If you’re tirelessly working on ways to capture the attention of your target audience on Facebook and Twitter, welcome to the club. You, along with millions of other businesses are in the same boat, trying to turn the social media microphone into a way to make more money. While many companies make the mistake of thinking that the number of fans and followers they have is what’s important, true social media ROI (the kind that translates into dollars and cents!) isn’t just about popularity. It’s about ENGAGEMENT. In other words, is anything meaningful happening with those fans and followers?
Audience “engagement” can mean anything from someone re-tweeting your content, replying to your posts, clicking on a link or getting more information from your website. This type of engagement is meaningful because it can help you see if you’re reaching your target audience. This engagement also is a starting point for tracking whether those engaged audience members are following through and contacting your company (which is what you really care about!)
If you want to increase your audience engagement and kick start social media conversations, keep these guidelines in mind:
1. Initiate timely conversations. News travels at breakneck speeds because how instantaneously information spreads online. Because of that, it’s critical to capitalize on conversation starters when they’re relevant. Don’t make the mistake of posting on old news and falling behind. If you don’t catch your window, your audience will have moved on to the next thing and won’t be as interested in that conversation.
2. Make sure your content is mobile-friendly. Your audience is likely surfing content and social media on mobile devices, so you want the content you’re sharing to be easy for them to consume. If you want your audience to be able to easily engage in conversation with you, keep things easy-to-read, follow good formatting practices, and make sure everything you’re sharing is mobile-friendly.
3. Go back to the basics. What is your ideal audience’s picture of happiness? What challenges do they face? What types of things are consistently on their mind? Ask questions, share content, and initiate online conversations that speak to these topics that your customers genuinely care about.
4. Don’t forget to make it visual. Don’t forget about sharing images and videos via social media. Including photos and/or video in your posts radically increases engagement. It keeps things more exciting and interactive and is a whole lot more fun to read than a page full of text.
5. See if it’s working. Sounds basic, but don’t forget how important it is to look at whether your efforts are actually paying off! Are you customers engaging with you? Are they striking up conversation online, and from there signing up for your email list, filling out contact forms, or opting into offers you’ve created? If so, then you know what you’re doing is working. If not, it’s back to the drawing board so you can make improvements. There are lots of great tools we love for measuring and tracking engagement but two that we think are particularly helpful are Awe.sm and Hubspot.
About the Author:
Katie Humphreys is co-founder and Chief Action Officer of Plume & Post. Find more musings from Katie on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.