This blog post was originally written by Nadine Long.

Are you attracting customers with your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles, or driving them away? Mashable teamed up with EyeTrackShop, a startup that uses webcams to track eye movement and see where people engage most with content, based on where their eyes lingered longest. Although the study only involved 30 participants, the results are intriguing. Since social media profiles are usually formatted the same for businesses as they are for people, there may be some knowledge to gain here.

Pictures are important.

“The site feature that attracted most attention on Klout, Facebook and StumbleUpon was the profile photo.” If you’re using a logo as your main photo, make sure you have a good resolution. The optimal resolution for web images is 72 dpi.

People actually do look at your friends (or fans).

It’s easy to overlook this element, but a lot of people scan this area, probably to see whether any of their friends are also fans of your business. An endorsement by someone they know goes a long way for most consumers.

Content is still king. People look at the top of your main feed before anything else.

For a business, this means that the first thing they see is either something you’ve posted, or something another customer has posted to share with you. There’s a fine line between engaging and spamming. Think about what your customer wants to know about your business and share relevant information, but don’t make it look like a ticker tape advertising the same special over and over again.

If customers post on your wall or write to you on Twitter, respond to them. Even if they’re contacting you to lodge a complaint, you should respond: ignoring them looks like you treat all of your customers that way. Even a brief “We’re in the office today, give us a call and we’ll resolve the issue” is better than silence.

Consumers assume that you’re reading their posts and expect you to respond. 75 percent of consumers who got any response at all from a complaint lodged on Twitter were happy with how it was handled. Responding to social media might seem like a function of customer service, but it can actually improve your brand image. Interestingly, in EyeTrackShop’s results on Twitter, users read most of the feed, rather than losing interest after a few lines, which means that they’re also paying attention to how you deal with other customers.

Another interesting way to track customer engagement is through a click-tracking service like Lucky Orange. Lucky Orange generates heat maps similar to the eye-tracing software, but it’s tracking mouse movement and clicks instead of visual information. It also lets you track mouse movements around the screen and see your visitors plotted on a map based on their location.

Their intro video tracks an actual Lucky Orange client’s discovery that one of their buttons was broken. The customer clicks on the button several times with no response. They visited the contact form, possibly considering letting the owner know, but then left the page.

 

With realtime results like that, you could find out quickly what’s working and not working on your site.

The big lessons: your customers want you to engage with them, and you can never do enough quality control.