Orig Post – – | Re-Post So-Mark 7/20/15

Engagement is a hard topic. Whether you are a social media manager or a startup owner, your products often need to show consumer engagement. And to be able to attain the keynote marketing charts for that investor, client or even an internal meeting, you need to define it. You can only measure social or content engagement once you know what it means for you. As I work on this topic on an everyday basis, I learn things from experts and my experiences that I have put together in this post.

Here are some tips on how to be engaging on social media.

1. Engage. Sales can wait.

Recently a Twitter user asked me the percentage of sales communication that his Twitter/social media communication should carry. Without wasting another second, I said 10 per cent not more. I see brands streams on Twitter only full of discounts, sales and coupons. And then those same brands say, social is not working for them.

Think about you as a consumer. What do you like your favorite brands sharing? Only in your face buy this/that ads or engaging content? Of course, you want to get sales but you also want to build a community that likes you and that which can be converted into advocates. One of my favorite brands recently announced that they were getting rid of a really cool feature. And I felt so disappointed. Yet, I am still their advocate because they are so much more than a single feature to me. Don’t you want supporters like that? Trust me, it’s hard to create that with mere sales pitches!

2. Keep the conversation coherent across channels

I got this tip from Ken Herron, a social media expert and head of marketing, Unified Inbox, from his awesome presentation at an event earlier this year. As a brand, even without the fear of Google penalties, you want to ensure that your design and communication is coherent across all devices and channels. You don’t want to have your Twitter team negate your Facebook team. You don’t want the website experience to be vastly different from your mobile experience.

3. Test and then some more

For my own social media handles, sometimes I test tools to see what will work. This may include: what time my community is active at, what content they connect with the most and other engagement metrics that I find important. It is very critical to run this analysis every week because it keeps changing.

I set up my personal Twitter account in India in 2008 and most of my followers are from there, and they display a different behaviour. This compared to my company Twitter account that was set up in 2014 in Germany and connects mostly with a global audience. So what works with one account may not work with the other one, even if you think it should.

4. Be authentic and human

There are two kinds of social media practitioners: those that send automatic direct messages on Twitter and those that don’t. I am a big fan of social media automation using tools, e.g. Outbox Pro for curation and scheduling. But I will forever maintain the need to be authentic and human on networks. To be engaging a brand needs to connect and share what they feel, as opposed to random updates that everyone will ignore.

5. Do not be afraid of sharing news from others *including competitors*

This gets a mixed response from everyone. Should SAP share news from Oracle? Perhaps for such strong competition they won’t. Be you will see many companies sharing news from others on their social media.

In my personal opinion, it builds trust and allows you to connect with new communities. This makes the community feel that you care about them and share content that they find useful over business taboos. Give it a try – it also helps you in your content curation efforts.

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