Shelby: “I love gifs of Beyonce. She’s the queen, and I bow down to her.”
Susan: “Really? I prefer the ones with cute animals doing adorable things.”
Shelby: “That’s so coincidental because I happen to have a ton of those saved on my computer! I’ll share them with you.”
Susan: “That would make my day!”
That, my friends, is called a conversation. For a more definitive elucidation, it’s an exchange of words between parties about ideas. There’s give and take, back and forth, and hopefully, if done correctly, an intense amount of listening (the beginnings of engagement).
This is not to assume you don’t understand the main components that make up a conversation. It is, however, an attempt to clarify that which people online seem to instantaneously overlook when they begin their social media campaign:
If you want to build an authoritative conversation on social media around your business/brand (spoiler alert: you do), there has to be the second part to the conversation, the answer to your call — there must be engagement.
Which brings us to the main question — what is engagement?
Engagement are the things YOU retweet, YOU favorite, YOU like, and YOUR replies.
Simply put, engagement is the “Susan” to your “Shelby”.
Less simply put, when someone reaches out to your tweet or post by asking a question, making a comment, or exhibiting a complaint, it’s their response to your conversation topic (aka your business or brand). It’s the perfect opportunity to make that person, whether a current client or prospective customer, feel special, to experience that personal touch. Because we’re online more and have less and less face-to-face interaction, we crave that real-time response online. Why? It creates socialization, and after all, it is called SOCIAL media.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to engagement:
Start the conversation.
How? Send out your tweets, post to Facebook, or pin your photos. If you aren’t fully comfortable with the conversation portion of your social media campaign, read our post, “Conversation Starters for the Uninitiated”.
How? Clarifying keywords and phrases relevant to your brand/business/industry is a good first step, as is using social media listening tools like HootSuite and Google Analytics or the “Connect” tab on your Twitter account.
How? Once you find those keywords, phrases, direct messages, mentions, retweets, replies, or other relevant reactions on your social media platforms, RESPOND TO THEM.
- If people tweet at you with a question, answer it.
- Someone complained about your product or service? Respond with an apology and solution.
- With more implicit approaches, like finding relevant keywords or phrases, tweet or respond to them by non-promotionally (you found them; they didn’t come to you, so don’t obnoxiously shove your sales pitch in their face) interacting with them.
Does all of this sound familiar? It should because it’s a good, old-fashioned conversation.