If you have seen my recent Friday Blogs, you’ll know that I am enthusiastic (to say the least) about real engagement in Social Media.  If you’re using your Social Media platforms as a way of advertising your business, I believe you’re missing the key – the most important aspect is the SOCIAL not the Media.  The Social is what makes people start conversations about you, share your message and even introduce you to the right people.

When I first started using Twitter and Facebook, I remember thinking “do I really want to know what all my contacts had for breakfast, or which of their products sold the most last month?”; I was certain the vast majority of what was being shared would prove not to be of real interest.  And, it’s fair to say there is some strange content out there; however, there is also a wealth of knowledge being shared, people helping each other in business and general life situations and people expanding their networks to include people who change the course of their business.

So, how do you start to engage in a way that makes the right difference?  The good news is, none of this is rocket science, I believe it boils down to some simple principals:

1) Be yourself.  Imagine you’re actually speaking to the people in Social Media, not writing.  Where possible allow your humour to come through, the things you care about to show and the fact that you’re excited about your business be plain to everyone.

2) Be consistent.  I’ve engaged with many people through Twitter who seem to be there one day and then gone for weeks at a time with little or no explanation.  If this is how you treat your Social Media contacts, why would I believe you treat your Clients any differently?

3) Follow up, then follow up again.  Keep the conversations going and ask people about things that matter to them.  I recently won a client because I asked her about how her son’s operation had gone and she was so touched, we started a real conversation.

4) Join Chats.  Many of the platforms have organised “virtual networking”; often an hour, at an agreed time, when people will come together on-line who have a common interest.  Last week, for the first time, I took part in such a chat on Twitter – #HandMadeHour, for one of the businesses I Tweet for.  Prior to the hour spent tweeting about crafts, where we got supplies and sharing other people’s links and pictures, the number of followers the client had, had risen from 42 to 88.  By today, just six days later, the same client is at 114 followers and has taken three commissions, been asked to supply an online retailer and even been contacted about being featured in magazine article about their products.  It works!

5) Tell your networks about your Social Media goals.  It always surprises me that, despite working hard at building our networks as business people, we still fail to let our networks know that we’re using Social Media.  Tell the people you know that you’d like to carry on conversations with them through Twitter or Linked In.  Ask them to add you as a friend on Facebook and make sure you’re connected on G+ too.  It can transform your experience of Social Media.

I’ll be continuing my series of Friday Blogs on engagement and would love to hear from you about how it’s made a difference in your Social Media.

Dinah

 

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