We keep seeing these articles about how engagement is the new currency. And thousands of social media blogs are posting articles about how to get the maximum amount of engagement.
But if there is one thing I have learned, it is that engagement and sale don't follow the same curves. Instead it looks a lot more like the graph below.
Granted I am overly simplifying it, but the point is that the magic point of sale is not where your maximum amount of engagement is.
Obviously, as a brand, you need to get people to engage. If you have no engagement, you probably have no sale, and thus zero (or negative) ROI. That's not good.
But the overly optimized forms of engagement tactics are no good either. For instance, when people post "I love Thursdays because _______?", or when they post funny pictures, try to use cheesy internet memes, or attempt to capitalize on the latest hashtag trends.
Those types of posts create a ton of engagement, but because they are silly and often pointless (although fun), they rarely produce any sale.
So the magic spot is not the type of posts that creates the highest level of engagement. The magic spot is when you inspire people about what you do and what you sell. Those types of posts often have a lower level of engagement, because they appeal to fewer people, but because they are about something people actually want and need, they often lead to a much higher level of sale.
It's easy to get people to engage with you. Anyone can do that. All you have to do is to optimize for the top performing tactics. But you create engagement at the expense of sale, which is not what you want.
It's also easy to get zero engagement or sale. Just use your Facebook page for traditional marketing, where you post about yourself, using fake models, overly optimistic brand videos, and mass-market language. If you do that, nobody would care... and you would have no sale and no engagement.
The hard part is not to get people to engage. The hard part is to get people to feel excited. Engagement without feelings is worthless. It's just noise.
So the trick is to find that magic spot where your get the maximum results. To do that, you need to focus on making people feel excited about what you do. You need to focus on being inspiring and influential, more than focusing on the actual level of engagement.
If what you do is so great, so inspirational, and so valuable that people are waiting for you to come back with more, your digital strategy is probably also going to lead to a sale. If it's just to push funny internet memes or shallow messages, it probably won't.
Make people feel by giving something they care about. Something they will remember. Something they need. Something that inspires. Something with a purpose. Something with a vision. Something that's valuable. Something that makes people happy. Something that makes people feel that you are there for them.
Don't define your success based on your level of engagement. Define your success by how important you are to people.
Find that magic spot.
Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter
"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé