How to Increase Social Media Engagement [Research]

Use Facebook Marketing Best Practices Across Social Media

On many social media communities, members tend to participate in a 90%/9%/1% ratio. Specifically, 90% lurk or passively consume content, 9% take a small action such as sharing, commenting or voting requiring limited commitment or time, and 1% create content or actively engage or influence others. While this information is a critical element of a social media persona, what’s more important for marketers is changing this ratio to increase social media engagement to yield greater results.

Wildfire’s analysis of 10,000 social marketing campaigns run on Facebook over a nine month period revealed users continue to act in similar ways. Using Wildfire’s terminology, 83% of Facebook participants were joiners (aka lurkers), 15.4% of Facebook participants were sharers (aka commenters), and 1.5% of Facebook participants were advocates (aka creators). While these results show higher activity than the average social media community, this is attributable to the fact that Wildfire tracked marketing promotions targeted at driving social media activity.

When Wildfire isolated the top 10% of campaigns, their participant distribution was significantly different from the overall average. Specifically, 61% of Facebook participants were joiners, 34.3% of Facebook participants were sharers, and 4.7% of Facebook participants were advocates. The top 10% of campaigns better engaged and incented their audience yielding twice the number of sharers and triple the number of advocates. With proper marketing you can increase your social media engagement.

Due to this shift in social media participant activity, the top 10% of campaigns roughly tripled their engagement compared to the overall average, 90.2% versus 31.78%. Further, these campaigns yielded about thirteen times more fans than the average campaign, 79.59% versus 7.67%. For marketers this means an ability to use social media to expand their reach cost-effectively including increased earned media, media impressions.

Here are four major marketing findings based on Wildfire’s analysis. They show the power of a strong social media campaign to get participants engaged and active.

  1. Extend social media engagement with proper marketing. Based on Wildfire’s findings, the top brands significantly shifted the number and level of participant activity on Facebook from the typical 90%/9%/1% engagement ratio.
  2. Generate significant earned media by sharing social media campaigns. These results showed that an average of fourteen additional earned media impressions were attributable to sharing by sharers and advocates. (Note: Other research has shown that these impressions carry an implied endorsement making followers more likely to act.)
  3. Increase participant page engagement due to sharing. Running campaigns that are effective at engaging sharers and advocates yield three times more “likes,” shares, and comments.
  4. Get new people to engage with the brand. The top brand campaigns yielded thirteen new participants for every ten advocates the campaign engaged. Further, this advocate engagement correlated with higher fan growth.

To achieve this level of results, follow these six social media best practices Wildfire found consistent across the Facebook campaigns. These recommendations involve best marketing practices across media options.

  1. Offer your audience a variety of ways to engage with your organization. If you only have one application it may not meet your audience’s needs. Therefore offer your prospects choices.
  2. Include a contextually relevant call-to-action. Participants need to be reminded to take the next step. Don’t leave it to chance. Focus on the specific Facebook activity you’re seeking.
  3. Leverage the power of images. Especially on Facebook’s Timeline, images are a critical element for pulling participants in. (Facebook is largest social media site for images!)
  4. Keep up with the latest trends. Incorporate the latest news, trends and seasonal information into your campaigns. Remember content changes very quickly on social media platforms.
  5. Use a variety of promotion types. Participants and consumers get bored with a diet of the same type of promotion. And promotions tend to wear out over time.  (Here’s more information about different Facebook campaigns.)
  6. Expand your social media presence across a variety of networks. Don’t limit your social media engagement to one platform. Remember, consumers often need to hear a message three to five times before they believe it.

For marketers, the most important finding from this Wildfire analysis is that you can make a difference in the results your social media campaign yields. As a result it’s critical to maximize the impact of each element of your campaign.

Have you been able to increase the results of you social media campaigns? If so, what did you do differently to maximize your results?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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