Engagement and community both seem to be the ultimate goals for those involved in the Social Media game. Yet building it seems shrouded in mystery; ask many successful community managers, and it is a combination of secret sauce, luck, and a strategy that has been built after-the-fact to explain their success. Building engagement and community boils down to two factors: volume, and content; do better on these, and a community will develop.
Volume: Building engagement and community is all about building critical mass. In other words, volume is required. This can come from three sources:
- Increase the number of new users who walk through your social media door. This can be through Pay-per-Click ads, inbound web links, or traditional marketing activities.
- Increase the number of posts from people who already are part of your community. This can be achieved by replying, linking, and sharing existing conversations.
- Increase the number of posts that you (or others) write.
Improved content: Users don’t engage directly with your organization (or you): they engage only through your content. The better your content, the more engaging “you” will appear to be. Here are some ideas:
- Use audience-relevant headlines that spark interest.
- Use graphics: a picture is worth 1000 words, and not everyone prefers to read.
- Use video: sometimes a picture just doesn’t cut it.
- Embed a call-to-action.
- Ask the reader what they think, using open-ended questions: a one-way monologue will never build engagement.
Of course, there are many more ways to increase volume or improve content. In the spirit of the last point, what have you tried? And has it worked?
This week’s action plan: What is the one thing that would improve engagement in your social media venues: more volume, or improved content? This week, take one step to make this happen.
Marketing Insight: Building engagement and community is not the end goal of a social media program: it is just a way-station on a journey to increased sales, improved service, or reduced costs.
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