It's the social media battle cry: "More engagement!" It's almost always the first response to "What should brands focus on when developing a social media
Engagement is loosely defined as listening and responding to your audience—conversing on various social media platforms.
It's terrifying to think that's what a business's No. 1 social media objective should be.
Let's reframe our approach to social media.
There's a time and a platform for engagement.
Why are we so stuck on finding a tried-and-true way to do social media? As with any other business practice, how your company
manages social media should reflect your own or your company's business goals, not the goals of another company. Yet we rail against brands that don't
"engage" in the online space or spend vast amounts of time having conversations.
Our CEO's Twitter feed, @MarkRaganCEO, is a news feed. He chats with customers from time to time, but our audience knows the account is primarily a source
of information. We post links that lead back to our sites.
Our goal is to be a resource and provide information; we don't use his Twitter feed to have conversations, because, realistically, Mark's time is better
spent running the business.
That's not to say that Ragan's social media strategy pooh-poohs engagement. Au contraire, we love chatting with our audience. But there's a time
and a platform for it.
Our weekly Twitter chat, #RaganSocial, has become a place for PR and social media pros to discuss hot industry topics. After the chat, they can—and
do—continue the conversation in our Facebook group. Our Facebook pages and LinkedIn groups are also rife with conversations, discussions, and article
Know your goals.
Our company's goals are to draw traffic to our social media sites; to encourage conference, webinar, and Ragan Training site registrations; and to be known
to our audience as a resource for communicators. Our social media strategy focuses on these three core elements. Our Twitter feeds are newsfeeds that serve
as a resource to draw traffic to our sites. There is a specific Twitter strategy that I employ that I'll save for another post.
Find out about our November event that has instruction for your entire communications team.]
Our #RaganSocial Twitter chat, #RaganSocial Facebook group, and LinkendIn groups are hubs to create conversations about industry hot topics. These
conversations help inform social media posts and content for our sites.
Our Facebook pages are used to disseminate information, post thought-provoking questions (resource), and more. Most of our social media channels are used
to share information about conferences, webinars, and our training site.
Be a resource, internally and externally.
Is your social media strategy helping you connect with your audience and meeting your clearly defined business goals? Great. Now think internally.
If you spend hours maintaining and managing social networks, you're sifting through hundreds of pieces of content a day (at least). Start thinking about
how you can repurpose that content.
Can you curate content posted to your LinkedIn group for your website? If there's a hot topic—such as crisis management—that's being discussed regularly on
your social platforms, can you tell your editorial department that might make a good story? Help build blogger relations.
If you've noticed that certain promotions are doing particularly well on a specific social media channel, reach out to your marketing team and tell them.
Conversely, if a certain promotion is flopping via social media, accept that social media might not be the best place for it.
Answer questions about services and products via social media, and keep your customer service team in the loop. Perhaps you can help them create a FAQ
based on what people ask on social media.
Ask your audience questions to determine how your business can improve. Find out what their pain points are, and share this information with your
organization. Are there certain articles or training videos they'd like to see more of? Ask and listen.
I propose we do one of the following: either redefine engagement or scrap it. It's too broad a term. It holds no weight. It is, dare I say, jargon.