Engaging Conversations

A few months ago, my colleague and I agreed that we needed to create a social media plan.  Our goal was to position the organization as the champion of aging Canadians – which coincides with our vision.  We got together and created a one-year plan, broken down by month, in which we came up with multiple themes and ideas related to health and aging.  We started by scanning the Ontario Health Association’s Health Promotion Calendar and pulling awareness days.  We then turned to our organization’s internal campaign and events calendar, and filled in the blanks, while adding other “special” days such as Christmas, New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc. and soon had something to work with.  We divided the year amongst ourselves and agreed to claim responsibility of social media as per our established schedule.  Our objective was simple: be consistent. We’ve managed this quite well so far, and I’ve been adapting our approach to make us sound more “human” and less like a sales pitch.

What we find challenging is when is comes to engaging our readers.  We several hundreds of Fans and Friends and have noticed our blog gets many hits, but we seldom obtain feedback.  I’d say between one and five users, most of who are our colleagues, comment or like our posts.

For Twitter, Engaging Social Media published the ‘Rules of Engagement’ for marketing:

#1 – Respect your audience
#2 – Add value
#3 – Tell a story
#4 – Give them somewhere to go
#5 – Always have an agenda
#6 – Build your brand (custom twitter background)

Social Media Examiner published a great, easy-to-follow article titled How to Better Engage Facebook Fan Page ‘Fans’, in which they suggest to do the following:

  • For status updates, try ending with a question.
  • Add your own comments as needed to get the ball rolling.
  • Come back and reply often to your fans’ comments – Facebook currently doesn’t have threaded commenting, so I suggest addressing specific fans in your comments as @name.
  • Do your best to respond to fan questions as promptly as possible. If you find you can’t keep up with the volume of questions, offer a free teleseminar or webinar in which you answer your fans’ top questions.

I can see how following these simple rules will make a difference in the amount of responses we get, and I can easily apply them not only to my professional life, but to my personal life as well. I have to keep reminding myself that a my posts are conversation starters and should be like an in-person conversation – no one likes to sit and listen to someone talk about themselves for hours without having an opportunity to say a word.  Sounds simple enough…stay tuned for updates!

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~ by Anick on February 4, 2011.

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