A lot of companies consider social media metrics like ‘views’ and ‘follower count’ as the yardstick to measure their campaign performance by. “I want 1 million views for this video” or “Give me 10,000 followers before the end of the quarter” are instructions you’d hear them say.
While growing your social network is still a good starting point of a successful campaign, some digital marketers fall short of starting conversations with their audiences. After all, doing this can convert browsing website users into paying customers. And a digital marketing plan that prioritizes generating conversations will bear fruit—as long as you have a well-defined audience and powerful message that addresses their needs.
Is There a Point to Being Internet Famous?
Ever since the dawn of social media networking on the Internet, a lot of companies have aspired to become ‘internet famous’ or to ‘go viral.’ The Internet gave birth to the mindset that anyone can be famous with only a computer, a camera, a stable internet connection, and a pleasing personality that will appeal to audiences worldwide.
It wasn’t long before internet users went viral and turned into ‘influencers’ on social media and video sharing platforms like YouTube and Instagram. These include PewDiePie (a Swedish actor and comedian with the 10th most viewed channel on YouTube), Michelle Phan (a notable YouTube personality who became Lancôme’s official video makeup artist in 2010), the Vlogbrothers (a video blog channel hosted by the brother duo John Green and Hank Green, and more.
The emergence of these influencers has taught us that being an online sensation has the power to influence people in a way no other media form can. Creating viral content has been the dream of digital marketers. However, this has also resulted in a misguided notion that getting big numbers is the be-all-end-all social media metric to strive for. And this mindset fails to see that viral audiences are detached—providing only a comment, like, or share, before moving on to the next viral content they find.
Conversations are Better Than Views
Imagine a Facebook page with 100,000 followers. Sounds impressive, right? Now imagine that same page with the same amount of followers, but more than half aren’t engaging with the Facebook page’s content. On the surface, you still have 100,000 when it comes to your follower count. However, you’re still falling short of maximizing your social media presence by failing to initiate meaningful interactions with your followers.
A big audience is a great starting point, but the content you create for them determines how valuable your follower count really is. Instead of capturing a large audience that likes your posts every now and then, consider building a community of lifelong advocates who share the same brand values. This way, your followers will consistently participate in conversations about your brand and encourage others to do the same.
How to Create Meaningful Conversations
Now you understand the importance of building a community of followers who engage with your content. The next question is: how do you refine your strategy to lift your brand to greater heights? Here are some tips:
Craft useful, high-quality content.
The best way to engage an audience is to post relevant content that your audience can relate to. The goal is for you to create content that helps your audience find the answer they’re looking for faster. After all, higher quality content is naturally more likely to spark conversations. Achieve quality content by:
- Conducting target audience research to find out what they find appealing (as well as what they find appalling).
- Communicating your brand values and showing your personality. Audiences are more likely to engage with personable brands with relatable content.
- Creating visually-appealing images and story-rich videos that audiences would love to view.
- Responding to comments and participating in online conversations about your brand. For instance, if a fan makes content for you, feature it on your page. Doing this can help you build a stronger relationship with your audience.
- Keep your posts simple and easy to consume. The average person now has a shorter attention span than a goldfish, so you’ll need to capture their attention in just a few seconds.
These are just some of the things you can do to get a genuine response from your audience. In a world overflowing with content, you have to put forth the extra effort to make your content stand out.
Create and schedule personalized posts.
When it comes to posting social media content, things can move pretty quickly. Posting new content, for instance, can create a huge impact on how your audience responds to your post. And this ties in with conducting target audience research. If you know that your audience is into geek culture, personalize your content by making references to events they could like, such as ‘May the 4th’ (Star Wars Day). It keeps your brand fresh and relevant, as well.
Another thing you should do is tap into social media analytics to see the exact times your followers consume and are most receptive to your content. Some fans, for example, are more active during nighttime, while others prefer checking their social media feeds during their lunch break. So create a publishing calendar and schedule when you are likely to get the most out of your content.
Build a community that supports your brand values.
One of your main goals is to build meaningful relationships with your audience. Do this by forming a community of lifelong advocates for your brand. An example would be the effect of ‘micro-influencers.’
Compared to macro-influencers, (those with 100,000 or more followers), micro-influencers have a humble but dedicated reach of about 1,000 to 10,000 followers. And unlike their more famous online counterparts, they prioritize engagement over reach. Since they have a smaller audience, they are more likely to respond to most comments on their posts. This results in a tight-knit community that is more likely to convert.
Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
If going viral teaches us anything, it’s that numbers still matter. But what’s more important is what you can do to expand your reach and make audiences respond better. After all, quality should trump quantity when it comes to generating greater conversations. As more and more content is pushed into the web every day, the quality of your content is what will set your brand apart. So being internet famous shouldn’t be your end goal—rather, it should be the by-product of generating meaningful conversations.