Everyone talks about social media engagement. They describe it in terms of metrics. How many people liked, shared, replied, or otherwise responded to a given post? It’s important to track these metrics, but the truth about social engagement, is right there in its name – engagement. You don’t get engaged to someone who treats you like a number. Here are some thoughts on social media engagement –
- Many people parrot the idea that “social media is social.” That statement is very misleading. It makes companies shy away from social media as a critical tool in their communications program thinking it’s really for people taking pictures of their dinner, or their dog. But social media isn’t social. It’s personal, and personally is how products and services get sold. This is especially important as many potential customers live in remote areas of the world and social media provides them with a way to reach out and touch a brand’s representative in a very personal way.
- Customers want to interact with the brands they value. A few customers may have sales people who cater to their particular needs, but for the most part they’re the lucky minority. Social media provides customers with a ready channel for interaction – questions, ideas, complaints, praise. And being there as a company in a responsive, meaningful manner has long-lasting effects! It’s not about chalking that question up to a metric. It’s about creating a happy, satisfied customer or interested consumer. Any interaction is an opportunity to solve a problem, demonstrate expertise, create trust, and become a preferred source. How you solve the problem is more important that the number of questions a post generates. Solve one problem well – and you’ll earn more.
- How “engagement” is handled after its received is the key question. Yes, great posts tend to generate more interactions, but if no one with real knowledge and expertise responds to a question or comment for a couple days (or never), guess who will engage next time? No one. It’s amazing how many social programs end at collecting the respondents name and email, rather than making the reply even more exciting and satisfying than the post.
- You have to romance your prospect before you get engaged. Expecting someone to see one good post and leap on your company’s bandwagon is unrealistic. Post regularly with interesting, challenging content that people actually want (we’re talking product, technology, delivery, service, solutions – not dogs. Well, sometimes dogs!). Reply, respond, and solve every interaction you’re fortunate enough to receive. Your followers will see those responses and come to learn that your social channels are great places to meet you and get their problems solved.
- Don’t succumb to fear. Companies get so spooked about the necessary speed of interaction on social media, they pull back, over-analyze, over-approve and consequently, miss the interactive nature of engagement on social media. No company has ever approved or controlled all the questions and answers in a sales channel or support call. It’s more important to respond quickly than to be perfect.
Social media engagement is like your sales channel and call-in support center together, but faster, more cost effective at times, and more accessible to customers, prospects, and those who might someday be both. It’s a vast person-to-person interaction the likes of which we’ve never had. Yes, measure the heck out of it, but don’t overlook the actual opportunity in front of you. It’s time to get engaged.