Quality Engagement Gives Meaning to Vanity Metrics

Finding a good brand advocate is a lot more valuable than looking at the number of your Twitter followers: the most powerful thing about impressions in a socially networked age is that they lead to engagement and word-of-mouth marketing.  The more engagement there is, the better the chances of even more impressions – and this goes on in a cycle.

That being said, no engagement is possible without those initial impressions.  This article explores the relationship between impressions and engagement, and lists a few quick tips to spurring action from our words.

The Engagement Cycle Starts with Media Impressions

An impression can be a visit to your website or a view of your Facebook ad. Media impressions get your content and your ads in front of thousands of people (example: Facebook reach, a tweet, advertising), and as such, get your brand message out there.

While “impression numbers” and “reach” numbers are the biggest numbers when it comes to paid and earned media, they’re not the most important ones from a social and dialogue marketing standpoint.  But awareness comes before engagement, and impressions are what move people toward action.

Impressions Can Lead to an Ongoing Engagement Cycle

Engagement could be a click to a landing page, a reply to a tweet or a comment on a Facebook post. Either way, we got their attention and they engaged in a positive way.  When someone engages on a social channel, their engagement gives us earned social media – and that can continue in an ongoing impression -> awareness cycle, as in the graphic above.

To engage with prospects and customers in some significant way, you have to be where your customers are.  To do that, you need to set your channel marketing strategy.  (For more on what makes for a good social marketing campaign and why it matters, check out our social marketing book “The 4 C’s of Social Media Marketing.”)

How to Get Your Message into the Engagement Cycle

So, what are the best ways to move your message from an impression to engagement?  Here are a few quick channel-specific tips:

Blog posts / banner ads: Graphics, graphics, graphics – include pictures, videos or any other form of multi-media.  An article, in general, gets 94% more views with an image than one without.
Twitter: Keep your tweets to 120 characters or less – this allows for re-tweets and others to add their own comments.
Facebook Posts: A post on Facebook with a picture gets 53% more views than one without it.
Ads: CTA’s should be simple and clear.  Also, most people don’t like to leave the native social apps, so you may have to choose between tracking your leads and good engagement.

Listening is the Key to Quality Communication

At the end of the day, although we’re measuring engagement in hard metrics (like clicks), remember that quality is more important than quantity.  Good engagement gives our content the legs to become exponentially shareable in today’s socially networked communications ecosystem, and making sure that we’re targeting the right people with the right message at the right time is one of the reasons that social listening is so important: the best conversations are typically had by the best listeners.