Question: We are trying to get more people to share and engage with our content but are seeing limited results. What can we do to jump start our social media engagement?
Perhaps the most infamous question of companies trying to break into social media. Of course it comes in a vast number of forms, the questions like how do we get more followers, likes, shares and other engagement online are probably asked more often than anything else.
When this question does come up in conversation the first thing I always ask the client is why should anyone engage with you?
Usually this is where I get a long blank stare or a snarling glare (Poet) and the client briefly wonders why they are working with me. At this time I assure them like a lawyer to the judge that this line of questioning is in fact heading somewhere important.
The client will usually start providing answers like because our company is cool or our content is good as reasons someone should engage online. My next question is usually something about how many cool companies are out there and how much good content is out there. Never with the intent to discourage, but with the hope of setting some realistic expectations as to where things lie in the digital world.
When the client eventually comes to the conclusion that they have no idea why people would engage with them (and they often do), this is where I introduce the concept of give to get.
Basically, unless you are Coke, McDonalds or Apple, your products and services aren’t widely known and people by in large aren’t going to just connect with you for the sake of doing so. Most small businesses that have done well in social and content will tell you that they spent significant time engaging with others (individuals and companies) first and usually shared a good bit of content from others before people started sharing their content and connecting with their company.
Taking the first action is a way for potential followers, “likers” and content sharers to see you exist and know that you are contributing to the community and not just expecting to “Get” from the community. While planting seeds and watering the proverbial soil doesn’t always sound fun, it is key for most that want social media engagement and online support.
Look at it like you did when you built your business in the first place. Customers didn’t line up at your door (usually) but through hard work, smart marketing and good service they built up over time. This type of commitment is a life practice and it carries into many things we do, including Social Media.
For most businesses you have to give to get meaningful engagement online. Start giving first and you will see a return in the long run.
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