It confuses me when so-called social media gurus advocate setting up automated RSS feeds to blast out your message to every available social media platform without so much as the click of a keyboard from you.
Simple yes. Effective no.
It does cut down on that pesky problem of actually engaging with your social media fan base. You know, all that getting to know each other bullshit that for some reason is an essential part of face-to-face networking, but something to be avoided and outsourced in social media. Setting and forgetting your social media misses out what sets it apart from every other marketing tool: engagement.
Imagine being able to tune into EXACTLY what your audience is talking about, reframe it into a post or discussion, use that post to draw them into your web site, blog or online community, get their feedback and use that knowledge to repeat the process and attract other visitors.
That’s how the cycle of social media engagement works.
How to Create the Cycle of Social Media Engagement
#1: Listen – Tune into your target audience. What are they talking about? What are they watching? Reading? Worried about? Frustrated by? Thrilled to discover? Doing during the day? Eating for lunch? Adding to their wish list?
It’s quite frankly the best market research out there because not only are you able to engage in those conversations, but you can eavesdrop on conversations to find out what your audience is currently interested in.
#2: Share – Now that you know what interests your target audience, it’s time to put your spin on it and share it back to them. If you are a little unsure about an idea, put it out there in social media to test it.
Sharing your ideas on a hot topic or taking their interests, concerns, frustrations, and rants, and reframing them into a post or discussion on your site allows you to create a client attraction strategy based on what you learned by tuning in.
For example, if your expertise is SEO and your target follower base is constantly discussing how confusing they find long tail keyword research, the best way to attract them is to write a post about to tackle that problem.
#3: Engage – Start an open discussion with your target audience. Ask questions, solicit feedback, or start an open dialogue on a topic. Engaging around a topic or idea is another way to gain invaluable insight into why that topic is popular.
The key with engaging with your social media audience is to allow the discussion to happen wherever it happens. For example, if your readers respond by commenting on the link you posted on your Facebook fan page, respond back in Facebook.
#4: Repeat – Social media doesn’t lie. If people like your idea, they will share, retweet, comment, amplify, bookmark. If they don’t, the deafening silence that follows an idea that sucked will let you know.
Repeat is not just a way to fill your calendar with more to-do’s. It’s about looking at your metrics, determining what worked (and what didn’t work) and reverse engineering it to do it again.