Finding the holy grail of engagement in social media, we have to be ready to take it on whole heartedly. This means not just throwing a web page or fan page up or even creating a social platform for participants. It means interacting and “engaging” for the maximum effect. Think in terms of stakeholders/people/social. It means listening and speaking.
Why do we participate in LinkedIn and keep our profiles fresh? To represent ourselves accurately in the case of a referral or a request. Why do we participate in a group? Because it is of interest and stimulating. Otherwise we become “lurkers” in our interactions online. We log many hours but never leave a trace, besides a number in the Analytics (which might just as well register the time while I leave my computer on a webpage while I go to lunch).
Let’s look at several different forms and impact of engagement. First, PLAN!
What is the purpose? Is it engaging my consumers? Communicating with my shareholders? Selling something? Recruiting? Connecting remote teams? Define resources/time I have/wish to commit to it. In this case, let’s say, I create a blog and start by talking about my work and things that impact my business and what I think is interesting about it. Hmm, the analytics show low traffic. Promote it with tags relating to the posts on other related social media sites. Ok, good start, still not much though. Remember that someone needs to be interested. So write to your audience. Your strategy includes understanding who you are communicating with. Context delivers quality and increases interest.
The beauty of social media is that it is based on “user generated content” (UGC), that means there is a person behind it. Speak to the person and show that you are one too, in other words, respond. What you are building is TRUST and RELATIONSHIPS. This is not limited to the world of marketing, but to the sphere of people. People are your peers, shareholders, employees, clients, customers, members, designers and developers, testers, and more. They will be talking regardless. Become part of the conversation.