Engagement is necessary for a successful content marketing campaign. Some marketers see social media as a platform for widening the audience for their content. It’s all about how many “eyeballs” they can get. However, the smart marketer knows that social networking is not a one-way lecture, but a means of building relationships with your target audience. Your goal is to get your readers and followers on social media to take the actions you want them to.

If you use social media to drive engagement, you can use what you learn while monitoring the social networks to frame all your marketing and product creation decisions.

Use Niche Marketing to Increase Engagement

One of the reasons online marketing has been so successful is because it allows unprecedented access to those interested in your niche. Instead of scattershot marketing such as broadcast advertising, which is not very precise, niche marketing can be conducted through topic-related discussion boards, forums, and social site groups.

Use this to discover the answers to these all-important sales and marketing questions:

* What does my target market care about?

* What ‘pain points’ does my audience want to address?

* What is trending in relation to my niche?

* What trends are driving sales?

* Who are my main competitors?

* How do my products compare or differ?

* What social media marketing efforts on their part might be worth imitating?

In other words, engagement, not eyeballs.

Niche marketing is like fishing in a well-stocked pond. You know your quarry is in there; you just have to come up with the right bait to get them to nibble. All of your social efforts can be the bait, showing that you have the answers they need and are worth doing business with.

Engagement can take a range of forms. It is up to you to create the opportunities to engage with you and then monitor the results. For example, if you want to add more people to your email marketing list, create a special report or e-course, and then announce it to your social media followers. Monitor how many new subscribers you get.

For info about the best social media platform to use for reaching your target audience, create a special offer for each social media platform’s target audience. Resist the temptation to run the same offer on all platforms during the same time. Track your results for each social media platform. (Read more about discovering which social media platform your target audience prefers here.)

To get insight into building brand and increasing reach, create content that is so compelling that your followers will be willing to share it with other people they know, who are also interested in your niche.

In terms of advertising, track your click-through rate and engagement in taking the action you are expecting. Facebook and Twitter advertising is a lot more targeted than Google AdWords, a lot cheaper too.

Riding the trends of internet marketingAnother important reason to monitor social media sites is to see what is trending. You don’t need to try to be topical in all of your postings, but if there is a chance to tie in your products with breaking news or a hot topic, it might be worth a try. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr will all show you listings of what’s most searched for or engaged with. Join in the conversation in a helpful manner and see how much exposure you and your brand can get. You can also use a site such as WhatsTrending.

One of the most important reasons to monitor your social network activity is to discover who is finding you through social search. That is searches within the network, not via search engines like Google. Social search is important because it will lead to your account and to your groups. You have to be active in the network to be discovered, but once you’ve created your account, you will be amazed at how much traffic you can drive through free and paid means.

It’s important to monitor not just eyeballs but engagement, and see what a difference it can make to your marketing efforts.

To learn more about social media marketing, download our free e-book, How to Be a Social Media Rock Star.