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Content is undoubtedly crucial for telling your brands story. The question is how do you encourage your audience to engage with it?

As Andy Hill, Social Media Marketing Manager, for Xerox states, ‘Different formats and templates resonate with different audiences.’ Even if you only have a niche market, it’s important to test different forms of engagement, such as blogs, infograghics, case studies, or even technical whitepapers, to see how your audience respond. This will inform your future decisions as to which content to produce. I would also recommend recycling your content and reusing it elsewhere, for example key stats from blog posts can be made into an infographic.

Make sure your content is displayed clearly and is easily digestible, to enable the reader to quickly find what they are looking for. You want to create it in a way where readers want to follow through to the end. Well that’s the goal anyway. Breaking up the content with headlines can be an effective way of achieving this.

This point is obvious, but ensure you invest in imagery which first of all relates to the topic you are talking about, but secondly is professional. Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without (Hubpost, 2015). This shows just how important they are.

The results? High audience engagement!
If you do your job properly, your content will be relevant and will attract your desired audience; your prospective buyers will read, and re-read and even share your news with their peers. Your content engagement will be high.

But what do you actually count as engagement? Is this your social media activity, such as the number of likes, mentions and shares a piece of content receives? And what about on your website, do you have trackable links to understand the visitor’s journey? Only by effectively measuring this can you determine whether your brands stories are being heard. This is key in order to strategize and understand what works, what doesn’t and how to improve.

A social automation platform can enable you to track this effectively on social media, by using trackable links to establish each posts engagement, and the customer’s journey. Pair this with Google analytics and you can track exactly how many lead to your website.

Encouraging audience engagement via closer integration with your own advocates
You may share the most interesting, useful content, but if no-one is seeing it, is it really benefiting your brand? For this reason it is highly important that you look to promote it for your audience to see and respond.

The way to do this? Get your content closer to your desired audience, by letting your brand advocates themselves use and share your content. This will guarantee that their own followers and contacts, which are your audience, can access your messages.

Here are the different types of advocates you should fully utilise:

  • Employees – They are your greatest fans, and their social media presence should be leveraged. As an example if you have 10,000 employees and you enable 20% of them to share your social media content, you will effectively create 2,000 more opportunities for your messages to be seen. Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey also states that 90% of buyers trust product/service recommendations from people they know, showing just how effective this could be for your brand in generating revenue.
  • Partners – If you sell indirectly to customers, your channel partners/ sales partners need to be engaged with you, their vendor. To enable this, you should provide them with your content to promote your offerings, as well as access to a social media collaboration platform. This way they can easily and efficiently post your content out to their social networks, saving them time and expense and enabling you to track engagement received. And you will be in ‘indirect’ contact with their own followers who will be able to see and read your content.
  • Influencers and Brand Ambassadors – This appears to be a huge trend this year, which I believe everyone should get behind. It involves encouraging your influencers and other brand advocates to promote your brand to their audience. The trick here is to keep them engaged and loyal to your brand. And with word of mouth marketing generating 2 times the sales of paid advertising (McKinsey), why would you not want to do this?
  • Customers – Nielsen reports that 68% trust online opinions from other consumers. For this reason you should really do all you can do encourage customer advocacy, whether that is in the form of leaving reviews on social media or sharing your content to their networks, these are all great ways to make you the favourable brand decision makers want to buy from. Keeping your customers happy is the first step and the fundamental one for achieving customer advocacy.

So yes content is king, but engagement is queen and as in life, the queen is just as important, so engagement should not be understated. And when paired together it is truly the perfect mix.

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