Getting the most out of social media means generating two-way social engagement with your target audience. Too many organizations are missing this opportunity to build relationship by using social media to put out their news/thoughts/opinions as a one-way dialogue with no active participation.
Using social channels without focusing on building meaningful relationships is a big mistake. Think of it like being at a party. No one wants to spend time with the person who only talks about themselves. We enjoy and get the most out of a two-way, engaging dialogue.
How do you create a mutually beneficial social conversation? Start by having a deep understanding of who you want to talk to. (Hint: Your target audience is never “the general public.”) Learn about what your target audience is interested in, what concerns them, and what they want to know. Knowledge of your audience will go a long way towards creating a meaningful two-way conversation.
Next, you need to be prepared to be human. No one wants to interface with a brochure. The want to connect with people.
Telling stories is a great way to get conversations going. Paint a picture with your words and use images to share content that your audience can relate to. Most conversations are fueled by common experience and understanding.
Polls and surveys are also great conversations starters. Keep them to one question. This is an easy way for your audience to offer an opinion.
React to all contributions, even when you don’t agree. Your reactions are a great way to demonstrate that you are interested in everyone’s thoughts.
Try several ways to invite conversation with your connections and assess what works best. There’s no substitute for trial and error, as long as you take time to assess your efforts.