In social media, you achieve more when you engage. In my traditional media career as an on-air radio host, I know that I’ve had greater success when I engage. One of my online sources defines engagement as “the act of sharing in the activities of a group.”
This means if you sign up for a Twitter account, you don’t just sit there and watch others post things to your timeline. You jump in. You tweet—and not just sales messages. You retweet. You reply. You add to your “following” list.
Is your business or organization on Facebook? You don’t just set it up and post something every month or so. You invite website visitors and Twitter followers to your Facebook page and give them something worthwhile when they get there. Post content that exceeds 140 characters. Ask a question and monitor and interact with responses. Share timely information.
In radio, most people who listen never call a station or attend a station event. But a radio host should answer calls and interact with those who do call (off air and on air). When a listener approaches at an event, a good host will schmooze in such a way that the listener will feel a stronger bond with the station and the host.
In social media, most who follow you will not reply, retweet or comment. But when someone does reply or comment, you need to engage. At the very least, acknowledge their input. Those who watch what you post on Twitter and Facebook will note your participation. If you ignore those who attempt to interact with you in social media, you may appear to be aloof. It may appear that you don’t care about social media interaction.
Failure to engage in social media is like standing in a distant corner at a party and averting your eyes when someone looks at you. At that party, or on Twitter or Facebook, people will eventually give up. Sometimes that person standing in the corner is someone who is not at ease in social situations. He’s afraid of what could go wrong.
Similarly, some who choose not to engage via social media may do so out of fear. In both cases, you have to put yourself out there and engage. Not every personal or online interaction will go well, but, in time, you will feel more comfortable doing it. And, in both cases, good things can result. Go for it.