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April 19, 2012

Tips on Thursday: User Engagement

Engagement (marketing)
Engagement (marketing) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
How many followers do you have? What is your average daily page views? What are your unique visitor and returning visitor counts? These are just a few of the questions that bloggers either are asked by others or they ask themselves. I like numbers so I thought I was the only one obsessed about the numbers for my blog. But it turns out most bloggers are concerned about their numbers.

But the number of followers, unique visitors, and returning visitors is not really important. Page views are slightly important, but only in how it relates to the the most important factor for a book blogger - user engagement. We have recently seen how important word of mouth recommendations can be in the success of a book. There have been countless number of obscure authors catching fire because someone told someone else who then told someone else and so forth.

How well do you get your followers talking and buying what you are writing  about? There are several ways to measure user engagement. Comments are a good measure of user engagement. Are you able to generate discussion? Take a look at which posts on your blog have had the greatest response based on number of comments. If only your giveaways are getting comments (because it was a stipulation to enter), then you need to work on your regular posts.

I've been hit or miss on garnering post comments. People often do not know what to say in a comment. They feel lame just saying "Great blog!". Ask thought provoking open ended questions (something that requires more than a yes or no) in your posts. Then encourage the discussion by responding to comments. Since blogger changed it commenting to allow for replies, comments to blog post have increased. Controversial points of view can also generate great discussion. Did you hate a book everyone else loved?

I didn't mean to spend so much time on comments. Comments is not the only measure of user engagement. Closely related is discussion on Twitter and Facebook. Are you tweets being re-tweeted or replied to? Do your status updates on Facebook get likes, comments, and shares? Again a simple question can lead to a great conversation (Try asking your followers what they are reading).

Probably the measurement authors and publishers are most interested in is how well do you spur your followers to action. Sales obviously comes to mind. This conversion can be difficult to measure. I like that as an Amazon Affiliate I can see what links have been clicked and what is purchased through my links. But did you know that tracking how many people have added the book to their Goodreads shelves can also give an idea of user engagement? Next time you post about a book check to see how many people add it to their shelf in the following days. Most people who put a book on their shelf are highly likely to buy (or check out from the library) the book.

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It states that 20% of people do 80% of the work. I think this rule applies to blogging - 20% of your followers will be doing 80% of the interactions - and serves as a good base line. With this number in mind, how high is your user engagement? Do you have less than 20% interaction (comments, retweets/replies, adding books you recommend to their shelf, etc.)?

If you are below this baseline, I encourage you this week to try one thing to increase your user engagement. This might be adding a question or two to your posts or making personal recommendations to your friends on Goodreads (I'll have a post on using Goodreads in the coming weeks if you don't know how to make recommendations). Also increasing your interactions with your followers - leaving comments on other blogs, replying/retweeting your followers on Twitter, etc. - will have a positive impact on your user engagement.

For those who have high user engagement, do you have advice or any tips to share?
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2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tip! I'm considering starting my own book blog and I like picking the brain of someone who's been doing this successfully!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post. Engaging readers is one of the things that I'm working on now that I'm getting back into the groove. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    ReplyDelete

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