Social Engagement Equals More Customers
When we say “engagement” it’s almost always as how many people are engaging with our content. The number of likes, comments, shares of our content is what's typically measured - the more the better. As a social media manager, you know this is a metric that used to measure your performance (and get paid for).
Interesting content will always be a priority - it’s a foundation of good social media marketing. The most difficult pill for most non-social media folks to swallow? Engagement on our content doesn’t guarantee customers or sales. How many times have you had the conversation that started with "But we had 1,000 comments on this post and no leads/customers/sales?".
Profitable brands take engagement to the next level - they actively look for, listen to, and participate in conversations on social media. They build mini-digital relationships that allow them the opportunity to ask and to sell.
Whatever your end goal is, creating a two-way, real digital relationship with your target audience is the best and most effective technique for building a brand and getting revenue.
Why Engagement Generates (More) Revenue
No matter what your business or offering we can all agree that we’re looking for social media to help get more customers.
Engagement in our market space with other people and their content drives individuals to our content and expands our reach significantly. The key is building those small digital relationships. The more relationships you have, the more social proof is available. The more social proof, the more people are likely to promote you, see you, and recommend you. And buy from you.
You create a digital relationship via like, commenting and sharing on other people's content. Over a period of interactions with that person, they get to know you and you’ve created space to take that relationship to an ask via direct message or offline. Done correctly, a prospect is going to be far more amenable to reading and responding positively to that direct message.
Engagement is Old Fashioned Networking - Digitally
Once upon a time, we referred to this as “networking” in real life. The same rules apply digitally - if you're not putting yourself out there, people don’t know about you.
Consistent content posting will start getting you noticed - in your network. It’s going to take a lot more to get people outside of your network to notice you than just posting good content. Social media algorithms heavily reward engagement - it keeps people on the platform. Hoping the algorithm will reward your excellent content is like hoping you'll win the lottery. You’ve got to get out there and digitally network.
Digital networking creates a relationship with the other person. Just like face to face networking, you earn the right to more personal interaction and an ask - perhaps a review, promoting your brand, etc. The same principles applies to social engagement as it does in real life:
- You have to participate with other people’s content
- You need to have conversations that matter
- You earn the right to ask
Engagement is Not Scary
The media likes to play up the very worst of social. The truth is that most people want to have a genuine, positive interaction. A well-thought-out comment is appreciated. A "like" usually doesn’t get someone in hot water. Just like any skill - the more you do it, the better you get at it.
Nervous? Start small with some likes and polite comments or questions. As you do more, you'll find your voice and you’ll soon find this is quite easy and not nearly as bad as you thought it would be.
Engagement Doesn’t Take a Lot of Time
Engaging with other people’s content sounds like a lot of time and effort in an already busy day for the social media manager. Most of us already tried doing this manually or using some “best practices” floating around such as “opening social media 15 minutes a day and just responding to the first things you see”.
If you’re doing just opening and scrolling, yes, you’re going to waste a lot of time. Manual searches are good for quick tests to see what’s out to get a general feel for content, keywords, or hashtags. Opening and scrolling is not good for quickly finding good content and people to engage with.
Agencies are another consideration if you don't have the time or the interest in engaging yourself. There are a lot of options to choose from depending on your budget and needs. If you want to own the social media engagement and do it yourself, social listening platforms are an effective option.
Social Listening for Effective Engagement
Social listening lets you pinpoint content and respond to it quickly. This is the most effective way to do digital networking successfully. Commercial social listening apps and platforms allow you to pinpoint the content that is most relevant to your needs without all the distractions of paid and 'fluff' content. Kittens and grandkids are great but not when you've got to get things done.
Today, there are social listening apps available at a wide variety of price and features. Even the smallest business can comfortably find a social listening app that meets their needs. Your most important consideration is ensuring your app supports the main social media platforms where your customers hang out. The rest is determined what's important to you - saved searches, notifications, recommendations, cost.
Engaging with other people's content is the next level to get better return on your social media investment. Engagement gives you an opportunity to prospect and to sell via social media vs passively posting content and hoping for the best. With all of the great tools and technologies out there today, there's no reason not to give it a try - and you might find a new channel for revenue!