I often get contacted by people who are seeking help with their social media strategies. I commonly hear that “Facebook doesn’t work.” or that “Twitter is useless.” Within a few moments of looking into their accounts, I generally see a common issue: the brand’s lack of engagement with a perfectly good audience.
Engagement is so very important when it comes to social media. It is what people ENJOY about social media. It is what makes social media different from old media. It is interactive and if a brand is going to have a successful social media campaign, the interaction is critical.
I have one client who did not realize that the posts that people wrote on her Facebook fan page’s timeline were meant to be answered. I quickly made sure that “the brand” reached out to each person who had put up a post. When my client told me that she did not know how she was supposed to react or reply, I realized that there would be other people in this same boat.
Engaging With Your Audience 101:
- When someone posts on your Facebook timeline, always reply. Make sure the person knows that you saw his or her comment. Make him or her feel appreciated. If you do not reply, it will look like you do not manage your brand and it is never beneficial for others to have this impression of you.
- Do more than talk about yourself. Nobody wants to listen to a brand that promotes, promotes and promotes some more. Be liberal with giving away free value and make sure that your audience can always find current information about your industry by visiting your blog or social sites.
- Ask your fans what they want from you. Do you know what they like the most and the least? Do you understand them and give them information to keep them interested in you?
- Do not be afraid to share content that other people in your industry create. Sharing is caring and you want to be a part of the sharing circle. I constantly share information about social media. My fellow social media peers are thankful and are then happy to share my content.
- When somebody shares your content, be sure to thank the person. Sharing is similar to a recommendation so be sure to file that away in your mind. If somebody came to you offline and told you that they referred a friend to you, you would extend thanks. The same is true for online recommendations (or, in this case, shares).
- Think about the people or brands that influence you. Make sure that you interact with their social network posts as much as you possibly can. This can be in the form of retweets, “likes” and comments on Facebook fan pages, blog comments, etc. Get on their radar and stay there.
- Ask questions and be supportive of input. Let your audience know that you want to hear from them! Encourage them to speak and converse with you.
Think of social media as you would any other kind of social club, such as a country club or dinner club. You would not walk into either type of facility and not talk to anyone. Even worse, you would not walk in and talk incessantly about yourself. You would, hopefully, talk with other people, meet new people, congratulate old friends on accomplishments and be, in a word, social.
I hope that these ideas for engagement are just the start of positive and meaningful conversations with the people who are interested in your brand. If you are a master engager, what other suggestions would you make for those looking to increase engagement with their audience?