Image by: Sebastiaan ter Burg on Flickr
For a lot of businesses with an online presence, user engagement is a critical factor in the success of marketing campaigns. Regardless of which type of media platform you use, be it a publishing website like a blog or social networking platform like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the success—or failure—of your marketing campaigns relies heavily on user engagement. And for most account owners, they measure success by the number of times their content gets shared or mentioned. While this may have been effective in years past, using content shares as a metric to determine user engagement is no longer feasible today.
Content shares don't necessarily equate to effective user engagement. Take for example a blog post that received numerous shares. These days, the number of shares a particular post receives does not necessarily mean that the reader actually took the time to finish the entire article. User behavior varies across different market segments, so even if one user shared your post because they read and enjoyed it, it doesn't mean that another one who shares the same read the article in its entirety—or at all. They just liked the title and thought of sharing it.
Image by: TopRank Online Marketing on Flickr
Sometimes, users link to your site, but not because they read your posts and found them interesting enough to want to look forward to future posts. Oftentimes, they link to your site or to the article because they are still undecided on whether or not to read your post, and they leave with the thought of coming back but they almost never do.
Here's the caveat: The primary purpose of your online post, application or product page is not to make a sale. Its purpose is to engage the user first. Should you make a sale as a result of it, then that is the reward—the outcome of a good user engagement strategy.
Here are a few user engagement strategies:
1. Make a good first impression. Whether it's a company website or a social media platform, the first thing that your users see is your profile, timeline or homepage. To make a strong first impression, the page that greets your users should be able to answer their immediate questions. Why should they read your post, try your product, or use your application? Is it worth their time? Highlight the benefits of using your products or services, or make a strong introduction for posts.
Image by: VFS Digital Design on Flickr
2. Announce new features as they become available in-app. If your users are utilizing your app, make sure to let them know about its newest features through the application itself. And make the announcement interesting and enticing. This could reduce the risk of your users turning to other competitor apps with newer features.
3. Never underestimate the importance of customer feedback. Negative or positive, what customers say about you should be used to improve your product or service. Leverage on user feedback from review sites, your own social media pages, and website. Studies show that customers/users whose complaints were handled professionally and addressed immediately were more likely to come back because you showed that what they said mattered.
4. Utilize social media for users' preferences. Social media platforms can be used as a tool to learn about users' preferences. "Listen" to discussions about what they want or what they wish were made readily available online and offline. Providing them with exactly what they want is a great way to boost user engagement—and potentially drive sales.