THE COCKTAIL PARTY ANALOGY
Managing your company’s social media is a lot like hosting a cocktail party. You want to make sure that the banter is lively and that everyone is having a good time. You also want to encourage your guests to share their ideas throughout your conversations and you definitely, absolutely, wholeheartedly do NOT want to be the only person speaking. As the old saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as often as you speak.
So, how do we encourage engagement on our social feeds? The first step is both the easiest and the hardest: you have to show up. As we’ve pointed out in pervious Wrangling Your Social Strategy posts, the key to a healthy social community is a consistent posting strategy. Staying active on your social accounts shows your followers that you’re there, you’re available and you’re paying attention.
Showing up, however, isn’t just about posting to your own social feed. It means you have to engage with the people you follow on their feeds. To continue the party analogy, only posting on your own social feed is the equivalent of standing by the appetizer table and only talking to the people who wander by. Get out there. Mingle. Leave comments on other people’s posts. Share good content forward. Participate.
That will get you halfway to encouraging engagement on your own feeds. This second step will get you that last 50%: ask for it. End your posts with questions. Solicit comments. Take a tip from all those professional YouTubers and say, “But what did you think? Let us know in the comments.” Often times companies on social media come across as marketing bullhorns, or they’re perceived as monolithic entities. By asking for comments in your posts, you humanize your social feeds and encourage the rest of the world to open up and talk.
When you ask for comments, you’ll get comments, but not all of those comments will be what you want. When you start making yourself available on social media, you will start to get complaints from unhappy customers. When this happens, it’s best to fall into customer service mode. Listen. Help. Attempt to resolve the situation. You can refer to our guide on what to do when things go wrong on social media for more help in this area.
ONE LAST THING
Most of the algorithms that populate our news feeds are based on engagement. The more people interact with a post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, the more likely it is going to be the first thing your followers see when they open their apps. In order to encourage engagement on social media, you need to rethink your marketing materials.
Twitter isn’t the place to repost your catalog. If your followers wanted to see that, they’d go to your website. It’s easier to search than a social news feed. Think of encouraging social engagement as a way of encouraging one of the most powerful forms of word-of-mouth marketing possible.
When posting to a social network, don’t advertise to your followers—talk them. Converse with them. Your agenda shouldn’t be to sell, it should be to host that awesome party that everyone talks about weeks afterwards.