How much time do you spend generating engagement through social media? If you’re like most people, you probably spend a large portion of time trying to get people to interact with your posts. Getting likes and comments can be part of leading prospects through your sales funnel. However, likes and comments don’t automatically lead to sales.
If you want social media engagement to translate to profits, you need a stronger strategy where success isn’t measured by the number of likes, comments, and shares each post receives. Comments, shares, and likes are forms of passive engagement that won’t generate the profits you deserve.
The following tips will help you achieve the genuine engagement promoted by top social media experts including Neil Patel and Rand Fishkin.
1. Transform passive engagement to build rapport
Every interaction on social media is an opportunity to build rapport with your customers and prospects. A great way to build rapport on social media is to turn passive engagement into active engagement. For example, say a customer posts a comment making fun of your Facebook ads. Instead of ignoring their comment, do one of three things:
- Joke back with them
- Thank them for their feedback
- Thank them for their feedback, discuss it with your marketing team, and invite them to share their opinion on your improved Facebook ads
In this situation, the commenter will realize you’re not only paying attention to their comments, but you’re taking their feedback seriously, even when it’s presented as a joke. Feeling valued and seen is the foundation of rapport.
2. Leverage real-world engagement through direct marketing
You may have heard the rumor that direct mail is dead. This is far from the truth. In fact, direct mail has a higher engagement rate than email marketing. Direct mail marketing includes everything from postcards and bulky envelopes to catalogs and flyers.
Publisher’s Clearinghouse has been especially successful with direct mail marketing for decades. People enjoy finding hidden stamps and scratching off tickets to reveal prizes. This type of engagement creates a higher level of commitment from the prospect and results in more magazine sales.
Catalogue advertising is profitable
In an attempt to duplicate the success of catalogue advertising, Facebook launched a catalog-style ad format called “lifestyle templates” that replicates the look of a print catalog. These ads even function like a catalog and items can be purchased from within the ad. While the catalogue format is effective, a digital catalogue leaves money on the table.
Although digital catalogue ads can be profitable, you’ll get even more genuine engagement by reaching out to your prospects through print catalogs. Hire a professional copywriter and designer to create a catalog for your products or services. Catalogs are easy to print online for a fraction of what you’d pay your local printer. Mailing lists are obtainable through the post office in most areas, and most businesses qualify for bulk rate postage prices.
3. Be intentional with published content
When content is boring, repetitive, or thoughtless, fans will lose interest and resort to passive engagement. If the majority of your engagement is passive, you’ll spend an enormous amount of time reading, managing, and replying to comments from people who aren’t committed to taking action.
Every post you make on social media needs a specific purpose. Is the post educational? Instructional? Advisory? Entertainment? Is the post designed to generate sales or email list signups? Don’t post anything without a purpose, even if it means skipping a scheduled post.
The simplest way to generate authentic engagement is also the most challenging. Publishing irresistible content is guaranteed to generate quality engagement, but it’s difficult to sustain long-term. For example, even if you only publish content once a week, you’ll need to come up with 52 fantastically interesting stories each year.
Reframe your view of engagement
While even Neil Patel advocates posting regularly and getting likes and comments, that’s not the whole enchilada. In fact, Patel explains that posting too frequently makes it hard for followers to keep up with you and can be annoying.
Instead of measuring engagement by statistics, start measuring the quality of your interactions. Read your comments closely to find out how your content is being received. Do comments reflect that people are getting value from your content? If so, that’s the genuine engagement you want.