsical quotes to campaign-specific promotional shots – must be relevant to your audience’s lives in order to generate those coveted clicks, replies and other engagements.

Think about what your audience is like, from their demographics to their consumer behavior. From there, work with your design team to create an aesthetic and visual that will appeal to them. You might want to create bright, sunny images for family-oriented mothers for instance, or mix whimsical fonts with trending imagery for millennials. Go with what resonates with your audience.

  1. Deliver personalized messaging

As we discovered in a study earlier this year, something as simple as including a user’s first name in a tweet can increase engagement by 20 percent.

Personalization can be difficult – but not impossible – at scale on social media. It can mean taking an extra 5 seconds to include someone’s first name in a reply, or it can mean developing a comprehensive CRM system that tracks, analyzes and presents every bit of data you have about each individual customer. However you do it, it’s worth the extra effort for the big boost in engagement that you will see.

  1. Know where they are in the buyer’s journey

If you’re selling your car to someone who has cash in his hand, ready to buy from you, you should probably give him an easy way to make that purchase. If, instead, he has his hands in his pockets and is kicking the tires, you’re better off giving him some basic information about your car so he can decide whether he is ready to buy.

Knowing what stage of the buying journey your customer is in is crucial to connecting to them. For instance, promotional messages will resonate more with those who are at the evaluation stage, while informational messages are better suited for those in the awareness stage.

  1. Engage them directly 

Social media is all about give-and-take. So, instead of sitting back and hoping your fans will engage with your content, reach out and initiate the engagement.

Ask your followers a question, or post a poll on Facebook. Ask for Instagram photos of their favorite vacation spots, or a Vine of their lunch. And don’t forget to respond to each and every fan with a thank you or acknowledgement of their contribution, to show that you’re listening.

By promoting engagement across your social channels, you will develop stronger relationships with, and a better understanding of, you audience. Improved engagement can help all other aspects of your social strategy, so consider making it a priority.