How to Engage Your Audience on Social Media

February 22, 2015

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Frances Leary - avatarOriginally published in Progress Magazine, Vol. 21, No. 8 2014
by Frances Leary

If there’s one “secret” to social media, this is it. There’s no ROI without engagement. You can post content like crazy, and it won’t make a difference unless you are actually engaging with your audience.

Why? Because social media is a conversation, not a lecture. Conversations convert. Lectures do not.

While many companies throw around the word engagement, when it comes to social media it seems that many, in fact, do not understand what it is or how to do it.

Here are some tips to help you engage with your audience in order to increase your ROI.

Listen

Engagement begins with listening. It is impossible to participate in a conversation if you are the only one talking and you are not listening to what your audiences is saying. Watch social posts to see what your audience is talking about, especially as it relates to your brand. Listen for times when your audience speaks to or about you. Monitor notifications so you don’t miss anything, and don’t just listen…HEAR! Take it to heart.

Respond

Listening is all well and good. However, if you do not take action to respond to your audience, then the conversation stops. Listening tells the audience you are there. Responding shows the audience that you care. Address the concerns that are voiced online. Deliver prompt customer care. Answer questions when asked; say thank you when you get a pat on the back. Make sure your organization has a clear policy describing how to respond to audience comments online and who is responsible for doing so.

Be Proactive

Engagement is not a passive activity. Instead of waiting to respond to what your audience has to say, reach out and start conversations. Connect with clients, business associates, partners and every organization that could become an advocate for your company online. Follow them, like their pages and start monitoring what they post. Find ways to share their content and celebrate their success. Use social media to build and strengthen relationships, and your social connections will soon become a powerful marketing army.

Be Consistent

Engagement isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. You can’t fake it. You actually have to participate in the conversation: show up and be authentic so your audience knows you are really there for them. Skip the lecture and ignite an ongoing conversation with your audience, a conversation that inspires a meaningful return.

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