Social Media for Participant Engagement, How to & Guide
Engaging With Your Audience
If all you’re doing is sharing some content with your audience though the occasional message, updating them with pictures, posts and articles – you aren’t using social media for participant engagement to its fullest.
The great thing about social media is that it lets you actually engage with your audience and talk with them.
This presents networking opportunities and at the same time allows you to get feedback about your products, and more importantly, your brand and trust appeal.
What’s more, it facilitates ‘influencer marketing’. The art of finding people who already have a big following and getting them to share your posts with their audience (resulting in new followers for you).
To benefit, it’s important that you treat your social media as a ‘two-way’ channel of dialogue not just a post it board.
That means , that YES, you should be responding to all the posts and questions that people have and post.
This will increase engagement several fold as it will help people to feel as though they know you and as though they have a relationship – thus they’re far more likely to share what you post and to make comments when you ask questions.
At the same time, you should also work to encourage engagement.
This means inviting people to comment, asking for opinions and taking part in active discussions. Join some communities and post advice, tips and questions as your brand without expecting anything in return – you might just make some friends who become fans and thereby customers.
It’s better to have a few followers who are highly engaged and loyal than it is to have a million who never actually read any of your posts. And as ‘1,000 True Fans’ famously hypothesizes, a few genuine fans is all a company needs to make a lot of money and to be completely resilient against changing markets.
Getting Started with Social Media for Participant Engagement
When you first get started, you need to ensure that you have a strong brand (your brand starts with your domain name choice) and that this branding is consistent across all of your social media accounts. The key here is to have a visual language and a persona that will ensure your visitors know what to expect from you while at the same time making your content instantly recognizable.
A good brand will tie all your social media efforts together and it will make you look far more professional. Most importantly though, it will turn every interaction into an opportunity to strengthen your visibility as well as your authority.
If you don’t already have one, then create a good logo and come up with a tagline/mission statement. Create some images that can be used as cover images and that will use the same colors that are in your logo. Now ensure that the same design language and branding is present on your website, set up multiple social media accounts and link them altogether as much as possible.
The Objective of Social Media
Now you have your social media accounts and you’ve created ways for people to find you, you need to start filling all of you accounts and pages with meaningful content.
This means starting with high quality blog posts for your website. This is the basis for content marketing and you can use this to ensure people want to come back to your site, while at the same time reinforcing your authority and knowledge on the given topic. This will give people a reason to subscribe to your site and potentially to follow you on social media through the supplied links, feeds and buttons. It also means you can share your content to social media and thus bring people from your social accounts back to your website.
Meanwhile, the social accounts themselves can also be updated with status updates and photos. Just as with your blog posts and articles, the objective here is to provide value. Think of these almost like mini-blogs with precisely the same objective: to establish yourself as a leading authority in your field while at the same time providing people with entertainment and information.
The mistake that so many businesses make is to use their social media accounts only to promote their business. In doing this though, you don’t give people any reason to follow you – most people don’t want regular adverts sent to them! Instead then, look at ways you can offer something interesting, entertaining, inspiring or valuable through your social media account while at the same time keeping it on-topic.
In other words, you should be viewing your social media as a product in itself – to the point where it can stand alone as its own business almost.
So if you are selling cupcakes, then you don’t use your social media to keep writing about how great your cupcakes are. Instead, you show pictures of delicious desserts to Instagram and Pinterest, you post recipes to Facebook and Pinterest and you update Twitter with ‘baking tips’. Maybe you also run some competitions, or you ask users to send in their recipes and photos of what they’ve made.
Suddenly, you’re now providing actual value and you’re giving people who have stumbled upon your social pages a good reason to start following you. Over time, you will also build trust and authority in their eyes as you continually provide value and they’ll thus be far more receptive to your marketing messages when you do occasionally share them.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PARTICIPANT ENGAGEMENT,Content
How to Write Content That Gets Shared and Liked
For many businesses, a lot of this value is going to come from the content they share from their own blog. The question now is, how do you write the type of content that is likely to go viral and that will at least get lots of clicks?
To answer this question, we can again look at what a lot of businesses do wrong which is to share content that is derivative, generic and ultimately dull.
If you have a fitness website and the blog posts you’re writing are things like:
- ‘How to Get Great Abs’
- ’10 Pec Exercises’
- ‘7 Mistakes Newbies Make in the Gym’
- Then you really shouldn’t expect to get many clicks. Most of us have read these articles a hundred times before and we need something new to really catch our eyes.
You need to be looking for new angles, new opportunities and exciting research then. For instance, relatively recent research shows us that Lutein– a supplement previously used for eye health – can improve the motivation of rats and help them to burn more calories. Lutein can be relatively easily added to the diet.
Now you have a title that could grab attention:
‘Breaking News: The Supplement ‘Lutein’ Could Supercharge Your Cells and Make You More Disciplined!’
This offers something different and exciting while at the same time being meaty and interesting when you get down to reading it. Don’t make the mistake of writing click-bait – which is content that sounds exciting but doesn’t actually deliver on its promise. In order to build long-term trust with your audience, you need to ensure that the content you are sharing is actually as good as it sounds.
Another tip is to write content with a very specific audience in mind. Imagine your ideal reader who will love this kind of content and design it especially for them. For instance then, you might write an article titled:
‘Why Martial Artists Have More Powerful Muscle Pound for Pound Than Other Athletes’
Now you have an article that has a unique audience, meaning you can share it to martial arts groups and communities to attract new fans to your brand. What’s more though, it’s something martial artists might like to share themselves as it shows them in a good light and as it expresses an interest of theirs. Finally, anyone who has a friend who is a martial artist might see fit to share this content with them, knowing that they’ll find it interesting.
Note that social media is first and foremost a communication tool. People often share content as a means of communication or as a means of expression themselves – make sure your content facilitates this.
Finally, note that when people do like or share an article, they often do so before they’ve read it. This tells you just how important the titles of your articles are, as well as how important the accompanying image is. If you add a great GiF or a meme to your G+ post, you’ll likely find it gets many more +1s.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PARTICIPANT ENGAGEMENT, the Lifestyle
Sell the Lifestyle
Through your status updates and your images meanwhile, another objective to focus on is ‘selling the lifestyle’. As a business, you probably have products and services but on top of these, you likely also have a value proposition. Your value proposition is the lifestyle that your products and services promise to provide and the way they promise to make lives better. This is what’s exciting about what you do and it’s what makes people inspired as well as making them want what you have to offer.
Social media provides the perfect tool for promoting the lifestyle and the value proposition you’re offering. If you have a protein shake company, then the lifestyle will mean images of people working out and lifting heavy dumbbells – perfect for Instagram. If you have a recruitment company, the you might be promising the ‘executive’ lifestyle and can post images of people having drinks in smart suits while wearing nice watches.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PARTICIPANT ENGAGEMENT, Influencers
As for that influencer marketing strategy we mentioned, this is all about networking and trying to build relationships with your most prominent followers. Thereby you can gain access to their audience too.
LinkedIn is great for this as it allows you to see how you are connected to some of the biggest influencers on the net. Bear in mind though that you can’t just approach Tony Robbins and expect him to give you a shout-out.
Instead, make sure that you are trying to develop some kind of genuine connection with those influencers first. This is most effective if you can do it in real life. In two minutes having a chat in an elevator, you can make much more of an impression than you can over a thousand e-mails. So attend networking events!
What’s more, you shouldn’t go straight for the biggest players on the net. Instead, aim for people who have a similar amount of influence as you and who thus might be keen to work with you – because they’ll get something out of it too. Over time, you can then climb the ranks until you’re able to attract the interest of the very biggest bloggers and social media users.
Keep all this in mind, be vigilant and make sure you keep it up on a consistent basis in order to effectively use social media for participant engagement. If you do all that, then you’ll see how your social media pages start giving you a bigger and bigger audience that is engaged and committed to your brand.
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