The Endgame Of Social Media Engagement

Many brands have relented and made the decision to have an active online presence over and above their customary website.  No doubt many are still reluctant, but have given in to the fact that social media is not the fad they thought it would be, it’s here to stay.

Organic social media engagement

The transition from traditional marketing techniques, however, hasn’t been without some challenges.  The shift in mindset to engage their audience online (as opposed to simply broadcasting) has been a fairly confusing proposition.  Although the concept of engaging and interacting with their follower base is new, most will agree that it’s an important component to adopt if they’re to actively create brand advocates.

But what is considered engagement?

In it’s purest sense, engagement is the ability to cause another person to respond. Because of the wide variety of social media platforms, a brand follower can conceivably respond using any (or a combination of) the following methods:

  • Comments – In response to a status update, tweet, or blog post.
  • Shares – Includes linking/mentioning on a blog post they wrote.
  • Likes – Includes +K’s, Kred, etc.
  • Retweets – Whether native or via a tweet button
  • Mentions – Includes Follow Fridays, etc.
  • Favorites – Anytime your tweet/update/post is faved on any platform
  • Pins/Repins – Pinterest specific of course.
  • Tags – Whenever a user is tagged on pics on any platform.
  • Hashtags – When ppl begin to adopt & share a hashtag you created.
  • Pokes – Yes, I did just put that on there.

Any of the methods above would fall under the engagement category. Target audience preferences and content type will dictate which methods of engagement work best. Whichever method the audience chooses to respond, it’s critical to acknowledge and capitalize on the opportunity to have a conversation, no matter how brief. A big mistake some brands make is to use that opportunity to deliver a sales pitch. The resulting conversation should be geared to get to know that particular person, not to brag about what the company does.

The endgame of your social media engagement should be to spark a conversation with your followers, which hopefully leads to a relationship.

The list above should afford plenty of opportunity to allow anyone an entry point for brands to spark a conversation.  So if a conversation comes about as a result of some back and forth poking, then that engagement style would have served its purpose.

What engagement activities create the best conversation opportunities for you?

The Lather-Rinse-Repeat Approach To Being A Master Engager

People who are charismatic, personable, and are able to effortlessly draw people to them usually have one thing in common: They understand what it takes to be engaging, and they have it set to automatic.  When we think of these people, we typically think of celebrities, politicians, and others in the public eye.  These folks are successful at cultivating their persona through their appearance, speech, and engagement skills.  You just know when you run into these folks.  They make a strong impact and they’re unforgettable.

So how can the rest of us engage at the same level and be able to do so consistently?

Learn how to properly ask questions.  


Sounds simple enough, but first I want to list a few reasons why proper use of questions are important for engagement:

  • It demonstrates genuine interest in who you’re speaking with.
  • It puts you in a better position to understand.
  • It facilitates conversation, which encourages discussion.
  • It promotes the exchange of new ideas.
  • It aids in diagnosing a problem.
  • It allows you to control the direction of the conversation.
  • It positions you as a brilliant conversationalist.

The list does go on, but the above should be enough to encourage you to incorporate questions into even your most everyday interactions.  So then, how best to use questions to maximize engagement?


Be genuine.  Don’t ask questions just for the sake of asking a question.  Authenticity in your questions stems from a genuine interest in the person you’re speaking with.  Just remember that no person is 100% uninteresting.  There should be at least 1 thing about each person you interact with that is worthy of further questioning.  If finding something interesting with someone you’re talking to is a chronic issue, you might want to check out an earlier post about curiosity and the value of nurturing a curious mindset.

The goal within the goal here is to be observant and receptive to your audience.

Keep questions open-ended.  Make it easy for people to open up and talk about themselves.  Remember, everyone has an opinion and most are only too happy to share.  Initially, it’s a good idea to focus on questons that solicit opinions instead of facts.  Questions eliciting facts tend to be more limiting due to the right/wrong component that’s built in to it (and also comes across as interrogatory).  Questions on opinions keeps the responses subjective and will tend to shed more light about the person you’re talking to.  Some great questions to use typically begin with:

  • What do you think of…?
  • What are your thoughts on…?
  • How do you feel about…?
  • How do you see yourself…?
  • What’s your opinion on…?

The goal within the goal here is to seek to understand.


Listen actively.  Maintain your focus on their response to your question.  If done correctly, this should uncover further questions, which will only render the conversation more effortless.  Unfortunately, most people tend to worry about what they’re going to say next that they miss a lot of what is being said.  Closed-ended questions are great to use here to confirm understanding or to help clarify a point.

The goal within the goal here is to identify areas where you can be most valuable to your audience.

Technology, in and of itself, doesn’t make you more personable, interesting, or likeable.  Being genuinely interested in people, even if you don’t always see eye-to-eye, does.  Facebook, Twitter, etc, only amplifies your personality (or lack thereof) to other people.

I’d love to hear some of your favorite techniques to build audience engagement.  Please share in the comments below!

Also read: How Are You Engaging Your Customers?