Although this has been said a million times, I’ve only said it 999,999 times: you must engage on social media. And lately, I’ve been seeing more companies of all sizes broadcasting, instead of engaging. Katie Couric is a famous and beloved correspondent. We expect her to broadcast. However, it is likely that you are not a famous correspondent.
What do I mean by engagement? Here are a few ideas about ways you can step up your game.
Keep Your Focus on the Other Guy
If you’re shy, knowing what to say can feel uncomfortable. But asking a question about the other person is something anyone can do. The question shouldn’t be a yes or no question, but something more open-ended, like “how do you know [the person who introduced you to the other person on social media]?” or “what did you think about that news story?” You can ask about their home town. Were they born there? How do they like living there? Those questions are not so personal as to be off-putting.
On social media, keeping your focus on the other guy could mean gaining a friend and maybe later, a loyal customer. For example, take a look at how Starbucks dominates the social media landscape with conversations galore. They’re on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, have apps, and share seasonal specials that always reflect their own branding. They’re good listeners and also manage to talk frequently about the social good that they do, such as charities they’re involved in. As a smaller brand, you can ask yourself how you can do something similar, on a tinier scale. Pay attention to what your audience wants to see and hear. Of course, the content shouldn’t be completely off-topic, or that would cause confusion about your brand. The trick is to balance posts that your audience would like to hear about with what you’re sharing while actually listening and talking.
Converse on Facebook
If you don’t like to talk much, you can always “lurk” on Facebook. But it’s a lot more satisfying to like, comment on, or share a post. So try clicking “like” first of all. Then you can try a short comment, like “Yes!” or “I like it.” If you get very brave, you can share a post to your own wall. Being generous first is a good way to be social on social media.
Schmooze on Twitter
On Twitter, that most social of social media platforms, there are a million questions you can ask people. That’s a gorgeous profile picture! Where was it taken? You have an unusual name–are you related to___? You’re interested in Slow Food, what do you think of Michael Pollan’s work? Have you met my friend___, who is also interested in baseball and apple pie? And so on. And by the way, having a good profile picture is a good conversation starter for anyone.
Comment on Pinterest
Talking on Pinterest is like putting a message in a bottle. You might or might not hear back, and if you do hear back, a lot of time could have passed. People don’t talk as much on Pinterest. So if you do comment, you’ll stand out. Try commenting on Pinterest and then tag the person who’s meant to see the comment (even if you’re on their board, they might not see it!). To tag them, type the “@” sign, start typing their name and –wait for it!–their name should auto-fill. For brands, there are lots of ways to connect with fans on Pinterest.
Are you Engaged?
If you like to chat on social media, what has worked for you? Seriously, I’d love to hear your views!