Engagement. It’s a term used a lot in our world of social media marketing, and I believe there are still many people who are unclear to it’s meaning and significance. My goal in this post is to help clarify this important action term in the marketing process. It’s not just the latest buzz word. You may have even noticed the Vivid Image mantra, front and center on our home page: 1. Plan, 2. Build, 3. Engage. No marketing and communications strategy is complete without this crucial 3rd step in the process! Gone are the days where ‘you can build it (leave it alone) and they will come.‘ Ignore engagement and you will be lucky to grow let alone survive. One of the thought leaders in social media business strategies, Brian Solis, wrote a book titled, “Engage!” A recommended read!
A simple definition of Engagement: Connecting with people (not robots online) and developing long term loyal relationships. I’m the first to admit, the process of engagement is not quick and easy nor is it a natural talent everyone is born with. The process of engaging your customers, clients or followers takes time, effort, action, consistency, creativity, and critical thinking. In social media marketing, you are primarily making this happen online through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Blogs, and Email. There are now so many more opportunities to engage with people that were never possible before social media.
Speaking of time, to be successful at engagement requires a long term commitment. However, taking small steps and focusing a little at a time over a period time is possible for everyone!
A few rules to keep in mind:
- Take the spotlight off you – stop pitching yourself and your business! Focus on the needs of your clients/customers/followers
- Ask questions and respond to comment on questions they ask. Actively participate in discussions/conversations
- Educate, Educate, Educate. Share helpful tips, tricks or advice (usually related to your industry or business..but could relate to life or business in general if they see you as a trusted resource)
- Let your unique personality and creativity shine! If you have a sense of humor, go ahead and be funny!
- Thank them and show gratitude (not just once, but as many opportunities as you can)
Things that can happen during the engagement process:
- Someone comments on or likes your Blog, Facebook or LinkedIn post
- A recommendation is written on your Facebook Business Page, or LinkedIn Profile
- You get mentioned on Twitter or Facebook – or someone RT’s/Retweets your Twitter post
- A link you posted (Facebook, LI or Twitter) gets shared by someone your network
- Someone signs up for your newsletter – or better yet, shares it with friends in their network
- And the ultimate engagement happens when……someone sends you a direct message or walks in your doors to do business because they knew you, liked you, and trusted you to help them!
I repeat, successful engagement is the most important step in the process. It is not always easy to accomplish alone, takes time and a long term commitment. But the rewards are a healthy, thriving, growing business or mission! Please know that the Vivid Image team is here to help you come up with creative and innovative ideas ways to engage in 2012 and beyond!
Do you have any engagement challenges (related to marketing – not weddings :))or success stories to share with us? We’d love to hear from you! Please comment below or send us an email with your story or engagement questions!