Engagement = conversation
That’s really all you have to remember. Whether it’s on Twitter or your blog or your Facebook page – anywhere, really. The “engagement” you always hear about is conversation. That’s it. It’s easy to confuse engagement with broadcasting. They’re different.
To converse with someone, you must first forge a connection. This takes time. It’s worth the effort, though. For personal brands, it can expand your network, give you exposure, and help solidify your reputation as an expert in your field. For businesses, you can learn what your customers need – and what issues come up. Don’t forget: listening is a critical part of engagement. If you’re engaging online but the only one really talking in a discussion, then perhaps you’re just broadcasting after all. So, be sure and listen as well as talk.
I imagine that many people think that you must have a website for engagement. I don’t think that’s always the case. For individuals, you don’t have to have a website to start engaging with people. You can do much with just a Twitter and LinkedIn account. Businesses need websites, however. You may or may not have engagement on your site, but you could via Twitter and other platforms. If you are looking to increase engagement, these are the main platforms to consider, IMO.
For each platform, there are methods for encouraging and increasing engagement. In Facebook, you might post more pictures to encourage comments and likes. In Twitter, retweets help expand your follower base and can encourage more conversations. For blogs, simply asking for people to comment or “what do you think” prompts are all to encourage engagement. It’s all about conversation.
A benefit of engagement is that you learn what your followers need. You can identify issues and come up with solutions. I have an example of my own. On June 20, 2013, I hosted a live training event on my Facebook page. This was a discussion of how different social media platforms worked. There was quite a bit of conversation during that quick hour. Afterward, I knew that people were very interested in Twitter. So I made a webinar shortly after. Through that engagement, I learned what information people needed. I was able to respond.