Lessons from the Summit: achieving engagement

News |


Turning fans into social media engagement

During the first week of November, 20,000 technology and marketing professionals descended upon Dublin, Ireland for the Summit – a conference that has quickly become the largest of its kind in Europe. Pilot was there to capture notes, impressions and ideas from this year’s speakers, which included Bono, Peter Thiel and John Sculley. Here, with an eye trained on all things tech and marketing, is the second instalment of our three-part series covering the event.

Richard Arnold, Director of Manchester United, may seem like an unlikely source for online marketing advice, but when it comes to engagement, he knows what his fans are worth to his franchise.

Social media engagement, arguably the most important social metric, “is all about how much time people spend with us, and how much they interact with us,” says Arnold. Leading a talk on fan engagement, he adds that when building a venue for users online, that venue should mimic your audience’s analog behaviour. Only then – when you have their attention and engagement – can factor in economics. For the multitude of brands that are on social media, the lesson is clear: Only if your fans are engaged will you be able to measure the return on your investment.

In a digital space where content is abundant and brand loyalty is fickle, using your content to lead people to engage and therefore act toward your business goals is imperative. However, brands and social media haven’t all had a great start when it comes to understanding engagement. A lack of results during the first wave of social media adoption by many large brands, which favoured likes and clicks as measures of campaign effectiveness, may have soured the relationship. The way to course correct lies in tailoring engagement to the right audiences, and asking them to perform the right actions with the right intentions in order to achieve key performance indicators (KPIs).

For example, popular social media platform Pinterest describes itself as a “visual discovery tool,” while online fashion retailer Polyvore, despite using a similar platform, is a “new way to discover and shop for things you love.” The difference of targeting audiences by intention versus other non-engagement based demographics like age and gender meant Polyvore, even with a much smaller user base and less content, was able to boast an average order value (AOV) of $383.34 – double that of Pinterest. As per Arnold’s fan engagement wisdom, audiences were matched with a venue that facilitated the transaction they wanted to make – and this is something brands vitally need to put into practice across all the networks they use.

So how can brands adapt a strategy focussed on raising social media engagement and turn it into action? By focusing on the following questions:

1) What is your end goal?

2) What intention will lead people to it?

3) What audience has that intention?

4) What call to action does your audience need in order to act in the way you want?

5) How can that most effectively be embedded into your content?

6) What shape will that content take?

Going through the process above and answering the questions as they relate to your business ensures a channel strategy for social media that is more powerful. Benchmarks and analytics can’t ever be ignored if you start with one of the key principles all excellent social brands, from football clubs to online stores, understand: engagement and attention are worth more than impressions and views.

Keep in touch

Subscribe to thoughts on strategy and design, plus whatever we’re up to lately.