Social Media Engagement: 7 Marketing Tactics You Need Now


Social media engagement is how people and companies interact and communicate. For marketers, this goes beyond the actual point of contact on a social media platform. Social media connections are important since they influence the sentiments of prospects and consumers toward your firm and brand(s). As a result, they contribute to activity that helps achieve specific business objectives. (Brian Solis has illustrated the engagement process.)

What's the social media engagement challenge?
As a marketer, the challenge is getting social media participants to take actions that support your business goals. The reality is that 90% of your social media audience is passive; they read and consume social media content but don’t act upon it. Another 9% acts, but with little work or thought — they like, follow, share, or vote. And the easier you make it to respond, the more likely they are to do so. The remaining 1% of your audience creates content or takes a more active form of engagement.

Recent research from the Australian-based Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, also reported in Ad Age, examined Facebook’s “People Talking About This” measurement as a proxy for social media engagement. For the top 200 Facebook brands, they assessed this metric as a proportion of a brand’s fans, yielding a 1.3% engagement ratio. Further, when Facebook likes were eliminated from the data (since they were deemed not to measure true activity), the ratio was reduced to 0.45%. These findings are directionally consistent with the 90:9:1 percent social media participation rates.

What does this mean for marketers looking to engage with social media?
More people will be exposed to your social media engagement activities than will actually interact with you. Don’t underestimate the power of these individuals, especially if your social media content supports your sales process and answers prospects’ questions. For example, include a link to your product page in a blog post answering a customer’s question. The challenge is, you probably won’t be able to measure it. While you can increase engagement, additional work will likely be necessary to qualify leads generated from social media.

Here are seven tactics to get your audience engaged.

  1. Lure people with compelling content. Strong content, especially with compelling headlines, helps to draw prospects in to engage. Use this opportunity to answer customer questions and supply other useful information such as enhanced instructions and how-to’s.
  2. Make participation easy. Remove roadblocks and extraneous ideas to keep visitors focused on engagement. Don’t make them think as they interact with your content, or they’ll move on to the next shiny object. Understand there’s a tradeoff between how much you expect them to do and the number of people who respond. Therefore, examine every step to reduce clicks and information captured. If you’re looking to maximize your base of hand-raisers, simplify what you expect them to do in terms of likes, follows, and votes.
  3. Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, and try to understand what they’d like to get out of engaging with you (the “What’s In It For Me” syndrome, aka WIIFM.) Remember it’s about them, not your firm! Consider the following questions in terms of the level of engagement you’re looking for: Does your audience look good by associating with your organization? Do they get to show off their handiwork to a broader audience? Do they get a special discount or offer?
  4. Give them the dirt in advance. Be upfront about what engaging with your firm entails. If there’s a process beyond just clicking a button, let prospects know what they have to do and how you’ll use their information, including their email addresses and/or mobile phone numbers.
  5. Invite prospects and customers to join you on social media channels. Promote your social media presence via your other owned media and communications, such as your website and email. Don’t overlook your packaging, billing, and customer service emails.
  6. Include a contextually-relevant call to action. Guide prospects to take action. Don’t assume they’ll intuitively know what to do. Go further and include a unique promotional code, programmed into your analytics program, so that you can track and analyze results.
  7. Streamline the processes on your website. Make sure your social media efforts are integrated with your overall marketing plans and linked as closely as possible to the action you want prospects to take. You can have the best content and processes, but if you can’t convert these prospects to customers on your website, you’re missing out on an opportunity.


Social media engagement is about more than just actions. It’s about encouraging prospects, customers, and the public to interact with you as a means to changing their feelings toward your company and brands, which will ultimately lead to sales or help you achieve other business goals.

What other tactics would you add to this list to encourage social media participants to engage? Please include your response in the comments section below.