I recently was invited by an unnamed exhibit company to ‘like’ them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. So I went to check out their social media sites and see what kinds of things they were up to.
Hate to say it, but I was pretty disappointed. The Facebook page was just self-promotional regurgitations and the Twitter account echoed the Facebook page. The posts were simply ‘New Catalog!’ or ‘Special Promotion’ or ‘ Which sign is right for you?’
The first rule of social media engagement is ‘don’t just push stuff out.’ Take time to do the following, in an intentional manner:
Listen: know what’s going on in your industry. Follow other companies and bloggers that are active and knowledgeable. See how they interact with their audience. Read what kinds of topics they’re posting about and what the reaction is from their readers. Track keywords using Google Alerts, so you’re getting notified in real time about what’s going on. Even if you did nothing else, the simple act of listening to your industry using social media will undoubtedly be quite an education.
Engage: once you have listened for a while, you’ll see what types of questions are being asked and what topics are important to your industry. Jump in and make comments and ask questions of your own.
Respond: when your followers make comments, don’t just let them sit there. Ignoring comments, especially negative comments, is bad form and bad practice. Take some time to respond with a thoughtful comment or question of your own. Make it a conversation. Yes, some online conversations are very short – in fact, most are – but they’re still valuable because you’re showing the other person that you care enough to respond.
Measure: as your engagement builds over time, take some time on a regular basis to measure a few things. Facebook is great for measurement. On your company page, you can look at your page insights and get revealing demographic information about who is responding, listening and who’s talking about those various topics. Twitter does not offer nearly as much information, but you do have the ability to count re-tweets, which is a great measure of the value of that particular post. You can also track Twitter followers and trends. By using Google Analytics, you can see how much traffic Twitter drives to your blog or website.
Help! Yes, you can offer help to those in your industry. Whenever the opportunity comes up, offer suggestions, answer questions, and be a resource. If you do this with the mindset that you’re not trying to just create a sale, but to position yourself as a knowledgeable leader, it will help you in the long run and lead to good things.
Be intentional and consistent: when it comes to intention, a lot of us have good intentions. But unfortunately good intentions don’t always mean good outcomes. So when you think about intention when it comes to social media, start with the idea that you’re going to focus on just a few things: don’t get distracted by pet photos, goofy videos or hot links. Instead, be there with the intent to uncover what people in your industry are talking about, what’s bugging them, and how you might help. Consistency is important, too, as it puts you in the mix on a regular basis. Consistency is NOT spending an hour today and an hour next Monday and another hour on your company’s social media because no one else is doing it. No, consistency is making sure that you, or someone in your company is tasked to show up and listen, learn, engage and respond on a regular basis, hopefully at least once or twice day, even if only for ten minutes at a time. Regularity, consistency and focused intention will put you in front of 90% of your competitors.
Collaborate: so you want more content for your blog? Or you want something to chat about on Twitter? Or you need photos for Facebook or video for YouTube? Contact one of your social media followers that pique your interest and work out a mini-deal: you’ll help them out if they help you out. Interview someone. Exchange blog posts. Working together not only helps create more content more quickly, it fosters relationship-building, which spreads your name and your company’s name throughout cyberspace in a positive way.
- Don’t just push stuff out
- Be Intentional and Consistent