The super-secret, guaranteed effective guide to building engagement in social media


It’s unfortunate, really. I didn’t even want to write this post. But after endless conversations about the secret to building engagement, I realized it needed to be said.  So here it is. Are you ready? Read carefully, the super-secret, guaranteed effective guide to building engagement in social media:

The super-secret, guaranteed effective guide to building engagement in social media.

  1. Provide value to your audience

 

Oh, I’m sorry. Were you waiting for more? That’s it. That’s all you have to do. A lot of marketers will talk to you about social media engagement strategy like it’s a secret recipe for Sunday sauce handed down from their great grandmother. They’ll say you need one part education, two parts consumer spotlight, a dash of sales-oriented content and with a little love you suddenly have three-million comments, Likes and retweets.

Sure, there may be a certain mix of content that works for your brand, but only because you’re selling a particular product to a particular audience with a particular interest. That’s what they like.

You might think this is a bland recipe, but let it simmer. Think about it. There are two operative words: value and audience.

 

Audience

The folks in your online community are already customers, right? So you should know who they are and what they want (If you don’t know them, you have bigger problems than social media). Now, all you have to do is talk to them. Post things they want to see. If you were talking face-to-face with a customer, how would they respond to your latest update? Would they say “Wow, neat!” or would it be more like “Oh, I see.” Users were gracious enough to click that Like or follow button. Now give them something in return.

All too often, management wants to highlight moments that make management proud and make the organization look good. That’s fine – if you can honestly say your audience would find it valuable. Photos from your company picnic probably won’t do the trick.

The people in your online community are there because you share some common value.  Don’t ruin that relationship by telling them to think, feel or believe something different.

 

Value

Value isn’t just education. It can come in a lot of forms and it’s completely dependent on your audience. For example, there is a little newspaper is my hometown (I’m convinced their number of Facebook Likes is higher than their circulation). Every day, they post a poll question. Polls vary from local to state to national issues. You can always count on huge numbers of people posting paragraph-long responses. So how is this tiny daily providing value? It gives local politiphiles a place to voice their opinions. If you’ve gone to the trouble of Liking your local newspaper on Facebook, it’s safe to say you like to discuss current events. And hey, why not do it with a bunch of strangers on Facebook where you’re less likely to offend any friends or coworkers.

 

Skittles is another great example of providing value to your audience. With all current events aside, Skittles knows its audience on social media. I chuckle every time I read an update from skittles. See the below image if you need an example. You might say humor isn’t valuable from a marketing standpoint. But at the end of the day, what is Skittles as a brand?  Sure it’s food. But it’s not healthy. It’s not innovative. It’s fun – just plain old fun. Skittles are bright, colorful and easy to share with friends, just like their musings on Facebook.

So, next time you write a Tweet or click the “post” button, just ask yourself: Am I providing value to my audience? If the answer is yes, engagement shouldn’t be a problem.

 

The Digital Detox Every Computer Needs

Spring is just around the corner, which means one thing: let the spring cleaning begin! Sure, the house and yard could use some TLC, but what about your computers? This may sound odd, but hear me out.

A few weeks ago, my laptop, which contains everything from work documents to old school papers, hundreds of songs and thousands of priceless pictures, suddenly quit working. After a trip to the Apple Genius Bar, I heard the words no one wants to hear: “Your hard drive crashed.” As I sat at the bar, (no pun intended) I couldn’t believe that I may have lost years of work and memories. But after two days of painful waiting, I’m happy to say that all of my data was recovered.

Now that I’m up and running, (you never know how much you rely on your laptop until you don’t have it) I have decided to spread the word about backing up your computers and laptops. Trust me, it’s worth it.

There are several options when it comes to digital storage:

  1. External Hard Drive- The external hard drive is what saved my laptop. There are tons of different drives you can pick. Visit consumer reports to find the best one for you.
  2. Cloud Storage- Storing your files “in the clouds” may seem a bit scary; but, if you do your research, you’ll find that this virtual storage option isn’t so bad after all. My top pick is the Carbonite backup, which you can try free for 14 days.  The cost is very reasonable, and backs up automatically each time you make a change to your computer.
  3. ioSafe- This option is another type of external hard drive, yet it’s practically indestructible. The ioSafe website describes this external as an aircraft black box, safe against flood, fire and theft.

While you begin your spring cleaning, take a few moments to back up your computers and laptops.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

3 Reasons why Pinning is #Winning

“Pin it” seems to be the catchphrase of the social media world as a result from the latest online craze, aka Pinterest. And, guess what? The picture/video-sharing site is sticking with users just as well as Ellen’s singing sensations Sophia Grace and Rosie (you have to check out their latest performance).

Pinterest Logo

Pinterest logo, courtesy of Google Images.

There are tons of articles floating around the cyber world that break down all you ever wanted to know about Pinterest, but we’ve boiled it down to the top three reasons why “Pinning is Winning.”

  1. Sight: There is a reason why people say “A picture is worth a thousand words.” And when it comes to Pinterest, that is a lot of words. The pictures on Pinterest are appealing and serve as a form of expression that can be interpreted in different ways and can represent various things we see on a day-to-day basis. Look at it this way: are you more willing to try a new recipe if you read about it or if you see a picture of it?
  2. Categories: It does not take long to notice the countless types of boards and categories Pinterest covers. I mean, the name Pinterest speaks for itself—the root word being interest if you have not caught on by now. From recipes to technology, Pinterest allows users to focus on their own interests, explore and share with others. It has become the go-to hub for sharing ideas, and it serves as a brands’ Mecca for monitoring and keying in on audiences’ interests. Who would have thought, right?
  3. Links: Pinterest gives credit where credit is due. Instead of seeing a picture or video and scrambling through webpage after webpage to find it, Pinterest serves as your personal tour guide and takes you to the exact page it came from. This is where the whole “what’s in it for me” comes into play. It is a great way for companies to direct new visitors or loyal consumers directly to its website or blog because they are clearly looking for something. Linking individuals back to a brand’s website is also an excellent way to create engagement and give users a reason to return.

Bottom line: Do not doubt the power of Pinterest. It has taken the world by storm and is raising the bar every day of how we share and explore online. I will just let this infographic speak for itself. http://mashable.com/2012/02/25/pinterest-user-demographics/