Five Ways to Invite Engagement In Your B2B Social Media Efforts
We recently reviewed “broadcast” vs. “engagement” in B2B social media efforts. In short, I described engagement (in part) as “making friends.” When you engage someone in your social media stream, they're interested in what you have to say. They want to reply. It's a two-way conversation.
And, just like good conversations, friendships, or any interaction, for that matter, engagement cannot be forced. It comes from being yourself, being transparent, and being likeable. Having said that, there are conversation starters, so to speak -- proven tricks and shortcuts you can use to encourage engagement. The goal is make sure people know that you're here, you're listening, and you want to hear what they have to say. Here are five proven tactics you can add to your B2B social media and inbound marketing arsenal to encourage engagement:
1. If you've having trouble moving beyond a superficial level of engagement, ask your prospects to talk about themselves: What are their biggest challenges? What worries them in today's economy? What were their biggest successes this quarter? Not only are you engaging your prospects, you're gathering valuable information for creating buyer personas.
2. Start a weekly chat or monthly, either amongst others in your industry or an informative session tailor made for your prospective customers.
To start a Twitter chat, announce the day and time on your blog, and promote it to your network. When the time for the chat rolls around, participants use a hashtag (#) and a word related to the chat to mark questions, answers and contributions. This has the added benefit of providing weekly (or bi-weekly, or monthly) blog fodder, as well, since you can run a synopsis of the chat, plus an analysis, on your blog. It doesn't get any better than this when it comes to engagement and easy content creation.
3. Start a one-question poll on Twitter or Facebook. You can ask for opinions about upcoming product ideas, names, logos, virtually anything. Hopefully, you'll get some good feedback you can use and insight into what your customers really want. But take the results from a small sample with a grain of salt, since they may not be indicative of the broader marketplace. The real goal is not to revamp your company vision or initiatives based on the opinions of a handful of people in your network -- it's just to get people talking and sharing ideas.
4. Take a survey, share the results, and ask for feedback. People love analyzing the marketplace and survey statistics give them a great starting point to agree or disagree. People who missed the survey will want to add their input -- especially if they don't agree with the results.
5. Want comments? Just ask. Ending blog posts with a question that gets your website visitors thinking about their needs, challenges and even potential solutions can spark interesting discussions (and ideas for future posts, too.) If you can't come up with a question, simply end by asking readers to please add their comments below. To wit:
What techniques have worked to successfully engage your network in the past? Please share your successes (or learning experiences!) in the comments – it’s greatly appreciated!