Engagement is the buzzword of choice when social media experts get together to pontificate. And while I agree that engagement, and ultimately action, is the payoff of social media, few social media experts talk about how it’s really created. Engagement is not really created by being a nice, genuine, caring and attentive sort of chap on twitter. It’s hard to create much momentum in any kind of social network without some of those qualities, but true engagement, engagement that leads to customers and partners, is created with content. Or, perhaps more accurately, engagement is created with engaging content.
I know you’re likely sick of me talking about the need to create lots of education rich content, but there’s just very few ways around it as a typical small business. Some exceptions, marry into lots of money and buy super bowl ads, get Miley Cyrus to wear your product on stage, or get Michael Arrington and Robert Scoble to argue publicly about the merits of your feature set – baring these, think content creation.
When it comes to effective social media use, I personally push towards using a great deal of energy and activity to create awareness for your content. So, of course if you’re to take this advice, you’ve got to have lots of content. Many people do little more than create small talk on social networks and then wonder why they can’t get an ROI for time spent. Most small businesses will be far better off if they look at their status updates on LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter, not as a way to tell the world about what they are doing (unless it’s creating content), but as a way to shed light on valuable content housed either within the particular social network or elsewhere online.
This means uploading videos to Facebook, creating events, such as webinars and optimizing them using the Facebook Events app, uploading PowerPoint presentations to Slideshare and using the Slideshare app for LinkedIn, and creating a quick hit point out of your latest blog post and pointing to it on twitter. Thatâ€™s how engagement leads to orders.
Iâ€™m not suggesting that you donâ€™t also have to make referrals, point out other peopleâ€™s great content, and provide great answers to questions posed on that network â€“ thatâ€™s just smart networking, regardless of the platform, and itâ€™s also an important trust building function. But, at the end of the day, if someone, looking for a solution, canâ€™t find that you have in detailed, multi-format, education based content, then social media participation for business purposes can feel like a big fat high school mixer.
So, if you’re one of those that’s determined social media is a big fat waste of time, then I’m suggesting that what you’ve really discovered is that your sparkling personality isn’t enough to make social media pay.
Image credit: luc legay
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