Whether you have a team of social media editors, an entire marketing department or you are just doing it yourself, getting the most value for time spent on social media is critical to your media business.

But do you wonder if your social media efforts (blog posts, tweets, etc) are shouting into the void? Is your niche audience engaged with you enough to convert?

Mana Ionescu (President of Lightspan Digital) knows your pain. She knows how to manage social media channels and create the right frequency and timing to fuel social audience growth. We asked her to share some of her expert tips on understanding audience engagement, what to avoid, and future tech trends to watch.

For niche publishers who want to truly understand what those likes and follows really mean—where should they start? How can they determine if their audience is engaged enough to convert?

“Start by looking at engagement rates and click to follower rates. In other words, what percentages of your followers are engaging with your content and what percentage of your followers are generating clicks on links that go to your website, or a place of conversion.

Additionally, you can use a tool like FanpageKarma.com to see who your most engaged followers on Facebook are. Click on their names and see if you can gain any insights into them. Copy their names, and do Twitter and LinkedIn searches to see who they are. These folks could be your ambassadors, so put some effort into finding out who they are and how you can collaborate with them to reach even more people.

But, ultimately, what you want is visitors to a place of conversion. Or other interactions that will move them closer to subscribe, buy, or contact you. “Visitors” as a metric, trumps everything else. You can have a million followers and get zero traction if they don’t feel compelled to do more than just like or share.”

What are 3 social media tactics that niche publishers should STOP right now?

  1. “Stop talking about yourself. Sorry to break the news to you, but no one cares. I don’t care that a new edition is out, or that you went to a convention. I care about what’s inside that edition that I can’t read anywhere else. I care about finding a post that I can share with my social network, to make myself look good and get a ton of likes. Get the idea? People are online to satisfy certain needs – be entertained, feel better about themselves, learn something new or in a new and unique way. And in a place like Twitter or Facebook that’s flooded with content, you need to find ways to give them what they need, when they need it and in a way that makes you stand out. Talking about yourself doesn’t accomplish any of those.
  2. Stop obsessing about posting and start talking with people. Take a look at GEEK Magazine. They do a great job of asking specific questions, about specific subjects. The posts that get the most engagement are the ones that try to pull the audiences in.
  3. Stop mentioning people or brands and not tagging them. And to take this one step further, stop posting without mentioning anyone. To expand your reach, you want to get the attention of others who may re-share your post. The first step in that is to actually @mention them, or tag them in a photo. Even if it’s just as a cc:.”

What audience development trends do you see coming in 2018 for publishers?

“Demand for tailored content will grow, and it will be fed by new segmentation technologies and more affordable AI engine solutions. In other words, people will continue to want search engines, and social network algorithms to guess their minds and give them the content they want when they want it and where they’re at.

Some of that is predictable: mobile, video, fast content, immersive visual experiences. But the more intricate audience demands will only be satisfied with new technologies (do look into installing AMP on your sites, for fast mobile content delivery), paying close attention to trends and audience moods (if everyone is in a somber mood on Facebook, be sensitive to that and don’t post content that may offend).”

 

Editor’s note: Learn more from Mana in person! She will be leading the session, “Social Media Success: Growing Audience for Reach & Conversion!” at the 2017 Niche Digital Summit in Chicago, Sept. 25-27.

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More about Mana: Mana Ionescu is the founder and president of Chicago digital marketing agency, Lightspan Digital. The outspoken Romanian loves busting digital marketing myths and teaching how to do social media marketing right. A true data nerd, Mana serves on the Masters in Analytics Advisory Committee at the Illinois Institute of Technology. A sought-after speaker, she has shared knowledge as a Kellogg Executive Education faculty and at high-profile conferences around the country, such as Techweek, SES, MPI TechCon, Conversion Conference, Content Jam, Marketing Profs University, Pubcon and many more.

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