My answer is Both, but with a clear understanding of the differences that exist between the two techniques.
For the last three years, our Inboxes have been the constant targets of any and every social networking website(s) emerging on the Web. None of us could ignore the temptation, and fell an easy prey to them. From Big Daddies to Corporate Lilliputs to individuals, each of us joined this social media wave. But how many of us really have the solid action plan devised to make the most of our social media presence, especially if you’re a brand?
Since you and I are on the Web for quite some time now, I hope you must be aware of the web optimization techniques, SMO in particular. A blur line exists between social media optimization (SMO) and engagement. Can you decipher that difference?
Both techniques behave like magnets for enticing more web visitors through social media channels. See, both techniques have a common radical objective i.e, community building. But there is a significant difference in approach. While SMO encompasses a pure scientific approach, engagement involves an abstract approach to conjoin a brand with followers.
Guys, though community building is not a Herculean task, but sustaining the same is. It’s here that Content Curation arrives in the picture. Aware? No! Well, I’m there to highlight you on the same since it happens to be my forte. It’s the method to feed your community with best content available on the social web. And that too, consistently. Why? Because, this optimized curated content resonates strongly within your community and gets virality.
Let’s pick SMO first and try to understand the entire mechanism. Shuttle between the particular social networks you wish to target. The key to SMO success is a proper understanding of the class of audience present on each social network, and their behavior on these platforms. This will give you an overview of the kind of content that rules each one of them, and enable you to formulate a smart strategy accordingly.
Let me cite you an example. Suppose your target audiences is business professionals. And, you’re clueless which platform you can engage them on. Try using a good social media management (SMM) tool with analytics feature. This will give you a good picture of the user type that exists on a particular social site, and whether your business objectives match with the audience type or not.
‘Busy times’ is an aspect that you can’t overlook. Like your website, even social networks do have their busy and not-so busy times. For instance, 96% Indian IT firms forbid use of social media at work. Then what to do? In such a scenario, it’s imperative to post your content on evenings/nights and weekends since possibility of such posts performing better gets magnified. You must also take due care to see how the updates on your brand page reflect on your Fan’s News Feeds section.
Another key aspect to understand is the user behavior pattern on a particular social networking website. For example, if you wish to extract feedback for your services from your target audiences, it’s intelligent to figure out which platform would work best for you. Targeting a platform like Twitter, where more than 40% users refrain from writing tweets is not a good idea for such objective.
SMO primarily facilitates user acquisition while engagement brings qualified target audiences and keeps them glued to your brand. It’s an attempt to probe deeper into the layers of your audience’s behavior ecosystem and unravel the facts that keep them interested.
How can you do this? Simple! Initiate a discussion. Let’s take your target audience again i.e., business professionals. Ask them what they find most interesting at their workplaces or which HR policies bug them the most. They’re most likely to respond to such mind-tickling comments, and then you can respond to them and make it an interactive experience for them. Such valuable vested user base participates actively in your social engagement spree. It’s like you acknowledging their participation. These are the loyal users, who navigate your pages, share their ideas, feedback, thoughts, queries or concerns about your product/services. Such action-oriented user feedback is vital for your brand’s improvement.
It’s more like humanizing your brand, giving it a voice that instantly connects with the community members and spark discussions. Based on the new communication model of DIALOGUE, engagement helps you know your followers at a much deeper level and getting your content circulated through them. All you need to do is ignite their passion for your brand and empower them to have value-added user experiences.
I hope I’ve contributed a little bit in clearing the airs of confusion about SMO and engagement persisting in the minds of many of us. Looking forward to hear your views and insights on this.