It’s 2016, nearly every brand knows that their social media platforms are crucial to their success —but there’s always room for improvement. Here are five easy-to-implement best practices to build buzz, gain new followers and most importantly generate engagement:

1. Have a sense of humor

Sometimes the best way to connect with people is to make them laugh. When you make someone laugh, it’s extremely personal and sparks a connection far more valuable than lame corporate speak.

But use your head — stay away from political or religious jokes unless it completely aligns with your brand.

The Honest Company posted this funny meme about how hectic raising children can be. It’s a simple yet effective way to show empathy and also encourage people to share their personal opinions and experiences.

I mean… how important is it if I shower today? 😉

A post shared by The Honest Company (@honest) on

2. Ask for input

Another surefire way to get your followers to interact with your brand (and each other) is to ask a question. Yes, it’s really that easy! You don’t need to think too long and hard about this. Brainstorm topics that align with your brand, your products or services, or a timely or relevant event. At the end of your post, ask followers to share their thoughts on the post itself, or ask a relevant follow-up question.

In this case, Whole Foods wanted to show off goat cheese tarts that are perfect for a weekend brunch session. Not only does the drool-worthy social post show off the final product and include a call-to-action to see the full recipe, but Whole Foods also asked a fun follow-up question that aligned with the cooking theme.

3. Connect on a personal level

Sure, the goal for all marketers is to promote their brand and their products. But now more than ever, consumers want to follow and buy from the brands that they connect with on a personal level — that includes their personal beliefs as well as the lifestyle, social causes and environmental causes they believe in.

Does your brand have any special campaigns focused on charitable giving? Do you support any organizations or social causes? It’s time you bring your consumers behind the velvet curtain and show them everything your team does!

Starbucks is a great example of a brand that has acquired an extremely loyal following with help from its social mission. For example, this Instagram image promotes Upstanders, which is a collection of short stories, films and podcasts featuring “ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities.” This is a great way to promote how Starbucks supports local communities and wants to spotlight on a global scale all the people who do good for the world.

4. Spotlight your customers

Sure, reposting ratings and reviews is a great way to give your products some clout, publishing consumer-generated images is even more impactful. Why? Because these photos show what your products look like in real life and turn your customers into brand ambassadors.

West Elm does a great job integrating branded images with consumer-created images on its social networks — especially Instagram. As you can see from this example, even the images from everyday people are beautiful, clean, modern and align extremely well with the West Elm brand image. All types of brands and retailers can take cues from West Elm by showing everyday people in their social feeds. It makes the content more relevant and appealing to followers, which increases likelihood that they’ll like, share and comment on your posts.

5. Get interactive

Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook all have their own video capabilities, which is a great way to talk directly to your followers. Rambling on and on about nothing at all isn’t the best strategy; instead, use video to promote a timely sale, new campaign or even better: a new line or collection.

This post from Adore Me, a women’s intimate apparel retailer, spotlights the best of video and the written word. The Facebook Live video gives followers a behind-the-scenes look at the brand and its new athletic line. As the star of the video walks through each item, she encourages followers to share their biggest workout pet peeves, which helps spark feedback and conversation within the community. She even incorporated a giveaway.