- story by Jenna Gross of Moving Targets
More fans! More followers! More views! This sentiment is the driving force behind some social media marketers. They lust after it. They fantasize about it. They think that a big follower count is the holy grail of success, so they feel envy when they see someone with a bigger one.
But does size really matter? Is a big audience really going to generate massive engagement, viral excitement, and blast revenue to new heights success?
Yes, size matters, but maybe not in the way that you think.
The size of your fan base only matters if your audience is interested in your message. Your online fans can be everything or nothing at all. The real value of a community is not its actual size, but the value derived from them.
A more lucrative measure of success is by how many people are clicking, liking, commenting, and sharing your content, referred to as engagement. This powerful metric, available on all social platforms, tells you precisely how many people are interested in your post and may want to patronize your club. By increasing engagement, you build relationships, and in turn, increase your customer base and revenue.
Social media is as much about talking with people as it is about sharing content, hence the “social” part. Imagine walking up to someone at a bar and attempting to strike up a conversation. Instead of responding, they just stare back. You ask a question and get complete silence in return. You’d stop speaking and walk away, right?
The same concept applies online. As a business, it’s your responsibility to reply to those talking to you. Guests come to your club to socialize, which is also the reason they visit your online communities, so give people what they want—a little action!
Why engagement matters for your club
The number of people that view your posts, particularly on Facebook, has dropped significantly to the point where some are questioning the viability of organic content altogether. A vital part of their algorithm is that it utilizes “meaningful engagement” as a signal that a post should be prioritized and shown more often. Conversely, if no one is clicking on your posts, they won’t be shown to many. And if your posts aren’t seen, they can’t create intrigue or cause followers to come into your club.
Create online club promoters
Prospective guests get the innate sense that you’re doing something right when they see others commenting and liking your post. Social media activities are, by design, both public and easy to share, creating a compounding effect on positive encounters. Studies show that around 71% of the customers who have had a pleasant experience online recommend that business to others.
Turn negatives to positives
Responding to negative comments can be a delicate situation, whether it’s on social channels or sites such as Google or Yelp. It’s important to approach with tact: acknowledge the complaint, inform the customer that you are taking action, ask them to reach out to you directly, resolve the issue, and follow up to make sure they are satisfied.
If the guest was in the wrong apologize for the situation and state the facts diplomatically. Always work towards diffusing the situation; there are no winners in online arguments.
The silver lining? Seventy percent of people say their perception changed from negative to positive when they received a response from the business.
“ Satisfy fans’ competitive nature by featuring contests such as caption this photo, fill in the blank, vote for your favorite photo, trivia, or Q&A contests. Contests inspire your audience to make the first move and interact with your club, inspire virality and can allow you to grow your email list.”
Increased return on investment (ROI)
A direct correlation between engagement and return on investment is difficult to isolate, however, it certainly can be attributed to growing revenue. Research has shown that consumers who like, follow, and communicate with businesses on social media form an emotional attachment, visit that business more frequently, and spend 40% more than those who don’t get a reply.
So, how do you increase your engagement?
Improving your engagement isn’t rocket science, but it does take effort. In a way, it’s similar to you walking around your club and talking to guests to make sure they are enjoying themselves—but online.
Talk with fans, not at them
Treat social media as more than a one-way conversation. Reply and have real discussions regarding what matters most to your customers. Ask your followers what they want to receive, your opinions may differ, and theirs impacts your profit. Getting others to like your brand isn’t just how you make them feel; it’s how your brand makes them feel about themselves.
Keep it light and flirtatious
Content that inspires emotion always gets more interaction, as does anything that makes people laugh. Take for example Pornhub’s Twitter account. They understand that it’s unlikely that fans will retweet explicit photos, but they will retweet brilliant double entendres and suggestive memes. By keeping their tweets clean, users can interact without being seen as perverted.
Ask for it
Relevant, provocative, and timely questions can create some of the most appealing and thought-provoking comments. Not only will you engage your followers, but you also stand to learn meaningful things about them too. You only have a few seconds to connect as people scroll through their social feeds, so make it quick for them to respond with such things as fill in the blank, this-or-that options, or things that only require a one or two-word response are great examples. Online, less friction is a good thing, so opt for native features like polls to make it simple for fans to respond.
Satisfy fans’ competitive nature by featuring contests such as caption this photo, fill in the blank, vote for your favorite photo, trivia, or Q&A contests. Contests inspire your audience to make the first move and interact with your club, inspire virality and can allow you to grow your email list.
Attract fans and prospects with attractive limited-time offers such as free cover, discounted VIP, or food/drink special on select days. The Facebook “offers” tab makes it an easy way to give discounts, and those who save your offer will get reminder notifications before it expires so they don’t forget to use it.
How do you know you’re doing it right?
Don’t worry about low post-level engagement; some people don’t like to comment. They may enjoy your posts yet just lurk because of the chance that someone they know will see that activity. This is where your engagement rate comes into play. The more your content resonates, the higher your engagement rate will be. This metric can provide significant insight as to what your fans respond to best, helping you increase influence in the future.
If you’re the crazy person shouting randomly at a crowd, you shouldn’t expect a lot of desirable attention—the same holds true online. By being interesting, relevant, and entertaining, people will want to talk to you. Listen to your fans, use analytics to into track their online behavior and adapt your strategy accordingly. When you focus on talking with people, meaningful relationships will grow, in addition to growing revenue. It’s just a matter of making it as good for them as it is for you.
For more information on Moving Targets, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit MovingTargets.com or call (800) 926-2451.