It was my extreme honor to be a guest in yesterday’s tele-seminar with the International Social Media Association (ISMA). My topic, in case you missed it, was “Propel your Social Media Marketing to New Heights: Strategies to Ensure a Winning and Engaging Social Presence”.
Below I recap some of the highlights from the hour long interview:
This is part 1 of a 3 part series…
ISMA: What do you mean by “an Engaged Social Presence”?
Brian Solis describes engagement as:
“Engagement is essentially the first step in building a relationship between your customers and your brand.”
Brian goes on to explain that initially, early on in a brands social media experience, that it’s more about establishing a presence and less about strategic engagement and the engagement resembles traditional broadcasting of messages.
In it’s most simple explanation, an Engaged Social Presence is when you are actively participating in the social media platforms in which you belong.
More specifically, however…engagement encompasses two strategies.
Re-active engagement and Pro-active engagement, both necessary for a truly engaged social presence.
ISMA: You mentioned pro-active and re-active engagement. What is the difference?
Reactive engagement is simply responding to direct dialogue to or about you or your brand/business. It’s a simple concept and it’s the first step of an engaged social presence.
But if you stop there, you are going to remain a social media wall-flower and not establish the social presence necessary to truly excel.
Pro-active engagement is a little more of an art. This is where you seek out activity on social media that isn’t directed to you or your company and you engage with this information.
To be truly successful in social media, you need to employ both a re-active and a pro-active strategy …it’s about creating relationships first, business second.
ISMA: OK, so we just heard you say that it’s best to employ both reactive and proactive engagement strategies…can you expand on this? In other words, what are some ways to do this?
In order to participate in the conversations, either reactively or pro-actively, you need to know they are happening.
Social Media Monitoring is key for this. Weather you are using a powerful subscription-based tool like Radian6 or a combination of free tools…definitely set up social media monitoring. Set up alerts for mentions of your name, your business name or brand, your competition, key words, industry leaders, and your twitter handle.
Once you have monitoring in place, make it part of your daily practice to read through the alerts which may contain mentions of your name, business or brand.
When someone mentions your name/brand, thank them…answer them … respond to them. This is reactive engagement.
Pro-active engagement is when you use monitoring and searches for industry specific posts, comments or tweets that you can either re-tweet, lets say on Twitter, or answer or make a comment on.
Pro active engagement takes a little more time as you need to first identify the conversations, then qualify them.
Tip: Seek out good tweets that will position your business as an authority in its field and retweet it at 5 per day.
Make sure you open up Disqus and Gravatar accounts for blog comments — Gravatar stands for Globally Recognized Avatar, so that your brand is being represented uniformly across the social media universe.
Use a good blog searching tool like Technorati or Google Blog Search to find industry specific blogs. Make it a habit to ready them and respond to 3-5 of them each week (tweak this number to work best for you, your business & resources). This habit not only amplifies your brand and aids in establisheing you as an authority in your field, it also creates back links to your website or Facebook page.
Tip: Use a RSS reader tool to pull in these industry specific blogs — I like Google reader but there are other options available.
LinkedIn is prime for re-active engagement. Join relevant groups and sign up for email notification from these groups. Make it a point to answer or comment on the discussions.
Tip: Update your LinkedIn status daily with keyword rich phrases that have a promotional slant!
Search Squidoo, Slide Share, Flickr, YouTube….find relevant information to comment on. You’ll not only expand your knowledge base, you’ll expand your presence by commenting intelligently on them.
Part II will be posted next week and will include Best Practices for Twitter, Facebook and Social Media.
Part III will contain daily practices for an engaged social presence along with tools, apps and resources to do this.