I’m thinking about “engagement” and being “engaging.”It’s one of those buzzwords we’re all tossing around in the social media circle.
We tell our readers and clients that social media is all about being engaging and how we need to have a conversation with our communities. I think this is all well and good and if you follow me on Twitter you know I’m all about the conversation.(To a fault, really) However, I wonder if some of the people who talk about engagement practice what they preach. I see a lot of links, retweets and self promotion, but I’m not always seeing that two way street thing.
So what does it mean to be engaging?
Here’s what I think it means:
- Ask questions: Being Me, Me, Me all the time isn’t engaging. Encouraging a community to have a conversation, and being an active participant in that conversation is. Ask a question – it doesn’t have to have anything to do with business at all. Share a link and ask for thoughts. Share a joke – anything that will get a response and encourage some back and forth.
- Respond to Tweets: This is hard for those with many thousands of followers, but it’s appreciated when you take time to respond to tweets that are directed at you- especially if you’re a role model or hero to someone. It doesn’t take long to respond to at least some of the people who are reaching out to you.
- Have a conversation with folks outside of your immediate social circle: Is engaging with the same five people each day really being engaging or is it chatting with your clique?
- Do more than drop links: A link isn’t a conversation. It’s an advertisement or, if it’s not a link to your own stuff, it’s an endorsement. It’s sharing for sure, unless you do nothing but drop links, then it’s spamming. Social networking accounts with only links look dull. It’s the folks who carry on stimulating and fun conversation who end up with all the followers.
- Don’t be boring: I’m the first to admit boring is in the eye of the beholder. So my boring and your boring may not be the same thing. Still, if you wake up in the morning and say. “I’m drinking coffee.” followed by “I’m working now” and this is your every day thing, it doesn’t really encourage folks to want to know more. Share news, tell jokes and talk about more than work. Again, ask questions so folks can’t help but have a conversation.
- Say something funny: People share funny. They react to funny. They enjoy funny. You don’t have to be the class clown, but making Twitter or Facebook an enjoyable experience is appreciated and invites a reaction.
- Ease up on the retweets: If your Twitter stream is nothing but retweets, I’m sorry but it’s a little boring and I’ll probably not follow or respond.
- Totally ease up on the vanity retweets: It’s one thing to toot your own horn, it’s another thing to continually amplify every good thing said about you.
- Truly ease up on the gripes: If your Twitter stream is nothing but rants against (insert name of company of the day) folks get bored. If you have an issue with a different business every day, I’m going to believe the problem isn’t them.
- Ask questions: I’ll say it again. Engage with your community by asking questions. When it’s all about you it will only be about you. Be engaging by engaging.
What does being “engaging” mean to you?