Tag Archives: Engagement

Getting Started on Social Media

Recently, I’ve been asked a number of times how to help brands and companies get started on social media. Sometimes, these questions are being asked by companies not using social media. However, sometimes it also includes brands that have social media accounts, but are just not using them.

Here is my three-step approach to using social media effectively.  Note: For these three steps, I would highly recommend using HootSuite. Read my posts on HootSuite here.


What are people saying about your company, brand and industry. Learn what the conversations are like and who the people are. You will find influencers, thought leaders, friends and even enemies.  Like GI Joe used to say, “Knowing is half the battle!”

Get Involved

After you know who these people are and what they are saying, you are now prepared to say hello and enter the conversation. Be there to answer questions. And do not be afraid to let people know that you’re new to the social media game and are here to help in any way that you can. You will find that most people on social media embrace and appreciate honesty and authenticity. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.

Lead The Conversation

After a few weeks of listening and getting involved, you should now be ready to lead the conversation. It’s your turn (as a brand, company or independent business owner/professional) to be the thought leader and influencer. You ask the questions and provide guidance. Remember that you are the expert. Social media is just a tool to help engage with people to tell them your story as well as to listen how you can help others.

Try these three steps and let me know how things turn out.

Entering the conversation with HootSuite

After we listen to the conversations that are taking place online hopefully we will soon become comfortable. We will get excited about the positive comments and ecstatic about the opportunities we see. What about the negative comments. Choose to see these as opportunities to improve rather than hide your head in the sand. Hiding doesn’t make the negative go away even though we might hope they will.

Two things you should understand is:

  1. People move to social media to both congratulate and complain.
  2. People view a brand’s social media accounts (right or wrong) as customer service channels.

This brings us to entering the conversation.

Saying Hello:

Let people know who you are and what you do. However, don’t fall into the habit of spamming. I usually follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time you should be sharing interesting third-party content, RTing interesting content and replying to people online.  The rest of the time you can tell people about what you do and share with them your own content.

Positive Comments:

Positive comments give us the opportunity to receive validation on what we are doing and our industry. If someone leaves a positive tweet or Facebook comment regarding their interaction with your business make sure to thank them. A retweet (RT) or Like is not sufficient enough. Leave a comment thanking them for taking the time to leave a positive comment. And ask them what specifically they enjoyed. Even ask them to continue to use your service/product.

Negative Comments:

At our social media agency in Toronto we have the opportunity to work with many popular brands. Not too long ago, one of our long term clients underwent a rebrand. One of the changes was that the brand was open twice as long as they were before. Which means twice as many customers; twice as many happy customers; and twice as many negative comments. Our client could have shut things down and hid their head in the sand. Fortunately they understood the opportunity and have been engaging with everyone who leaves comments on their Facebook page or Twitter account.

Questions and Answers:

People will also have specific questions about your business. They may even have questions about your industry. Be open to answer all of these.

Google Plus: new kid on the block

Google Plus logo
Image by Bruce Clay, Inc via Flickr

You know I like relevance right? Well, I do. And I’m suggesting you probably like relevance, too.

The Importance of Relevance

We now understand that numbers don’t mean everything.  You might have thousands of followers or likes but how many of these people actually interact with you and your brand? How many people are you interacting with? Who are you interacting with?

Those who continue to re-visit your Facebook page or tweet with you are people who find your content relevant. The goal now is to figure out a way to interact with as many people as possible. Providing relevant content to the right people is the way to get this done.

Google Plus Addresses Relevance: Circles:

More than any other social network, Google Plus addresses relevance like Facebook doesn’t and Twitter can’t.

Now, Google Plus doesn’t yet support brands or businesses but Circles (the Google Plus product) is ingenious.  And if you as an individual consider yourself a brand then you should take advantage of Circles.

Circles allows you to organize the people in your social graph according to how you define each relationship.  Is someone your friend? Family member, co-worker, associate or customer? You get to decide because not everyone is your friend.

Increased Engagement:   

What does this segmentation and relevance lead to for you? Increased engagement.  Why? Because now your messages are going to specific people. For example, a note about Robbie Alomar’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame can be directed to people you know will be interested in this specific piece of news.

As long as you keep the value of the “Circles” sacred, your community will come to know exactly what to expect from you.  Everything individuals receive from you will now be of value to your community.

You can even go one step further and set which circle(s) you want to watch. Unlike Twitter, the issue of relevance is now controlled by both the sender and receiver of information. I can choose who I send information to and who I receive information from.

Why does this lead to increased engagement?  Put yourself in the seat of a consumer.  If you got to choose the type of messaging you would receive from your favourite brands (and you could be specific as you wanted) would you be more likely than not to at least read the message?  Of course you would!

Now put yourself in the brand’s position.  Are you just interested in “likes” or do you want true engagement in these online spaces?  Likes may result in an increased email database but the issue remains the same:  For online and social media communications to truly succeed the magic pill is and always will be relevance.

Google Plus addresses this issue better than any other social tool out there.  And this is why Google Plus will continue to grow and force Facebook and Twitter (and email marketers) to change.

As always your thoughts are appreciated.

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