20 Ways to Engage Contacts in Social Media

Posted By on Apr 15, 2009 | 29 comments


What is it? What is it good for? Engagement.

One of the primary selling points of social media is the concept of engaging a potential customer or partner in your product or service. So how do you accomplish engagement on a personal level?

20 Ways to Engage a Potential Customer Using Social Media

1. Start a blog. This seems like an obvious one. This should be one of the first things you think about doing when contemplating using social media as a marketing tool. There should always be a hub where your contacts can interact. The so called “hub.” WordPress is a great tool to start blogging. Get on it!

2. Join Brightkite and Use it during the business day. Brightkite is a service that allows you to update your location to the people following you on a regular basis. I do not recommend using this tool after business hours (could turn a little creepy) but it can help your contacts get an idea of what you do on a daily basis. Even if you are just sitting in your office for most of the day.

3. Join LinkedIN and recommend your partners. Most of us are already using LinkedIN (if you are not click this link for great information on LinkedIN). When you start to recommend the people you love working with it will help spread the goodwill that your business partners deserve. What happens you spread goodwill? Ever heard of pay-it-forward?

4 and 5. Start an RSS Reader and Find 10 Blogs. It is important that you use an RSS Reader to help with the organization of the blogs you read. For more information on starting and maintaining an RSS Feed check out this link. By using a Technorati or Google BlogSearch you can find 10 blogs that are industry “blog leaders” in your dedicated profession. By following and commenting on the blogs you will start to engage other readers.

6. Place a Poll on Your Blog or Website. There are plenty of tools available for polling on your website or blog. Wp-polls is a great resource if you are connected with wordpress. Ask a question to your audience. How can I make my content better? What are you wanting to read or learn about? This will help in engaging your more loyal readers and followers.

7. Ask a Loyal Reader to Guest Post. There is a ton of value in having your loyal readers do a guest post for your blog. They will feed your link to their subscribers and it also gives them a pride in ownership of your blog. This allows for the strengthening of a relationship in the long run.

8. Identify Your Strategy. This should have been placed at number one because it is the more important of everything you could be doing online. If you do not have a strategy in place to lead the charge into social media you will be at a lost when it becomes overwhelming. A strategy allows you to measure success points in your social media journey. This only helps when it comes to YOU engaging THEM.

9. Focus. Really Focus on Your About Page. What is the second most read page on a blog? The about page. People want to know who they are communicating with. The last thing you need to do (and I am also guilty of this on my personal blog KyleLacy.com) is to create a boring about page. Spice it up. Add some details that will create the best about page you could possibly want! Also.. enable comments on your about page. Allow people to comment on yours likes and dislikes.

10. Use Twitter on a Daily Basis. Now this might be a little overwhelming to the young at heart in social media but Twitter is fast becoming the ideal means of online communication. For a detailed explaination of Twitter check out DiTii.com’s video.

11. Add Your Social Media Information to Your Business Card. I have written a ton about this in previous posts. If you want to truly engage with the people you meet offline… add your social media sites to your business card. I have my LinkedIN, Twitter, and Blog URLs on my business card.

12. Be open to collaboration. You may have run your small-to-mid sized business for years by yourself but social media is built on the art of collaboration. People will be giving their opinions on a daily basis and it is in your best interest to take those opinions with stride. Collaborate and join in on discussions surrounding ideas related to your industry and your life. Collaborate. Learn. Listen.

13. Start a Facebook Page and Add in Your Family Life. Facebook is an extremely personal tool that can be used to connect with individuals on an emotional basis using pictures. You have to be open in sharing some of your family life with the outside world. There is a reason why PR companies have used the idea of “family man” to save many tarnished CEOs. Add pictures of your family, your dog, your vacation. People will connect. (New to Facebook. Check out this link on getting started as a company).

14. Pick 4 Social Sites and Maximize. You will become anti-social if you become overwhelmed with the multitude of different social media sites in which you are a member. We teach a 4-touchpoint theory of choosing four social media sites to spend your time. With a limited amount of time you will find that 4 sites benefits you in two main ways:

1. You will have more brain “bandwidth” to communicate on a deeper level.

2. The same people will pretty much be on all the sites you choose. (I say this loosely)

15. When someone comments on your blog email them a thank you. I learned this from the famous Gary Vaynerchuk. If someone is joining into the conversation on your blog and adding content make sure you thank them for your support. The people who show a vested interest are key to growing your readership. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t have time to email people the moment they comment. It sometimes takes me weeks before I send a follow up email.

16. Write About Personal Experience. We talk a lot about this. Write about the way you see life. Write about the way you experience your business on a daily basis. TAlk about how you are helping people. Talk about how you are solving the problems on a daily basis. Use Twitter. Use Facebook. Tell stories on your blog. People engage in stories. They connect with stories.

17. Try to Keep Yourself Within 450 Words or Less on Your Blog. It is important to keep blog posts concise and to the point. If you have trouble writing this will help you in the long run. As you can tell by the post you are currently reading, it is not essential that you keep it to 450 words. If you have advice and knowledge to send out to the masses.. . please do so. If you keep blog posts short it helps to keep readers and that is the goal.

18. Remember Quality vs Quantity. Quality is always better than Quantity. I have always said that 100 extremely engage readers are infinitely better than 4000 quasi engaged readers. Quality allows you to truly form relationships with the people you are dealing with on a daily basis. You can build your base anyway you like but make sure you always come back to quality over quantity.

19. Monitor the Conversation around Your Brand both Personal and Professional. For more on this read: 25 Tools and Tips to Following Your Brand Online. Why is it important to follow your brand online? You need to be involved in all the conversations surrounding your product, service, or YOU.

20. DO NOT HARD SELL! I am going to repeat this again: Do Not Hard Sell. This means you are not sharing about sales and detail after detail about your company. It means you are concentrating on listening to the people who are investing in your writing and social media prescence. Nobody cares about your 50% sale. They care about who will be greeting them at the door of your store or place of business. Personality rules and if you want to act like a used-car sales man… go work at one.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/dismart dismart

    I can't for the life of me understand why you don't have a ton of comments on your blog.
    I'm still kinda new to this whole social media phenom so I'm soaking up as much pure knowledge as i can get. So I'm bookmarketing your blog right now and i look forward
    to learning all I can from you so keep it comming

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/kylelacy kylelacy

      Thanks for the kind comment. I do put a lot of value in comments but the important thing is people reading. :-) If I know 200 people read a post but only 2 people commented… that's fine by me!

  • http://www.myinkpro.com/ Ink Cartridges

    Good post! I've seen a lot of references to using LinkedIn to garner sales, and I've been a little confused by that. I have a healthy amount of business contacts on LinkedIN, but haven't really found the right way to turn that into anything but networking, which is good – but not exactly something I see translating directly into sales of any kind…? Your suggestion of using it to get recommendations seems a lot more suited to what LinkedIn does best.

    • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/kylelacy kylelacy

      I would recommend using the Groups in LinkedIN. Go join a couple of groups and make sure you are tracking the group's questions. Be the first to answer. I am sure there are printing and marketing groups in LinkedIN. I assume you are a printer right? Check Out: http://kylelacy.com/10-ways-to-rock-and-not-on-li

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/cfimages cfimages

    Good info. I do some of these but not all. I'll have to get to work and make a few improvements. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/kylelacy kylelacy

      Thank you for posting!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Shelly_Kramer Shelly_Kramer

    Kyle, this is fantastic. Not anything I didn't already know or do but such a succinct, spot-on overview. I'll definitely be sharing with clients as well as with Twitter and other social media newbies. In my view, helping people to learn, manage and dive in to social media is not only extremely fun, but my way of paying it forward. Obviously, I can see that you're a believer too. Oh, now let me head on over and follow you on Twitter :)

    @shellykramer

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/kylelacy kylelacy

      Thanks Shelly! The biggest thing to remember in social media is using it productively and following a strategy. If you can focus on using two or three networks to maximize "brand awareness" you are on your way.

  • http://www.wchingya.com Ching Ya

    Thank you for such an inspiring post. It got me into thinking how to maximize the use of social media while building a good relationship with blog readers. I've been intensively, using Twitter as a mean of communication with people from around the world nowadays, and the performance has been impressive so far. Which leads me into digging alot deeper how we could enhance our network by utilizing them in full mode.

    Thanks for sharing, and I'll get this post stumbled.

    @wchingya
    Social Media/Blogging

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/kylelacy kylelacy

      Thanks for the Stumble, Ching! I think we are on the verge of discovering the true value of social media in the coming months. I am excited to try and figure out a more succinct way to utilize every tool on the web!

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  • http://www.twitter.com/parothd32 Mickey

    Whether you're trying to brand a business or brand yourself, these are good, comprehensive tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/kylelacy kylelacy

      Thank you for commenting!

  • http://gullibility.blogspot.com Reasonable Robinson

    This a really useful summary of key network building activities. I've just posted it to three friends who are just getting into social networking for work reasons. Excellent stuff Kyle.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/kylelacy kylelacy

      Thanks Reasonable!

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  • Stan

    Great post, thanks!
    Some of them seem obvious, but I really discovered others.

    (I wanted to share this post with the sharethis button, but what a lack of time yours is out of date

  • http://www.palepinkcoat.com lisaann dupont

    This is fantastic advice. Really enjoy your blog [and tweets!]

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  • http://www.nwinteriordesigner.com Angela Todd

    Thank you for your great post. I instantly loved your style. Then I realized you live in Indianapolis too! My hometown is Indy. I lived on the south side and graduated from Southport High School. I am in Portland, Oregon now and own an interior design firm. I look forward to my new subscription to your blog.

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  • http://www.party2point0.wordpress.com Bruce Christensen

    Kyle, again you have created a list for us to use as the measuring stick of our efforts. This is particularly helpful to those of us who need a quick education on social media and must rely on this type of step by step direction in order to stay on task.

    I look forward to finding a way for you to help us become the next rockstar of social networks.

  • http://fitzmartin.com Jennifer Deal

    I'm just beginning to get a grasp of how truly powerful social media is. I've used social media personally much longer than for business. Some of the tools offered now are so powerful (and overwhelming). Some of the tools you mention are great way to demonstrate to any client what is being said about their brand; hence allowing us to provide recommendations on what they should be doing to increase in-bound marketing communications. I'm tagging this post to delicious and will come back to it to remind me of all the things I can do! Great post narrowing the items to the core basics!

    One thought: I really would like to see the links open up in a different tab. I'd click on a link in your post, get lost and have to back track to get back to this article. Make it easy for me to come right back to the post (unless I'm so behind on my tech, which is highly possible, and you can tell me how to avoid that!)!

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/dismart dismart

    Hi kyle Just had a question about this site i found called my lot they say that you can get paid
    for doing what you do anyway have you heard of them?

  • http://www.yinkaolaito.com yinka olaito

    These are great nudgets that help in no small ways. keep it up

  • http://twitter.com/anitamccants Anita McCants

    Rick Sanchez with CNN asked Twitters "what is the best reason to engage in
    social media, twitter?" I found the best reason at the start of this blog: To
    involve potential customers or partners in your product or service (Kyle Lacy).

  • http://www.asmallbusinessmarketingtool.com/ Lyndon

    Great tips! This sounds like a great plan to frame a social media strategy!

  • http://www.inkoasis.com Allison

    Another way is to create a list, like a top 10 list., which you have done with this blog. Some very good points and a helpful list to keep you focused and on track with your blog

  • http://www.first2click.net Eric

    My experience has been that, if after building a social network presence and audience, you don’t stimulate and interact with that audience, then you have wasted your time. That belief is the reason I pursued the crazy idea I now call First2Click.
    First2Click is a competitive contests site that uses Facebook and Twitter to launch new contests via a hyperlink.
    First2Click contests are engaging, fun and exciting for participants, and involve quickness, strategy, and competition! They are an excellent tool for stimulating social community – interacting with and bringing the social audience to the brand, products, and services being promoted by the contest sponsor. This is a very unique promotional platform that brings a new combination of dynamics to the consumer promotional experience. If interested you can see it at http://www.First2Click.net
    Thanks for your blog article,
    Eric

  • http://www.spacebagreviews.org/ Space Bag Review

    Nice post. Really liked it.. Don't forget to update it regularly. I am looking for new updates dieing to read more stuff from you ..

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