Reach and engagement in social media marketing…they’re very different things

Social media and digital marketing professionals can get a little obsessed with figures. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of mistaking follower numbers or reach metrics as a sign of an impactful and effective campaign.

Just because your content has reached a certain number of people’s attention, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are engaged with it. In fact, increasing the frequency, reach and ‘call to action’ in your posted content could actually be doing the opposite. At best, it could be so like every other brand’s efforts that consumers simply don’t pay attention to it, and at worst – you could be seriously irritating your target audience and putting them off you for life.

To truly see results from social media marketing – as in, clicks, conversions and sales – you need to aim for meaningful engagement from your target audience. How do you do this? An interesting article on the topic on Forbes.com offers some very handy tips, and it all starts with being more likeable as a brand:

  • Stop interrupting. Almost on a daily basis, consumers and web users are forced to sit through several minutes of ads in order to stream their favourite content on YouTube or be bombarded by excessive sponsored content when they’re using their social networks. Forbes recommends encouraging customers to discover your brand on their terms, to make becoming a part of your target audience’s social circle an integral part of your social strategy. Team up with a persuasive brand advocate who will appeal to your ideal customer, be as human as you can in your content and campaigns and really know your customer inside out.
  • Understand the content your customer wants to see. Make your content thoughtful, useful and relevant, and always reward customers for interacting with your social personas. More importantly, really understand your audience – what they find funny, what problems they have (that you can solve), what issues matter to them and what their friends and colleagues are into online. This will enable you to create and share content that will provoke meaningful engagement from your customers.
  • Be useful and add value. The modern consumer places great importance on things that can save them time, hassle and of course, money. This extends from apps and technology to other products and services, as well as tips and advice. If you can stand out as a highly useful brand, being informative and always offering your customer something they want or need, you will have the upper hand.

Measuring engagement and ROI

A final point to consider is how you can actually measure and analyse the effectiveness of your new approach with regards to meaningful customer engagement. Of course, follows, likes and of course, clicks, conversions and sales are all good indicators. The golden signs to look out for though are sharing and re-tweeting, demonstrating that you have judged the content perfectly with your audience in mind. Another sign, as mentioned by SimplyMeasured in a recent post, is conversation – when customers ask questions, comment and join in debate.

Do you have any further examples of meaningful engagement in social media marketing? Please feel free to share them below.

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