Rules of Engagement: Why, How, and 5 Budget-Friendly Tools to Help Along the Way


Oohlala, another blog entry–great! You must be bouncing off the walls in anticipation, right?Already thinking of a response to post in the comments section too, I’ll bet.

Any marketer would be very happy if this were anywhere close to your internal monologue right now, but in reality we have no way to gauge your interest pre-post. All we can (and must) do before clicking ‘submit’ is ask some simple questions. What is the purpose of this post?Is the topic interesting and relevant to YOU?What value will YOU derive from it?Will YOUR reading this lead to conversion?

As was discussed in Social Media Outreach Tips: A Word to the Wise, social media literacy and individual engagement have become a game changer in how businesses market themselves.

Instead of a perfect pitch or pretty storefront, consumer conversion & acquisition now hinges on the quality of conversation.

How to Talk:

  • Many SM marketers make the mistake of using tools like Twitter and Facebook strictly for one way communication: using social media as a tool to send information out but never as an outlet to absorb information. As a Twitter or Facebook marketer, you can expect that your users will post on your fan page,  and use hashtags; Your users expect the same from you.
  • Don’t get lost in translation. Ensure your communication and intent is clear and that your involvement maps to objectives created for the social web.
  • Don’t just listen — act. Do something.

Walk the Walk:

  • Good content is one of the strongest tools you can use to hook customers, both new and returning. Show them that you and your company are the leading experts in your industry and that you care more about their needs and questions than the bottom line.
    Explain your products, tell them how you can help and answer their questions. Keep in mind, the goal is not to simply produce lots of content, but rather to produce meaningful, relevant content on a regular basis. You can do this through videos, blog posts, tweets or e-mail blasts.
  • Consistently create, contribute, and reinforce service and value.
  • Don’t participate solely in your own domains (Facebook Fan Page, Twitter conversations related to your brand, etc.). Participate where your presence is advantageous and mandatory.

Be Genuine:

  • Become a true participant in each community you wish to activate. Move beyond marketing and sales.
  • “Un-campaign” and create ongoing programs that keep you connected to day-to-day engagement.
  • “Un-market” by becoming a resource to your communities.
  • Give back, reciprocate, and recognize notable contributions from participants in your communities.

Gauging Your Effectiveness

So, you’ve done all that. But how do you know that it’s working? Or failing? Separate the metrics and look for specific variables (there is a list of tools below to help with this!).

Internal Metrics:

  • Average time on site
  • Pages per visit
  • On-site social interaction
  • Integrated metric tools on your site                      

External Metrics:

  • The number of inbound links to your website
  • The number of external mentions

Budget-Friendly Tools

Bottlenose: This is a free service that puts your social media channels into real-time streams that are easy to gauge.

Hello Bar: Install a customizable information bar onto any of your webpages by copy/pasting Hello Bar’s code onto the page.

mBlast: When you log into mPact, the top 10 influencers for your brand and any of your competitors is the first thing you see. And the data changes dynamically each day as new articles are published, new tweets and retweets are posted.

Google Analytics: This classic and constantly improving service generates detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and measures conversions and sales.

CrazyEgg: Generates a heatmap based on where the visitors of your website click.

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