Monday, February 15, 2010

Top Five Ways To Engage Using Social Media

Top Five Ways To Engage Using Social Media
By: @CameronToth
Engagement Strategy #1 ~~> Find your relevant audience.
Finding your niche will allow you to distribute information to the right people at the right time. Gossip magazines made a killing when they discovered giving their magazine to beauty parlors really got the word out and drove their subscription sales. How will you target your key groups to drive sales?
Search the following for your communities:
§ Facebook Groups and Fan Pages
§ Twitter Hash Tags
§ LinkedIn Groups
§ Niche Social Networking Sites (i.e. for connecting with folks in Brazil or to connect with MDs)
Engagement Strategy #2 ~~> Get involved in an online community!
After you find your niche community get involved. If there is a chat for your community on Twitter volunteer to moderate the chat. If a chat does not exist work with other like minded professionals in your niche to create one. Creating a community or more community around your niche area will allow you to network the natural way. People will give you trust as you earn it and the relationships you create will be stronger than Facebook friend counts and Twitter followers.
Check out the following online communities for ideas and inspiration:
· #Eventprofs on Twitter
· <~~ This is a spreadsheet of Twitter chats that was put together by Robert Swanwick (@Spkrinteractive)
· Join or create groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and take the lead on an event or topic of discussion. Answer questions and post useful resources for the group to read or use.
Engagement Strategy # 3 ~~>Take the discussion off line.
Getting to know knew people on any social network is the point. But, online relationships or limited. At some point you will need to break the barrier of electronic protection. It starts by sharing an email address to get feedback or provide feedback. The next step is a phone call if not a face to face meeting. The power of social networks is that a community will form around you if you are active. The stronger this community is the easier it is for people to place trust in your name which happens to be your brand. As people become comfortable with your brand they won’t mind demonstrating the product. (That was more of a reference to trying on a shoe than anything else that might of popped into your mind!)
· After conversing with someone on a given topic or collaborating with someone in a social community area ask (in a non-creepy way) to extend the conversation to a phone call or email.
· Create opportunities to meet new people. This especially works well if you travel or are checking out a new part of town. Ask your community who knows the area best. As you meet one community member and hopefully make a good impression other introductions and meetings will follow.
· Create interesting business opportunities that draw people to your cause, events, store, city, etc.
Engagement Strategy # 4 ~~> Broadcast your successes and your failures.
One of the best ways to engage with a community and draw more people into a community is to talk about the ways that it is working. Ironically people care as much if not more about the failures as well. The proof is in the pudding when someone writes a depressed comment on Facebook and a hundred people respond to offer reassurances and to find out more about the problem. Don’t over do it but let the community enjoy the shared successes and help to build lessons from failures.
· Drop the names of the community members that you have met. This strengthens circle of a community and allows trust to build within a group. People like to deal with people and you become more human as you are proven to interact with them.
· Are you having a great day fishing? Just landed a million dollar account? Just had an incredible date with your wife? Don’t brag but is okay to let people know that something great is happening. By sharing the particulars of your fishing trip you will inadvertently connect with folks who have an interest in that hobby.
· Are you dealing with an incredible failure? Even a small nuisance of a problem can be shared and who knows someone just might have a solution for you. I have put out a call to my communities several times and have usually been surprised and the compassionate and knowledgeable responses.
Engagement Strategy # 5 ~~> Know your goals and track your ROI or ROR
ROI = Return on Investment
ROR = Return on Relationship(s) ~~> for more on ROR check out this article
This really should be strategy # 1 but it is the best so I have saved it for last! Before you start a battle you must understand the goal. As commander of your social media engagement strategy you must decide what your objective is and how you will measure your successes. Without doing this you will waste a lot of time surfing the web looking for a purpose when really you should have started with the purpose from the outset.
· Decide whether you are going to measure followers, site hits/clicks, impressions, blog follows, sales, contacts, leads, positive mentions, etc.
· Draft a timeline for achieving small easily attainable successes to build your campaign in a manageable way.
· Design appraisal deadlines in your timeline to make sure you are measuring the right metrics for your campaign and your objectives.
· Involve professionals and or experienced folks who can give you tips and suggestions to make measuring and evaluating easier. No person is an island and help is always a great thing to have. Part of building a successful community is having a support network at your beckon call. Always remember that it should always be a two way road and by always giving more than you get you will always have more than enough!