In the first edition of this weekly guide, we touched on the importance of active listening and intelligent sharing as important keys for executives beginning to get involved in Social Media.
In short, the premise behind tips one and two was to focus on building a reference group, and to gain understanding of the right content to share to establish yourself as a thought leader within the appropriate subsets of the massive social media community.
This week, I want to touch on what I believe is a (perhaps the) game changer for any Senior level professional wishing to generate successful outcomes using Social Media.
This experience enhancing activity is what I call “Engagement”
The idea of Social Media Engagement is to generate an active dialogue that takes place between individuals, within communities, on blogs and other conversational activities that can take place on the Social Web.
Some examples of doing this could be commenting on a blog, responding to a post/question on Linked in or Twitter, or perhaps joining a Twitter Chat within your area of expertise. (I will further discuss chats in a later edition of this blog)
While engagement is something many attempt to do, only a small percentage of them (in my experience) do it well.
While doing it well isn’t always critical, it does improve outcomes (More ahead). When engaging, you want to focus on jumping in where you add value and/or bring meaningful insight to the conversation. Often people jump into conversations and dilute the quality or digress the subject which can sometimes appear as spam (Not good).
Proper engagement is often focused around the aforementioned value add. (I’ve also found that in some forums like Twitter, sometimes just saying hello and making small talk is well received)
Think of it this way. Join the conversation much like you would in real life. If you were at a local networking event you wouldn’t walk into an active conversation and just start talking. You would listen, make a proper introduction, and then chime in if and when it made sense. (If you approach Social Media this way you will be just fine!)
Proper engagement has huge upside. It will drive loyalty, reciprocity, and serve as the impetus of relationship building that spans well beyond the realm of the digital universe.
In the six months that I have been active in the Social Media community, I have made contact with countless executives and driven relationships with a wide variety of Business Owners, C-Level Executives, and Influential Journalists and Media outlet that have helped drive our company brand.
Additionally, successful interaction has led to positive press for our organization (i.e Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Industry Trade Magazines) that has translated into excellent visibility for some of the initiatives of our company.
The take away here should be to focus on selectively engaging with others in your communities. It is a great way to meet others as well as expand your horizons. If you engage genuinely, and don’t come across as someone trying to immediately solicit for new business, people within the social media community are incredibly willing to help ( That is definitely my experience).
So, now that you have paid attention a bit and familiarized yourself with what is happening in the stream, look for opportunities and jump in. With a little elbow grease and good use of those networking skills, (You know, the one’s that got you into the big office!) the upside is virtually limitless.