Many businesses still haven’t figured out the secret to social media success. They have not figured out how to move from pitching to engagement with the audience.
As a content marketer, knowing the difference is crucial. If you have ever seen a corporate social media post that looked more like it belonged on a blog or a billboard, that’s a company that doesn’t understand the difference between engaging and pitching on social media.
Engaging social media posts:
Invite comment and reaction
Ask open-ended questions
Show genuine interest in the audience’s reaction
Have meaning to the audience
Posts that are more like pitches:
Feel like ads, not content
Invite no reaction. Consume and move on.
Rely on repeated exposure over genuine interaction
We believe that one of the reasons that organic reach on Facebook is so low lately is because most content on Facebook doesn’t invite engagement. Blame Facebook for wanting more money all you want, but consider it from their perspective.
The more that someone engages with a particular post, the longer that person will see the ads put up on that page. Their eyes will linger rather than reaching for the next post in the newsfeed. Isn’t this a powerful signal?
Strong brands on social media thrive on engagement. Engagement raises the number of contacts with your branding. The more contacts, the more likely the reader will remember your brand when they have a need for your product or service.
We also think an engaging social media post isn’t measured by standard markers of virality. Most viral posts are flashes in the pan, one time spikes that don’t last. We think it’s better to have a smaller group of people engaged actively with a brand over time than trying to spread a single message to as many people as possible through something popular.
Creating Engaging Social Media Content
Creating engagement really is all about giving people what they want. For B2C companies, that’s usually entertainment. You can look at the successful social media campaigns of brands like Red Bull, Arby’s, and Wendy’s for examples of successful customer engagement.
For B2B, the focus is delivering value. What can you deliver that generates positive feelings in your audience? It could be a good piece of advice, a new perspective, a simple tool to help them do something challenging, anything along those lines.
While some value can be delivered directly in a social media channel, especially through video, it’s too short for most. This is where your blog’s content intersects with your social media posting. Promoting your articles by telling people their value through social media will drive traffic to your site. Inviting comments on your pieces on social media will stir up engagement there.
Avoid just dropping links to your content. Tell your social media audience why they should switch their attention to that information. That makes it meaningful. If you deliver on that promise with awesome content on your website, readers will pay attention the next time you post something. This is how real engagement grows.
We’ve said it in past articles, but it’s time to stop treating social media like a billboard and treat it as a value-delivery vehicle. Keep giving value and the audience will come back for more.