In the world of social media marketing, two key terms seem to come up more often than any others: “reach” and “engagement.” But some who are new to the game might wonder, what exactly do these two fundamental concepts mean? More specifically, how do they relate? Which is more important? And how do I utilize them as part of a larger marketing strategy? McCauley Marketing Services can provide valuable answers to these vital social media questions.
Simply put, reach is an approximate measurement of the number of people who are actually exposed to your content during a given period of time, your followers on Twitter or your subscribers on YouTube, for example. However, just because you have one thousand or even three-hundred thousand followers does not necessarily mean that people will actually read and pay attention to a particular tweet, much less use your services. We all know that the vast majority of content that appears in a person’s social media feeds goes completely ignored on any given day. This is where engagement comes in. A much more useful barometer of your social media content’s overall effectiveness, engagement refers to how many people actually interact with that content directly, in the form of clicks, likes, shares, or even direct responses. Although this cannot, in itself, tell you exactly which posts are converting into sales, and some businesses, particularly medical practices, may need additional tracking mechanisms to determine their true value, it does provide some excellent insights and a good place to begin.
Which is more important?
While both reach and engagement are necessary in order for social media content to truly be effective, most modern marketing experts agree that engagement is actually the more important element. Imagine you are trying to get a message out by word of mouth. You could stand in the middle of a busy street, yelling randomly at anyone who passes by, or you could go and talk to individuals one at a time and influence them to take action on your behalf. The first tactic has a far greater reach, at least initially, but is actually much less effective in the long run. The goal of any marketing content, be they advertisements, blogs, or social media posts, is not just to inform, but to influence people and encourage then to take a specific action. Having just fifty actively engaged members of your audience, who may likely become potential customers, is far more beneficial than having five thousand followers who simply glance at your content and do nothing.
What can I do to increase engagement?
Engagement works by building a personal, emotional connection with the audience. Content strategy group Fractl surveyed more than 2000 Facebook users to learn what inspired them to “Like” or “Share” social media posts. The study found that 59% of the users surveyed wanted to share things that their friends would find interesting or useful while 52% said that they specifically tried to avoid sharing controversial or “hot button” content. This suggests that shock tactics designed simply to attract attention provide significantly less benefit than carefully crafted content marketing geared toward providing your consumers with valuable information. Although share-able content is rarely a goal in and of itself, it does serve as a very useful measure of just how engaging your content is and it even helps spread your message and connect your content to a wider audience, effectively increasing your reach as well.
Social media, engagement, while vitally important, is still only one aspect of a successful marketing campaign, which is why our team at McCauley Marketing Services develops comprehensive marketing plans designed to benefit your business both now and in many years to come. If you would like to explore how we can help you, schedule a marketing meeting today. We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to share your tips and recommendations.