Saturday 01 November 2014

Friday Five: Sourcing Content to Drive Engagement

Engagement is one of the most powerful metrics to gauge the success of digital campaigns. As community managers, we seek likes, shares, comments, and retweets as at least a surface indicator of how we’re doing. We facilitate conversations and encourage interactions, creating opportunities for fans and followers to build deep connections with our brands.

With the launch of Facebook Timeline, engagement is increasingly important for achieving visibility in users’ news and activity feeds. We know that Facebook’s complex algorithm for determining visibility is largely affected by three factors:  affinity, weight, and timeliness. Posts that contain videos, photos, and links hold more “weight.” These shareable posts appear in more feeds and incite more interactions, ultimately increasing reach potential. The bottom line is this: the ultimate driver for high visibility and ongoing engagement is compelling, quality content.

So how does a community manager source and leverage great content to boost interactions? Here are five ways:

1. Seek Content With Viral Potential

Have you ever seen a hilarious video go viral and wish you had posted it first? Good news! There are websites that aggregate popular content and predict viral trends for you. Buzzfeed is a site that “tracks the web’s obsessions in real time.”  Huffington Post is also a good resource for popular videos, images, and stories. If you can’t find great content for your brands, you can certainly find links to IM your co-workers for a mid-day laugh.

2. Monitor and Join Ongoing Conversations

Photos, videos, cartoons, and memes are highly shareable, but real-time conversations provide great opportunities to make brands relevant in the moment. Look at trending topics on Twitter and craft real-time tweets to weigh in. See what topics are gaining steam on your own personal Facebook feed, and determine whether your brand could offer a meaningful contribution to the conversation.  Pay particular attention to buzz around national holidays and events, and honor those holidays in creative, brand-relevant ways. If your community members enjoy your posts, they will engage with and amplify your brand’s content.

3. Go Where Your Community Spends Time

This is the one time where it’s socially acceptable to invite yourself to the party. Seek out the forums and discussion boards where your community members are sharing ideas and links. Look at their conversations on Twitter. Read the blogs they follow and the ones they write. Glance at their Pinterest boards. Use influence measurement tools like Edelman’s own BlogLevel and TweetLevel or Klout to identify the voices relevant to your brand, and check out their social conversations.  Aggregate your findings and use your brand’s digital channels to start talking about what matters most to the community.

4. Leverage the Power of Search

It is a strong Edelman belief that search and social are closely entwined, and Social Content Optimization (SCO) may be the key to creating searchable and shareable content that drives engagement. So put on your sleuthing hat and start searching. Use Google Insights or Google’s keyword tool to find commonly-searched terms related to your brand, product, or service. Then, enter these terms in your favorite search engine, see what comes up, and determine if the results can be repurposed for your brand. Apply the same process to the search functions of YouTube and Twitter.  You can also write original posts and tweets that speak to the rising search terms related to your brand. When you create content based on your findings, optimization for search is a smart way to drive traffic to your channels.  Lastly, when you’re searching, let yourself browse. You never know what you’ll discover.

5. Activate Your Right Brain

Be creative. If you’re struggling to find a piece of content that doesn’t yet exist, create it. Host a brainstorm with team members, colleagues, or even your friends and family, and ask them to list conversation starters topically related to your brand. Often, the simplest, most relatable questions can be the most engaging. (*Disclaimer: VW is an Edelman client). Engage your sense of humor and make inside jokes that only your community will appreciate. Look for memes that may strike a chord with the community, or create your own. And, remember that pictures of cats often inspire great engagement.

cat instagram

What are some examples of engaging content that you’ve seen lately? And where do you source great content? Feeling creative? Caption the photo above.

Image credit: Marc Wathieu

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