Social Media Success in 14 Steps: #9 Engage your Audience

Once you’ve created your presence on social media sites, you are ready to start syndicating your content and building your followers.

When you post content to the various social media sites you’ve created, it’s a good idea to customize it whenever you can.  If you are posting to Twitter, you need to limit your post to 140 characters, but you’ll have more room on LinkedIn or Facebook, so use the space if you have something important to say.

You can also take advantage of tools that allow you to post content once, and then have it automatically flow to other sites. For example, you can set up LinkedIn so that every time you tweet on Twitter with the “#li” hashtag, your tweet will show up on LinkedIn. This will save you time and make it easier to leverage the work you are doing to build content on various sites at the same time.

Most of your content will be appropriate for your own social media properties, but don’t forget to post content to groups or blogs where it’s appropriate. This can often give you much broader reach than posting to your own properties, especially at first when you don’t have many followers and fans. As you get more engaged with groups, you may want to alter your content creation calendar to create more content that’s appropriate for groups, since it often needs to be less self-promotional. These groups can be wonderful places to build your reputation with your target audience and encourage them to follow you.

Interaction on social media sites is much more than a one way conversation. In many ways, you should think of this as two-way conversation in a live group setting.  If you walk into a network event and only talk about yourself, you’ll be soon considered boring and self-centered. The result will be that you’ll have few friends and you’ll spend most of your time talking to yourself.

In a social situation, you’ll do much better if you listen as much as you talk, and if you’re as interested in commenting on others success, as you are interested in your own.

These same principles apply to social media.  The more interactive and interested you can be with others, the more engaged people will be with you.

All users, of course, are not equally influential, so play special attention to people with large groups of fans and followers. It will make a much bigger impact if you can engage a person with 25,000 followers as opposed to a person with just 500 followers.  Focus on the most important people, but engage with everyone you can, and you’ll be seen as a friendly, easy person to connect with.

As you interact with people, it’s also important to notice and respond to what others are saying with personal comments. These types of posts can make you seem real and approachable. It may feel like you are using social media site as you would email to say “thanks” or “nice work”, but remember that others will see this and it will enhance your reputation as being approachable, positive and easy to work with.

If you’d like to read more social media tips, download my white paper: Social Media Success in 14 Steps.

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