We spend oodles of  time talking about increased exposure for your company or personal brand while using social media. We spend countless hours reading about tips to gain attention and pull users into our content. Personally. I spend quite a bit on Google Reader trying to stay ahead of the curve and consume the next big idea.

Many small business owners concentrate on one aspect of social media: the attention of the users. It is mainly the increased exposure to potential clients that starts the interest wheel turning. This is the old marketing strategy of… the more content you share the more eyes you will hit. We need to take it a bit further than just building brand recognition. It is hard to measure brand recognition in terms of return on investment.

Initially when entering into a social media marketing strategy companies need to think about the attention gaining concepts for the plan. Whether you are doing a contest, being productive on social networks, or launching a new blog it is important to initially focus on the attention aspect of social media.

What is truly important (in a business sense) is the action the user takes to buy and/or become interested in your product. You have all the attention you can muster! How do you turn the user’s attention into action.

7 Ways to Change Attention to Action

1. Free eBook:

Write a short book about your expertise. Are you an accountant? A business coach? Maybe you are a plumber who is just getting involved online? Write a quick page turner on some topics that will be beneficial to your readers. Offer it for a free download and capture their email address. This will allow you to build your database while already zeroing in on interested prospects. Chris Brogan has done an excellent job at this.

2. Blog or Email Subscription

In everything you do in social media it is extremely important to always have a subscription box for users to subscribe to your thoughts and offerings. A great email tool for wordpress is FeedBurner Email Subscription.

3. Promotional Banners or Links to your Profile

Always have a link present (image or text) that offers a discount on your services. You can also have a link directed to your company website that allows users to invest more time in learning about your services. This is a huge example of way to drive your attention users to your website and sell them on your services.

4. Gain Their Trust

You need to become involved in the communities that potentially may be a revenue source for your company. Take the time to respond to questions, ask questions, invest in writing great content, and helping people out. This is a huge aspect of changeing attention to action. The steps towards the buying pattern of a user has a lot to do with trust in the social media environment. Gain their trust and offer them something to hard to put down.

Gaining the trust of a user is the more important of the four steps listed above. User’s attention is not a bad thing but in order to measure your  ROI  you must take some of them to the action steps.

5. Use Intense Debate to Encourage Further Conversation.

Intense Debate is an AWESOME comment plugin that allows for intense comment functionality for your blog. The features include: comment threading, reply-by-email, email notifications, commenter profiles, moderation/blacklisting, reputation points, widgets, and Twitter integration (to new a few).

6. Email Capture Page on Facebook.

Facebook Fan Pages (of Like Pages) have been increasing in terms of functionality for the everyday user. With sites like Wildfire Apps and TabSite leading the way in making Fan page functionality easier to manage… it is easier to build a capture system using Facebook Fan Pages. I recommend building an email capture page that will encourage both fans and non-fans of your page to submit their email to subscribe to your “information.” This information could be anything from company newsletter to promotions/sales jargon.

7. Video Blog

I could be better at this… believe me. The response I get off of videos is pretty overwhelming in the long haul. Videos create a sense of connection between a viewer and the content. If you create a video… be very sure you care creating something of substance. Try making a video per week to enhance the quality of your blog… driving the user to submit information in order to know you…. more.