Engagement is such an overused word in social media. Nonetheless, it’s a good one word description for the process of gaining (and retaining) interest online.
As you’ve likely heard me say before, “Attention is the first step towards making anything happen.”
When we’re talking about engagement, what we’re really looking at is the process of placing your information in front of people who might be interested in it.
Engagement is the process of moving readers along the spectrum from “mildly interested” to “very interested.”
(Now, every time I say that, it reminds me of this video (which DISCLAIMER: has a slight adult theme)
As a marketer, your goal is to keep your visitor more interested, and more interested- and, hopefully, never losing interest.
So while we can’t predict engagement levels 100% of the time, there are a few techniques you can use to boost engagement with your content:
1) Make it relevant and specific for your audience. People like information which seems immediately useful, and which is specific to them. They want information that will help them make more money, be healthier, create better relationships, and be more successful. Speak directly to- and for- your audience to build the highest levels of engagement.
2) Grab their attention early. Using graphics, images, video can be a way to grab- and keep- attention. Of course, the rest of your content should uphold the privilege of their attention, but people are often immediately focused and better oriented when they can quickly scan information. It’s also a way of conserving their energy; the quick scan gives them enough information to determine if they should pay more attention.
3) Tell stories and mix your content in new ways. People are naturally more engaged when there is a story embedded within the content, and they are very engaged when you take something old and mix or share it in a new way. Our brains are naturally wired to pay more attention to novel stimuli, so you can gain a lot of traction when sharing the unexpected, or when sharing the familiar in new ways.
4) Reward them for their attention and interest. Give them a special fact or a secret, or a tip- something that benefits them, and subtly rewards them for engaging with your content. People love to discover new information, new strategies, new techniques- so do what you can to help them learn something new and feel smarter. It doesn’t mean that all your information has to be 100% new every time- but give them a new perspective, or a different opinion- or something to think about. How can you leave them better than they were before?
5) Be personable and appropriately self revelatory. This means, where you can, share stories and pictures about your life. Help your visitors get to know you as a person. Engage as many of their senses as you can in your content- this creates a type of multimodal processing which is a deeper form of engagement. Be interesting and think about how you can gradually share more and more about yourself in an appropriate way.
There are other strategies to build engagement, but if you begin by applying these, you’ll notice that people will start to pay more attention, and will become more and more interested.
And, that, after all, is the first step to building relationships- and generating new opportunities.