The Social Media Secret the Guru’s Never Mention!

All the social media marketing experts out there tell you to engage your audience.

Engaging is one of those words you hear bandied about every day on Twitter and Facebook, we’re constantly told we must ‘engage’ our audience for social media marketing that works. But what does that even mean?

It simply means that we need to get the people that have liked our pages on Facebook, followed us on twitter, connected with us on LinkedIn or subscribed to our YouTube channels to click on our links and actually communicate with us.

A more engaged audience is a sign you are doing something right, and we are told that those that are more engaged are more likely to buy.

But there is something about engaging your audience the social media guru’s don’t tell you!

Some people don’t engage through social media! In fact, if your audience is UK based – a lot don’t engage!

Let me explain, whatever your business is, and wherever your audience see you, that audience is made up of a variety of people, some are simply more likely to engage than others.

According to Wikipedia what we generally experience online is a ‘Mediated audience’. They say “Audiences who consume texts or speeches through television, radio, and Internet are considered mediated audiences because those mediums separate the rhetor and the audience.”

This basically means that the audience is one step removed from us – they are not directly in front of us, they are most likely reading something we have written, listening to one of our podcasts or watching us on YouTube. However fresh the post it is there will always be a certain lack of immediacy.

What this means is that your audience is less likely to feel the need to participate or to give you feedback than they would if you were delivering your content face-to-face.

A recent post on Social Media Explorer,says although this interaction is ‘gold’, it is only likely that between 1 and 3% of your audience will actually participate. To put this in perspective if you have 100 people that like your page, only 3 will be ‘talking about it’.

That’s not so very many really is it?

Now you might think that if only 3% of your audience are engaging then it stands to reason that an even smaller percentage are ready to buy. A depressing thought….

But thankfully not a true one.

Think again about the concept of an audience, in fact imagine an audience at a magic show. There will be a few plucky people prepared to ‘volunteer’ to assist, there may in be one or two mad ones like myself that are desperate to get on the stage and join in!

However the vast majority of the audience don’t want to be hauled on stage and hypnotised to cluck like a chicken! In fact they’ll often deliberately buy seats out of harms way!

Does this mean they don’t enjoy the show? No.

Does it mean they won’t buy tickets to see the next show? No!

Does it mean they won’t buy a DVD by the magician? Of course not!

They are engaged, but in their own way and from a distance … This is particularly true of UK audiences I might add!

I can’t count the number of times people have sent me messages out of the blue saying they would like my help with their social media marketing and yet they have never retweeted a single thing, or clicked like on any of my facebook page posts and they certainly haven’t commented on a blog post or YouTube video!

But they have been watching me and obviously have liked what they’ve seen, and the same is true of your audience.

That’s not to say you should stop trying to engage them, but don’t be too down-hearted if your engagement stats are not what you want them to be.

Over to you – Have you ever had a query ‘out of the blue’ and traced it back to your social media marketing?

Get more likes on your page, Engage your facebook fans, Get sales from your facebook page


    1. Gemma Thompson

      Yes it can be a little disheartening otherwise I think. But stay in good cheer, you are reaching more than you think and your audience will continue to grow – I’ve read some of your stuff and it’s good:)

  1. Inez Blafla

    Regd. that people who do not leave comments none the less can represent viable business leads. In anything business related, and particularly for consultancy in B2B and media generally, I believe the lack of ‘public’ engagement has more to do with universal caution than culturally related characteristics ; who wants the competition to know where they are at:-) .
    Re ROI and if 1-3% engagement reflects a successful Social Media strategy. The context will determine the answer : total market size, geographic restrictions and the competition is the first equation to look at, the second, what type of business one is in and how important a dynamic social media profile is to ones overall brand id. Not all business sectors need ‘viral’ online presences to optimise their profit, nor do all players in a media driven sector necessarily need to be ‘uber’ interactive.
    Not to take away from your bread and butter but there is an awful lot of hype going on, and whilst Social Media should be seriously taken into account, if not integrated, in a marketing and PR strategy, a good one will not be driven by goals to increase the engagement figure in order to meet or surpass non existent benchmarks for success. I fully realise that you are not disagreeing with this, but I wish you had made the case for a nuanced use and evaluation of social media rather than focusing on the figures game which underpins the hype.

  2. Pingback: What are Your Competition doing on Social Media? | Social Media Illumination

  3. Gemma Thompson

    Hi Inez,

    I’m glad you realise that I am not disagreeing as I am in 100% agreement with your comment!
    Obviously every blog post has parameters and many of my posts focus on other aspects, also when I am with clients I always tell them that social media should be integrated not just into their marketing strategy but into their business strategy … there is no point having 100,000 followers on twitter if you don’t know what you want to achieve!
    Unfortunately you are right, there is a lot of hype about Social Media, and a lot of ‘guru’s’ out there that don’t think things through fully from the perspective of the business they are working with … or help that business see their customers perspectives!
    Thanks so much for commenting, I look forward to reading more comments of this caliber from you in the future!

  4. Pingback: Budding Communities Academy » Blog Archive » What are your competition doing on Social Media?

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