Want Community Engagement? ENGAGE!

Birthday Party

Seriously. That’s it.

I hear this ALL the time:

Why don’t we have more people liking our Facebook page or following us on Twitter? Aside from the fact that I ALWAYS want to ask: Why do you want more and how will that help your business? My next question, or rather the one that I ask, is this:

What are you doing to engage new followers?

Here are a few things I like to offer to anyone starting out on social media who is desperate to get those Likes and Follows.  

  • It takes time! If it happens overnight, you’re either Justin Beiber or you’re buying your followers. Neither one is overly cool in my book.
  • Share something of interest. Share that blog post, but don’t make it the ONLY thing you share. Share something funny. Share pictures that show you actually ENGAGING in your community. Share other people’s stuff, too. Did I mention that you should share?
  • Be a Leader. You don’t have to go out on major limbs here, but I have a feeling your followers and fans often look to you to share the latest and greatest in your field, or at least comment on trending topics related to your field.  Don’t let them down.
  • Get involved in something outside of yourself or your business and then use Social Media to get others involved. Say you are a healthcare practice interested in conveying that you embody wellness and community engagement. Put together a team for a local charity bike race. Wear team shirts, take pictures of the team, the family, and the event and then SHARE them on your Facebook page or your blog.  You’d be amazed at how intriguing that is to people. No, make that endearing. You’re doing something to help someone else and having fun.
  • Be available. If you’re going to be on the platform, make sure you, or someone else, can respond when you’re spoken to. Nothing worse than a ghost town of a page. The dynamic duo over at New England Multimedia is one to watch on this one – their Facebook page is a hotbed of discussion and activity!
  • Be you. Your social platforms should reflect the ‘flavor’ of your business. Embody the brand, as they say. Make sure that what you’re sharing, posting, asking and doing reflect that.  Take the example of the healthcare practice participating in a charity bike race. That’s totally in line with their brand. Participating in a Hot Dog eating contest? Not so much.
  • Celebrate those who celebrate you! Go beyond the “thanks for the like” and actually track the person down to their page. See if there is something that you can compliment them on or like on their page.  I’m not suggesting a “tit-for-tat, quid-pro-quo” world here, but rather a genuine interest in those who are interested in you.
  • Remember that likes alone do not a business make. Getting too hung up on the number of likes or follows will distract you from what you should be doing: running your business. Consider the Facebook page or your Twitter stream valuable networking that could lead to new business, bolster your brand, and if you get really in tune, equate to sales.  It is not a stand alone. It is an add on.

So, that’s my rant post, for the day.  Let me hear your thoughts on engagement. What’s worked? What hasn’t?  I certainly learned about what didn’t work when I first started…maybe I should write about that!

Delightfully colorful cupcake image via Flickr.

 

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