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Engagement Is Critical for Today’s Communicators. Getting there is Hard.

Most of us who’ve been involved in social media for a few years now understand engagement is key to success. Companies everywhere are looking for ways to grab a bigger piece of this pie than their competitor as they believe it’s their ticket to success.Photo: marsmettn tallahassee; via Flickr, CC 2.0

But I wonder if the solution might be easier than we think. Is it just a matter of being “real.” Consider…

Klout recently created “moments” which are supposed to show influence. I hadn’t looked at Klout in ages until I needed to make sure I understood a “moment” according to Klout. Quite simply, Klout moments are times your social media posts resonate most with your followers. Each of my “moments” has been something personal and something about my family. Most posts about a product or brand, and especially those about politics, don’t generate as much conversation.

Then, last weekend a friend was enjoying a night to herself with a plate of mac and cheese. She asked her network how they like their mac and cheese:

Kristen Fat Olives Cropped

Now, I think mac and cheese is an amazing symbol of comfort to all of us and things are turning fallish around here so her timing was good (okay, it was snowing yesterday too). It was really interesting to see how many people posted their favorite combinations and memories. We wanted to share and see what others find comforting. Oh, and the answer is Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, eggs and ketchup all the way!

On a more professional level, I’m part of a primarily virtual group of independent public relations professionals. Among other things, we support each other through a Facebook group. Although most of us have never met in real life, we share professional information but in a carefree and friendly way. I think we’d say we’re very good friends. It’s about helping each other be better professionals.

To be successful, companies need to take a page from this playbook and be personal, friendly and open. Posts need to be conversational in tone and definitely not confrontational. Consumers need to be addressed efficiently and honestly. And questions need to be answered. It’s really common courtesy. During a recent “crisis” on social media, I learned you can reason with even the most upset customers in a compassionate and understanding manner.

It almost sounds like companies need to act like people too. Can it be that easy? How do you help clients improve their level of engagement? How do you make sure products you represent are being open and honest?

Photo: marsmettn tallahassee; via Flickr, CC 2.0

 

By | 2017-03-07T00:40:58+00:00 September 24th, 2013|Social Media|2 Comments

About the Author:

Mary Deming Barber, APR, Fellow PRSA, runs a strategic communications consultancy where she helps clients understand how to integrate new media into traditional communication programs. Mary has counseled clients in Tacoma, Anchorage, San Francisco, Oregon, and Colorado for nearly 40 years working with a variety of food organizations, several agencies, and as a key team member on two successful US Senate campaigns. 


2 Comments

  1. geoffwelch September 24, 2013 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    I love this, Mary. I believe a company that is successful at humanizing their brand has a much greater opportunity to engage with their customers in deep and meaningful ways. I am immediately suspicious of brands that purport to be “perfect” and that suspicion destroys real engagement.

  2. mdbarber September 25, 2013 at 11:52 am - Reply

    geoffwelch I agree with you Geoff and think sometimes we forget that companies are made up of people so they really don’t need to reinvent in public. (Note I did NOT say companies ARE people as that’s another subject entirely)

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