5 Steps to Boost Audience Engagement [ROI]

by Suzanne McDonald April 27th, 2011 

Effective content, social media — every interaction starts with knowing what to say

And to know the right thing to say, you have to understand with whom you're speaking. It's a chicken-egg issue with huge implications.

chicken-egg

Web and social marketing are blessed by unprecedented measurement capabilities. So why arent we converting more, especially now that we have more to work with: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Bing, Ning?

Lets explore the oft-overlooked art of audience engagement.

ROI will never be maximized until you determine:

Step 1 Who you should invest time in?
Step 2 Which 3 (max) audiences to engage with at this time?
Step 3 Where to find the folks who will do business with you and their influencers?
Step 4 What to talk about?
Step 5 How do you initiate and maintain conversations?

Step 1: Audience identification

  1. Who are your best clients? The ones you wish there were 100 of because they want exactly what you offer.
  2. What are their defining characteristics?
  3. When they interact with you, what are they looking for?

Step 2: Research to decide whom to address

Refine your target audience groups:

  • Look at statistics.
  • Examine demographics.
  • Use your keywords.
  • Tap into your analytics.

This is all really basic right? But where we all get tripped up, is not being able to focus, and focus specifically on business decisions. And search rankings? Not so much, just now.

Step 3: Audience presence

  1. Where are these folks to be found?
  2. Where do they interact?
  3. Where are they looking for what you offer?

Step 4: Deliver what they want

So the trick is to find out what " other than what you sell " your prospects want to know more about.

If youre B2B Investigate what trade groups are discussing.
If youre B2C Apply keywords to Twitter trends, Google Alerts, bloggers.

Of course, Im not suggesting you plagiarize or scrape or spin ideas and copy, lest you get caught up in the Panda Update.

Step 5: Allow self-selection

Pick 3 platforms on which youll engage. Youll have to decide whether its microcommunity vs. Facebook vs. bloggers vs. Twitter vs. LinkedIn.

Each engagement point should harmonize with your brand and marketing goals, but will be customized since each platform has particular nuances and preferences. Hubspots Dan Zarrella has turned social media tweaking into a science.

Naturally, content creation will tax your resources; a wise investment may be an experienced content and social media specialist who can also advise on where to find time-savings.

So youd best deliver

  • Value to your Facebook fans
    • Discounts and specials, fun events, and invites.
  • Quality information to Twitter followers
    • Tweets that will enhance their status.
  • Leads and insights to LinkedIn connections
    • Recommendations, sales prospects.
  • Explanations on your blog
    • Who you are, why they should do business with you.
  • Information in your newsletter
    • How can you improve their day, their life?
  • Quick answers on your website
    • Get visitors to the information they seek ASAP.
Suzanne McDonald

Former Boston Globe journalist, Suzanne McDonald integrates content strategy and social media. Designated Editor designs and implements engaging editorial packages across new media: blogs, websites, multimedia, communities, social media, search marketing, mobile.

Which conferences Designated Editor is reporting on?

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