There's plenty of talk about the need to “engage” in and through social media.
But what does it really mean to engage?
Does it mean following, friending or circling back every person who does the same to you?
Does it mean thanking every person who RTs, +1s, likes or shares your updates?
Does it mean always talking about The Other and never, well hardly ever, about yourself?
I recently came across a post that demonstrates good and bad engagement on Twitter.
In “Everything You Need to Know About Twitter Strategy in Two Tweets,” Rohit Bhargava compares the Twitter engagement strategy of Carnival Cruise Lines and Cirque du Soleil.
Among Rohit's best advice is to actually add value, instead of merely responding, creating a sense of exclusivity for those who are following you (e.g., through special offers), and continuing the engagement beyond Twitter.
Rohit also thinks it's a good idea to follow back your followers. This allows you to engage with each other through a direct connection (specifically, a direct message on Twitter). This lets you and your followers have “private conversations” without annoying others who are also following your account but may not know or care about it.
Rohit sums up the whole point of engagement when he says, “Turn Tweeters into advocates by offering real value.”
That's the bottom line of engagement: that you genuinely care about those who are in your social networks, enough to provide what they truly care about. This guideline is applicable in other social networks as well.
Some of the ways I can think of to apply this are:
What's your take on engaging in social media? What does it mean for you? How do you do it in the social networks you're active in?
Can you think of individuals, companies or groups who are good models for social media engagement? What can we learn from them?
Share your two-cents in the comments below.
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.