Welcome to Marketing Monday, where I give you tips and tricks for being your own content marketer. This week’s post is all about what it means to have people engage with your content and why you should care.
A few months ago I wrote a post about why engagement doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. Recently I was thinking that I may have gotten a little ahead of myself. If you’re new to the world of content marketing, you might not know why you would care about engagement at all – or you might not even have a very clear idea of what I mean by engagement. So let’s start there:
What Is Engagement?
When people talk about how much engagement your posts get, they mean likes, comments, and shares. This pertains mostly to social media, but it’s also relevant to your blog posts, especially when it comes to comments. Are people liking your social media post? How many people are liking it? What percentage of the people who view it are liking it? How many comments and shares do your blog posts get?
Why Does It Matter?
The short answer: SEO.
The long answer: Google keeps track, not only of what you do to your website, but what other people do to your website, including whether your posts are getting comments, and if so, where those comments are coming from.
That last point is an important distinction. It’s not enough to just get comments, you have to make sure the comments are coming from reliable sources. If you get a comment that isn’t at all relevant to your post, or one that lists the source as the website of a male performance enhancement drug, it’s spam and you should delete it. Spam comments on your posts will actually lower your SEO rankings.
Unfortunately, you don’t have as much control over the comments people make on your social media posts, although you can report accounts that you suspect of being spam to the social media company.
Just like Google keeps track of the engagement your website gets, social media sites also keep track of the engagement your posts get – not just how much engagement, but how much of each kind of engagement. Likes are good, but comments are better because it takes more effort for people to comment on a post than to like it (admittedly, not much more effort, but in today’s scrolling world, every little bit really does count). For each bit of engagement your post gets, the more valuable the site will determine your content to be, and since they try to push valuable content in front of more people, the more engagement your posts get, the more the site will help promote the post.
Shares are obviously the most valuable form of engagement. First, people will like and comment on all sorts of posts, but they’ll only share their favorite posts with their followers. Social media sites recognize this, which is why posts with shares get higher rankings. Second, it enhances your organic visibility – when people show your content to their followers, it automatically increases that post’s reach by hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
What to Do About It
This can seem like a bit of a catch-22 in that engagement will help increase your post’s visibility, but before anyone can engage with it, they have to see it. Fortunately, there are a few ways to boost your organic visibility so your posts can get more engagement:
- content partnerships
When I say engagement, what I mean is engaging with other people’s content. It’s not enough to publish great content and push it out on social media without actually spending any time on social media. You have to see what other people in your industry are talking about on social media and like, share, and comment on their posts. That will help get their attention and increase your visibility in your industry, especially if your comments are thoughtful and unique. The standard “Great content!” is not only lazy, it’s what robots tend to comment on people’s posts.
All this having been said, the comments I made in my previous post about not valuing engagement above all else still stands. Engagement is great, but everyone has their own thresholds for what kinds of posts they’ll like, share, and comment on, so just because you’re not getting the engagement you were hoping for, doesn’t mean your posts aren’t having an impact. I’ve gotten clients through social media posts, even though those never clients have never liked, shared, or commented on any of my posts.
Thanks for reading! If you like what you see here, you can sign up for my newsletter at the top of this page. If you still have questions about content marketing, let’s chat.