I was just in the shower, and of course got inspired to write my next blog post. For the amount of ideas I’ve generated in the shower, it’s worth more than the money we spent renovating it!
Disclaimer: I’d like to say that any time I come up with an idea for a topic that has most likely been covered, I don’t research it first. I want my article to stay original, authentic and true to my personal experiences.
So here goes.
You have to be living under a rock to not have heard that Twitter isn’t doing very well. The word on the street is that over the past years, although the platform hasn’t changed, user habits have. Twitter has become polluted with spam and bot accounts that fill our streams with garbage. Gone are the days of online conversations and true engagement, the cornerstone of social media. And engagement my friends, is threatening to become an endangered species. Now, let’s fix that.
What is engagement
Engagement is an activity on social media, generated by an audience who is paying attention, typically in response to content shared by a business. It can consist of a “like”, “comment” or “share”. This is why businesses need to create valuable content for their community of followers and present it in a way that sparks this conversation (a.k.a engagement).
Engagement is a two-way conversation; it’s one of the greatest benefits of social media. You no longer just post static information on your website for folks to read. You are there to interact and provide the means for your customers to build a relationship with their favorite brand.
The quality of engagement counts, not the quantity
Stop obsessing about the number of followers you have and start connecting with them. You’ll be spinning your wheels if you simply want to reach the masses. Remember, it’s all about your targeted audience, your loyal fans.
If you are analytic, like me, focus on what type of content gets your fans going. Do they like pretty pictures? Maybe they enjoy top secret behind-the-scenes info. Perhaps they want to connect with you on a person level, after you shared a story. Regardless of what you’re selling, tune into the way your customers connect with you.
If you already have a small following, make them feel special. Turn them into a repeat customer, rather than saying “Thanks for your business, but I’d rather make friends with someone who doesn’t care about me”. See how ridiculous that sounds when you put it in real life context?
Engagement can be used to respond to your audience, but it can also be used proactively to create new business. This can get tricky. Think of it as a sales pitch. Always play something in your head before you do it on social media, think about what it looks like if it were a real person. How many times have you received a spam-like message “Great lipstick! You should buy my amazing products (insert business here)”.
Is that what you do in real life? Maybe, but true business relationships start as just that, a relationship. Your goal is to build awareness and trust, you want your audience to like you, not be annoyed of your cheap sales tactics. Make them love you’re brand with minimal effort. Make them think it was their idea to buy your product. They need you, not the other way around. Does Tiffany & Co bombard you with spam? Precisely.
Engagement on social media goes both ways
Regardless if you’re a giant brand with hundreds of thousands of followers, or small mom-and-pop shop with a humble thousand, what truly matters is how you engage with your followers.
Your followers are a community of like-minded individuals that also have the power to connect to one another, online or in real person. A blogger on the other hand, has the capacity to influence not only your followers but the community of followers they have built.
At this point in my blogging career, I’ve had the opportunity to experience a few situations that, for me were missed opportunities for the brand who did not engage.
I understand that small business owners either don’t have the time or the expertise to navigate social media channels, let alone have an engagement strategy in place. So take this free nugget of information, and use it wisely.
The following is my golden list of how to become a kick-ass brand online who nails engagement every time:
- I don’t care who you are, how cool you are, how busy you are, or how new you are to social media, respond to absolutely every piece of engagement on your social media channels. Have you ever been left hanging on a high-five?
That’s the equivalent feeling online. Unless your National Geographic, you’ll be surprised how irrelevant you’ll become if you’re known as the brand who doesn’t engage. Even if it’s a negative comment, have a communication strategy in place that allows you to take control of the situation. Create canned responses for different scenarios and copy paste! Show people gratitude by thanking them, staying polite and positive. I’m not saying have a full-fledged conversation with each person, but respond in a way that is equivalent to be interaction from your follower. If someone tagged you in their photo with your product: like their photo, write a small comment, and if you’re feeling really bold (especially if they are an influencer) repost it! They essentially just gave you free advertisement, the least you can do is show appreciation.
- You’re too busy to create your own content? Then curate it! Engage with your community of followers to be the creators of your content, we call that user generated content. When you’re ready to post and share it, don’t forget to tag the creator and give kudos to them. Not only will they be grateful for the exposure, now other followers will be compelled to do the same. Look at that, you just became a favourite brand to engage with online!
- Play fun and nice. Social media is your chance to shine and to give your brand a personality. You can be quirky and create a sense of humour for your brand too. It’s one way to attract more followers and keep your existing followers happy.
Recently, I was tweeting with Flare Magazine and really appreciated how much they engage with their readers. It’s so lovely to see and reminded me why I fell in love with engaging in social media in the first place. What was your best Social Media engagement? What brand is your favourite to “play” with online?
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like “Bloggers and Businesses: Ways we can work together”.