One of the most critical objectives for content marketers is increasing engagement with website visitors. While the term has been around for decades, the concept of engagement has taken center stage in the digital age. In an era where multi-screen usage is nearly at saturation point among connected consumers, the problem of distraction is only going to get worse.
In fact, studies by Google have found that 90% of web users may switch between tablets, computers, smartphones and televisions to accomplish a single task. Successfully engaging your prospects through web content is crucial for capturing contact information and building relationships, in order to ensure visitors don’t simply bounce from your website without a second thought about your product or services.
Why Engagement Matters
There’s no shortage of content available online, and studies have found that first impressions are, as Revechat’s customer experience researcher Snigdha Patel points out, often the only opportunity you get online. Studies by Kissmetrics show that 96% of first-time visitors to company websites won’t return. The statistics are equally bad for businesses offering web-based services, software or apps. Regardless of whether your company’s mission is to move product through eCommerce, or nurture leads into clients, it’s crucial to creating an engaging web presence across platforms. We’ve compiled data-driven ways you can increase the stickiness of your content marketing, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook presences:
1. Be Distinct
Online clothing retailer BetaBrand has gained significant accolades and $8 million in Venture Capitol funding for their off beat, fascinating content marketing strategy. Marketer Aaron Burcell recently shared their content experience is key to their dedicated following, which ranges from real-time social voting on proposed products, to very clearly photoshopped images of their product in unrealistic situations:
You don’t need to emulate this eCommerce giant’s wackiness, but creating a distinct experience through content is crucial to increase engagement.
2. Report Breaking News
Recaps of recent case studies and research reports can drive engagement, social shares, and links to your website. In order to position yourself as a thought leader and report the latest industry news before any of your competitors, SEO expert Steven MacDonald recommends marketers subscribe to the following resources:
3. Create a Newsletter Sign-Up Series
Offering value in exchange for an email newsletter subscription can boost your contacts and repeat visitors to your website. Provide incentive for first-time visitors to convert by building an exclusive eBook, or creating a training course. MacDonald recommends collecting 7 high-value pieces of blog content, and emailing each to your newest subscribers daily to create an attractive training series.
4. Convert Your Blog Posts into Podcasts
While there’s a definitive art and science to podcasting, simply converting your most valuable blog posts into audio format can increase engagement by providing options to busy website visitors. 40% of Americans currently listen to podcasts, a figure growing annually. iSpeech – a free tool for converting your text into podcasts – will be of great help for those starting to create podcasts.
5. Include More Visuals
If you’re struggling to engage your website visitors through content marketing, including more or higher-quality visuals could be the key to increase engagement. Over 46% of consumers believe that a website’s visual elements are critical to determining the credibility of the company as a whole. Strive to provide a website experience that’s eye-catching, even if your visitors’ attention is divided between their laptop, television, iPod and tablet, which could range from custom infographics to curated video content.
6. Consider Introducing a Brand Hero
The Keelber Elves haven’t just caused us all to crave cookies for decades. They’re also an instrumental tool for the baked goods brand to drive likes, comments and shares on Facebook. In a recent study, Marketer Mark Kelley found that in most cases, brand heroes are a powerful tool to increase engagement on Facebook:
Marketers have known for decades that developing a comprehensive company narrative can increase engagement, but literally putting a face on your business could make your Facebook presence much more likeable.
7. Be Really Visual
There are few platforms online where an abundance of quality visual content matters more than Facebook. In fact, posts with images are twice as effective, and video content can increase engagement 12 times better than simple text posts. Strategist Sarah Pierce advises brands to “let their images do the talking,” and focus on penning supporting posts which are short enough to be published on Twitter.
8. Publish at All Hours
For virtually every social media platform, it’s a best practice to increase engagement by publishing when your buyer personas are online. This typically means creating Facebook posts for outside work hours. Studies by Buddy Media have found that early morning and evening posts have, on average, 20% higher engagement than between the hours of 9am and 5pm.
9. Let Fans Contribute
Asking question is key to increase engagement on any platform, but social media expert Scott Ayres has found that asking the right questions is the most effective way to boost your comments, shares, and Likes. In his experience, asking fans to contribute a caption is the single most-effective way to gain comments, even beating out fill-in-the-blank posts or visual quotations:
10. Post Early
On LinkedIn, posting high-quality content early in the day can yield best results, according to recent statistics revealed by the networking platform. However, Experian Social Media Manager Mike Delgado recommends experimenting with different posting times to capture the attention of prospects who use LinkedIn outside work hours, including evenings and weekends.
11. Take Full Advantage of Targeting
Few marketers take full advantage of LinkedIn brand pages’ capacity for highly targeted status updates, which can be a powerful way to increase engagement through relevant content. Try filtering results to capture the attention of your followers with a certain geographic location, level of professional seniority, or within a given industry. For more insights on effectively using this functionality, we recommend LinkedIn’s whitepaper Targeted Status Update Best Practices.
12. Leverage Images and Contests
While LinkedIn’s user base may heavily lean towards professionals, visual content and contests still thrive on the network. Delgado recommends utilizing images uploaded separately to help your content gain attention in your followers’ feeds:
In a case study on Reconverse, a simple drawing helped the company grow their following from 200 to over 1400 likes in just over one week, and increase follower engagement significantly.
13. Cross-Promote Your Presence
LinkedIn leads can have remarkably high conversion rates, and some studies have found that 50% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company they follow on LinkedIn. Justin Fishaw of Digital Sherpa recommends driving fans and followers to your LinkedIn page by including a link in your email signature.
14. Curate Via Groups
With any social media platform, your plan to increase engagement should include at least some curated content. LinkedIn makes it easy to identify content marketing which resonates among your buyer personas with the “group statistics” feature. After navigating to relevant groups, select the group statistics option from under the search menu. By posting articles, infographics, and videos which are receiving a high volume of shares and likes, you can eliminate guesswork and find the right articles to increase engagement.
15. Leverage Off-Hours
In some of the most fascinating research on how to increase engagement on Twitter we’ve encountered, it turns out the vast majority of companies use the weekends to say absolutely nothing. In fact, only 19% of branded Twitter accounts publish on Saturdays and Sundays:
Tweeting outside of traditional work hours can lead to a 17% higher chance to increase engagement.
16. Don’t Abuse Hashtags
Social media experts have long cautioned against hashtag abuse, which is most commonly defined as utilizing two or more tags per Tweet. Not only is excessively categorized content difficult to read on Twitter, the practice can totally wreck your chances to increase engagement. Content marketer Daniel Zeevi of Dash Burst reports that while only 24% of Tweets contain hashtags and the practice can increase engagement 21%, excessive hashtagging leads to a 17% decrease in RTs and responses.
17. Always Link
Quotations and words of wisdom can thrive on Twitter, but data shows that your content will be a more effective tool to increase engagement if you link to pages on your website or those of others in your niche. In fact, simply including a link can lead to a 92% higher chance to increase engagement.
18. Edit for Brevity
While there are technically 140 characters available for your thoughts and links on Twitter, fully utilizing your limit can remove your chances of receiving a ReTweet. Social Media Expert Paul Chaney recommends leaving at least 20 characters in each Tweet to include room for usernames for ReTweets, and a 2012 study by Salesforce found that Tweets consisting of 140 characters or less received 17% higher engagement.
19. Include Multi-Media Options
Twitter may be a micro-blogging platform, but that doesn’t mean you need to rely solely on text-based messages and supporting links. Leading social media blogger Jeff Bullas reports that including multi-media content, including Vine Videos and snapshots, can increase engagement by as much as 300-400%.
20. Mention Others More
Passing the spotlight to others has always been a powerful way to build allies with other content marketers and increase engagement, but recent studies have found that mentioning other companies and bloggers can leave a particularly big impact. Each 100% increase in mentions of other Twitter handles is correlated with an overall 17% increase in follower growth.
Your company’s efforts to create remarkable content and stellar social media sharing won’t impact your bottom line without a defined plan to increase engagement on your website and each network you utilize for content promotion. Actively working to include these proven tips can allow you to experience an explosion of ReTweets, likes, shares and comments.
How do you increase engagement on your website and social media platforms?