social engagementLets set the stage. You have a website or YouTube channel and you create some wonderful content for your customers. You need to start distributing the content and you Tweet out your new video or blog post. You added the appropriate hashtags and image. You get several likes in the first few minutes and you think your potential customers love your content. The question you should be asking is whether or not these likes support the idea that your customers actually value your content.

While this may be a subjective concept I can support my claim. People like content far a variety of reasons. This is why many marketers create personas. To understand consumer behaviors.

You may be wondering what I mean in regards too why people like posts. Just because they liked your post doesn’t mean they even read it. More often than not you will have more likes than clicks on your link in the first few hours.

Why Post Likes Are Greater Than Link Clicks

People like posts for a variety of reasons so you shouldn’t use those likes to evaluate the quality of your posts. Some people like the brand or idea of the post more than it itself. Additionally, some people like content to try to bring attention to themselves. Adding hashtags commonly gets content in front of people who like posts for personal reasons.

Twitter and LinkedIn are notorious for a disproportionate amount of people promoting themselves. Finding that small amount of people who honestly want to read content is much more difficult. The only way for your content to be helpful is if people actually read it. Offering value is one of the most important parts of building a reputation with customers.

Adding strong call-to-actions and hitting customer pain points are the most powerful ways to get people reading your content. This will get more people to click your link and not just like your post. Ask yourself if your content and title is taking a side and has an opinion. If your content and posts don’t bother someone than no will be interested in it. Average content doesn’t get clicks. Average content only gets a few likes.

Fact: Your tweets have a 12x higher chance of being retweeted if you ask for it, and 23x higher if you actually spell out the word “retweet” – Buffer

Big brands and celebrities are not a good comparison for most businesses and start-ups. They have their brand to help them get people to like and read their content. It takes a long time before people will trust you have quality content from your name alone.

Additionally, analytics has to also analyze the visitors viewpoint and that is why understanding consumer behavior is important. Some of your consumers hit like because they like you and not your content. People have shorter and shorter attention spans and don’t read or watch your content without a reason. That is why the call-to-actions and pain points help people read more. Its how people are wired.

“I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The best way to understand how people engage content is to literally watch people on their phones. It sounds creepy, but it’s not. You can see people on their phone anytime you’re sitting around at a sporting event, bar, or bus.

You can see people watching the first 5 seconds of a YouTube video, hit thumbs up, and move on. They thumb thru Twitter feeds and like or retweet seemingly random posts. Occasionally they click links to maybe read the first half of an article or scan through it as fast as possible.

The behavior of your customers is likely different than what you imagine or wish. Don’t assume they are exactly like you. People prefer different kinds of content and have different attention spans. Don’t use post likes as the only way to evaluate if people actually like your content. Its not an accurate number to use. Utilize all of the analytics you have and understand of consumer behavior to figure out if people like your content.

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