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Q: Some marketers shun asking for engagement on social media, but does it work?

In the world of social media marketing there are two sides to a frequent debate. On the one hand you have marketers who believe asking for engagement is a shabby, cheap approach. On the other is a group that does ask and has no problem doing so. But does asking for engagement really increase the interactions between a brand and its followers? We found out.

The Goods
To find our answer, we looked at all ski resort tweets and Facebook posts from July – October of this year. To avoid updates that weren’t meant to get engagement, we only included content that received at least one of the interaction we were looking at (i.e., for Facebook shares, we only looked at posts that had been shared at least once). We then compared the interaction rate of posts that asked for engagement (“like this if you…”, “please RT”, “share this to win…”) to those that didn’t.

To paint an more accurate picture, we focused on actions (likes, shares, etc.) per thousand followers. So, on the chart below, 9 on the “likes” scale means 9 likes per 1000 Facebook fans. Here’s how the averages look for the 10,000+ posts we looked at.


Let’s get specific. Asking for retweets snagged 2.5 retweets per thousand fans versus 0.6 retweets for tweets that didn’t ask (4x as many). Asking for likes got 10.9 per thousand versus 8.0 (1.4x as many). Comments were 5.0 compared to 0.9 (5.8x as many) and shares were 9.4 versus 2.2 (4.2 as many). Bottom line, asking works.

What This Means
So why would a resort marketer want to boost engagement? On Twitter, it’s a matter of increased reach. More retweets earn the marketer “free” reach beyond their own followers. On Facebook, it’s a matter of that and EdgeRank. In simple terms, more engagement gives a brand’s content a better chance to be seen both now and in the future.

Many marketers will stick to their guns about not asking for engagement. For the rest, however, this is a potentially valuable lesson. While this concept can be abused, for the occasional piece of content where engagement is especially valuable, simply asking for these actions may be the most effective way to get more of them.

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