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.
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?