#Brief 54: Driving social engagement

This content originally appeared on March 18, 2021 as part of the Future of Marketing weekly email series. Subscribe here.

Welcome to Future of Marketing

Each week, we send you the most relevant trends, resources, and strategies in social and user-generated content (UGC) from leading marketers and brands around the globe.

Today, we’re discussing:

  • Why engaging your audience leads to conversions
  • Successful strategies stem from happy teams
  • The anonymous frustrations of digital marketers

Engagement vs. Followers

Engagement and interactions – such as likes, comments, and shares – drive word-of-mouth and lead to conversions. So, why are brands still prioritizing vanity metrics like follower and subscriber count? 

Prioritizing the wrong metric(s) takes time and resources away from building engagement (and trust) with existing fans and customers. In fact, it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than it is to retain one – which reinforces engagement as the primary metric. 

If you want to turn your audience into advocates for your brand, start by engaging and elevating the voice of your existing audience across social media – from highlighting testimonials to re-sharing product reviews. 

In a joint report with Hootsuite, we shared three more tactics to grow engagement:

  1. Tap into employee-generated marketing – chances are happy employees are already sharing content about your brand and the work they’re doing with it. Re-share it, reward them. 
  2. Engage micro- and nano-influencers – they have double the engagement rate of accounts with more than 10,000 followers 
  3. Create UGC by hosting strategic contests and campaigns people actually want to be part of 

Tip: The more you engage with your audience – the more you will understand them, the clearer your strategy will become, and the higher your chances of converting them into customers will be. 

Social Delight

According to the State of User-Generated Content (UGC) 2021, social media managers want to be heard… and they should be heard because they are the CMOs of the future.

Social Media Managers understand how communication platforms are transforming, the demographics and psychographics within each channel, and the content people are most receptive to – and why. And yes, they understand engagement is necessary for success. 

We asked followers on Twitter what brands they love and successfully engage with their audience – and here are the reponses. 

Clickup, a powerful productivity platform, does a great job at engaging fans across social media – from responding to comments to re-sharing UGC on brand platforms. They even promised their fan, Jason Bradwell, and me a swag bag if we mentioned them in today’s newsletter, so let’s put them to the test. 😉 

A screenshot of a tweet by ClickUp saying they will send fans a gift if they get featured in Future of Marketing newsletter.

“For companies to take advantage of social media, a medium that was made for people and not for businesses, they need to learn to use social media as it was meant for: To engage and collaborate, not to promote and sell.

That’s why I am not surprised and actually encouraged that more and more marketers are using engagement as their main KPI when it comes to social media.”

Neil Schaffer

Moral of the story? Successful marketing strategies and happy customers require happy and productive teams – and this starts by giving teams the support and resources to succeed in the first place. 

What we’re learning:

Now hiring:

#BrandCrush: Social Media Tea 💘

Social Media Tea is an outlet where social media and digital communications professionals anonymously spill their secrets, frustrations, and experiences about their profession.

Social Media Tea approached things with a simple – but powerful – strategy where they invite their audience to engage with #SippinSocialTea and #SocialMediaTea, and submit their anonymous frustrations. Then, they beautifully reshare this user-generated content across their website and social media profiles to drive word-of-mouth. 

A screen shot of two anonymous submissions by social media marketers featured on Sippin Social Tea's Instagram page.

Within months, the account has received over 16,000 followers across, both, Twitter and Instagram

“I wanted a space where social media professionals and digital marketers could anonymously share their thoughts and experiences about the industry we work in, so I created Social Media Tea,” Alexa Heinrich shared with us. 

“It helps shed some light on the realities of working in social media, and gives people an outlet for their less glamorous professional feelings.”

Overall, Social Media Tea encompasses social listening and visually captivating UGC that can serve as a resource to inform leadership about the realities and pain points digital marketers face.