Updated: Jul 17, 2019
There are a lot of numbers that get thrown around when it. comes to social media. Followers, Likes, Impressions, Reach, Engagement. For the average small business owner. Because there is some overlap in these numbers, and also because they are not always easy to understand if you are not tracking them regularly, I am going to break down the one that I think is the most important: engagement.
What is Social Media Engagement
Briefly, engagement is what happens when you and your consumers interact on a social media platform. Social media was designed to be social. Simple, but true. And while there is a lot of emphasis on how many followers you have, the real heart of your brand's relationship with current and potential consumers is in the engagement.
Engagement comes in the form of likes, shares/retweets, comments, link clicks, and direct messages.
Brands that rely heavily on scheduled content are missing a big opportunity to engage with their audiences. Treating social media as your billboard is sending a message that you are not really interested in getting to know your consumers.
What Empathy and Engagement Have in Common
To succeed in an engagement strategy, you need to create opportunities for interaction. In addition to providing direct links, start using your content to ask ask questions as well as find ways to entertain and educate your audience. This not only forces you to break up your content stream, it also puts you in a position of reconsider your consumer from an empathetic point of view.
Who is your ideal customer? Go back to your original personas and think about the kinds of problems or challenges your consumer may be experiencing. The use of empathy maps and user journeys can help you identify the right content for your audience that goes beyond marketing.
If you are a retail brand selling high-quality denim, what is stopping a potential customer from purchasing today? Are they unsure of the proper fit? Do they know how to care for the denim? Ask questions and provide useful information and you will get incredible insights as well as help demonstrate your concern for their needs.
Engagement is a Dialogue
Engagement on social media involves interacting and responding to your customers. When they write to you, write back! I've seen so many unanswered comments on brand pages, and it is such a missed opportunity.
This is likely due to treating social media as set-it-and-forget-it. But the truth is, even if you are using third party social media platforms to schedule your content (and I highly recommend doing so!) you can't just stop there. Many of these platforms provide an opportunity to engage from within (they are smart and they want you to see the value in the platform).
While you don't have to respond immediately, response time matters. When someone asks a question or has feedback, show them you care.
Have you ever noticed that Facebook actually lets you know the response time of a brand's page? What does that say to the consumer if you have a low response rating?
Whether you are driven by the need to show you value your consumer, or you just don't like negative ratings, the end result is a highly engaged brand demonstrates that you are there for the consumer.
In the next post I will hit on some quick engagement wins and dig a little deeper into the numbers.