Social Media in Four Steps! Step 2: Interaction, Participation and Engagement (Welcome to the Jungle!)
Even if you’re new to social media or if you’ve only barely gotten your feet wet, you probably have an idea how powerful social networking can be. But if you’re skeptical or unsure on how to truly get involved, the world wide web might seem more terrifying than ever. Last week, we discussed finding and listening to the online conversation. This week, in our second installment of the Social Media in Four Steps blog series, we’ll go over the basics of engaging and interacting in the social media sphere. So if you’ve been thinking about implementing social media into your marketing campaign, read on for tips and tricks to help you out.
Now that you’ve found your audience, your customers and your industry thought leaders, it’s time to ENGAGE. We’ve created a little acronym to help you out as you venture into the online jungle.
E - Educate
N - Nurture relationships
G - Get involved
A - Address concerns
G - Give back
E - Enlist others
In order for any social media campaign to be successful, you need to establish yourself and your brand as a valuable piece of the community puzzle. A great way to do this is to promote yourself an educator, providing valuable information for members of the community. Write compelling content. Share relevant articles. Pass along useful information from other users. Monitor your success click-throughs (using bit.ly’s built in analytics) and retweets to help you figure out what kinds of news, articles and other information your community finds valuable.
So much of the magic of social media is found in the relationships and connections you can build with people from all over the world. Nurture them! Don’t just listen and appease, do something! Respond in kind to others interactions with you. Engage others first. Keep in touch with users who have established relationships with you.
If you’re tracking central key terms to your industry, you should have no problem finding the conversation. Spend some time monitoring these terms and discover where your company can fit in. Resist the urge to merely be a vessel of marketing and sales. Become a true participant in these communities by introducing value, insight and direction with each engagement.
Social media networks have become not only means to communicate, but also to criticize and complain. Your company needs to be prepared to respond to both the positive and negative aspects of social media. Because you’re tracking your brand across the social web (if not, check out, last week’s blog post) you should be able to detect when and where a response is needed. Ensure that your company has a designated plan for responding to negative feedback. Don’t ignore your critics. Answer accordingly, apologize when necessary and address customer complaints and criticisms as often as possible.
If other users engage you, follow you, share your blog posts or retweet you on Twitter, return the favor. On a very basic level, thank them for their retweet or follow and follow them back. But we recommend showing gratitude by taking the relationship one step further. Look at their Twitter or Facebook profile. Retweet some of their posts. Share some of their content. Visit their website and leave a comment or link back to one of their articles. Communities are very self-conscious. If you pay attention to them, you’ll get members to notice and be interested in you.
Chances are, you know a few people in the business world who aren’t active in social media. If you think they could benefit from (or be a benefit to) your online community, invite them to join and motivate them into conversation. Introduce them to the community and encourage their presence by responding to them and sharing their content. Growing the community in a positive way will help solidify your place as an important member that community.
And as we mentioned last week, this blog series is not meant to be the end all to social media. What works for one company will not necessarily work for the next. Tailor these ideas to your company’s needs, and let us know if you’ve got some great ones of your own. We’d love to hear them!
Missed Part 1? Fret not! Read all about finding and listening to the online convo here.