Want more audience engagement? Improve your content

By Mark G. Auerbach

A major challenge all marketers using social media face is keeping their audience consistently engaged. In other words, you’ve built up a group of people who follow you. How do you build on that number, and get your expanding audience to “like” and “share” your site. And, how do you keep your current audience interested and involved?

One key to keeping your audience in conversation is content. Your audience will look at your site when new materials, either original or repackaged, are posted. But, it’s not enough to look. You want them to click, like, respond and share. And, patronize your business.

Reposting

Most of us hope for the best when we create content, and when that is shared, it’s unique, because we created the piece. Most of us also, share other people’s content. It’s easy to do, now that most sites, from The New York Times to Facebook, have the “like” and “share” buttons.

To repost or repackage shared content, make it specific to your site with a comment. People are more likely to click, comment or engage, when they see you’ve put your imprint on a post. For example, you run a cupcake shop, and you read an article in the Washington Post that tells about how Martha Washington developed a cupcake recipe using kale from Mt. Vernon. You decide to share this recipe to your Facebook page. Share it with a comment like “The first First Lady, Martha, combines cupcakes and kale.” Your comment may intrigue your audience to click on the story, which scores points for your page and the Washington Post page.

You can find content to repackage in numerous places: newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, podcasts, trade journals. When you subscribe to other feeds on Facebook and Twitter, this content is readily available to repost.

Be careful what you repackage. Make sure the article and/or site is reputable. Make sure that your comments are both appropriate and relevant to your business. Let’s say you’re doing an event. It’s okay to post announcements from various media. However, don’t overpost, because it drives people crazy.

When problems arise

You can never anticipate a response to a post. I posted the now famous photo of Melania Trump enroute to Texas and the hurricane-impacted Houston, wearing stiletto heels, with a comment saying, “My mom told me to wear sensible shoes.” It was an attempt at humor, since I’d previously just posted photos of my former workplace in Houston underwater and information on where to donate funds to help the victims. Most of my online community laughed. A couple of people attacked me for my “anti-Trump” comments. It wasn’t intended that way. I responded as such, and they kept on with their offensive replies. I took their posts down. It strayed from the intent of the conversation and politicized a disaster.

More guidelines

If you do decide to post the same item more than once, change your comments so it looks like a fresh post. And, again, don’t overpost. Once a day is sufficient–unless you’re updating people on a time-valued item: “Only ___ seats remain”, or “traffic around our store backed up because of an accident. Use Main Street instead.”

Given the choice between the same story in two publications, remember that the one with good graphics or video attracts more interest than the one that’s all print.

Respond to the comments you receive. In other words, keep the conversation going. At minimum, “like” the comment to show that you’re paying attention to the input. You can also thank the person who made the comment if you like the response, or “thank you for sharing your thoughts” to those who commented, but where you disagree.

Managing content requires a bit of organization, some good research, and most of all, common sense.

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Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn.

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