As we continue with our “fancy marketing words” series, we absolutely need to talk about “engagement”. The way I define engagement is very simple: 2 way communication. I communicate some information, you respond. You communicate some information, I respond. The response might take the form of a reply, a like, a favorite, a retweet, a share, or a comment, but they are all forms of engagement. I’ve compiled my top five deadly sins of audience engagement below, so you won’t make these same mistakes.
5 Deadly Sins of Online Audience Engagement
1. Never acknowledging or replying to tweets.
I understand if you have a super-large following like Beyonce’ or The Rolling Stones, it is impossible to respond to every single tweet. However, until you get to that level, you need to be responsive to your followers. It is social media, after all, right?. If you’ve ever had a celebrity reply to one of your tweets, you know there is no bigger thrill. If you are a on any social network, and don’t reply to anyone, you may as well go to a fax machine and send out fax blasts. Seriously.
2. Never holding online events: tweet chats, Google Hangouts, webinars.
Online events serve two great purposes for you. First its a way to engage your audience in real-time. Secondly, by saving your tweets to a tool like Storify, or recording your Google+ Hangout video, you create a piece of content that you can post and share for the future. If you find you are too busy to reply regularly, (note I didn’t say ‘not reply at all’) this is a great way to connect with your fans.
3. Failing to caption Instagram pictures.
This is a serious pet peeve of mine. It comes off as the height of arrogance (or laziness, I’m not sure which) to post a picture with someone and not identify who you are with. Its like saying ” you should know who this is and if you don’t I don’t care.”
4. Taking the bait from Twitter trolls and losing your cool.
This deadly sin could be post series unto itself. This rule comes in many shapes and forms, but I will only address two that I’ve had experience with at this point.
a.Taking the bait from crazies.
As in real life, there are people who get a thrill out of provoking people to anger online – hence the name trolls. They are like roaches too, because if there is one, I can promise you there are 50 more waiting in the wings to pile on. For example: I participate in the #nerdland Twitter convo for Melissa Harris-Perry’s show. There are conservative trolls who tag their tweets #nerdland specifically to try to goad the show’s mostly liberal fan base. I’m embarrassed to say it, but I took the bait one day and let one of their tweets get to me. It took me the better part of 12 hours to stop the onslaught of crazy tweets I received. Take it from me, that Twitter “block and report as spam” button is your best friend here.
b. Responding in a hostile way to(legitimate) fan feedback
This is another one that just burns me up, especially if you are a social media personality who makes a living from their blog. I have seen many prominent internet personalities pull this stunt when they stopped posting for a longer than usual. Their fans, naturally, tweet or post on Facebook that, ‘hey we miss you, are you okay, what happened, where are you? ‘ and these fools have the nerve to reply in effect “I don’t need to tell you where I am. I’ll post when I get ready.” Better yet, Remember that saying “The customer is always right.”
5. Cryptic tweeting aka using Twitter like SMS texting.
This one is really simple. If you have more than one follower, don’t use twitter like you’re texting on your iPhone. It is not the same thing, and it makes you look like a douchebag. Similarly, you should not tweet cryptically in an attempt to be cool. Write that stuff in your diary. Remember, it’s social media. Would you walk in a room filled with all your followers and say it?
Then don’t tweet it.
That’s what I’ve got for now. What do you think? What did I miss? Add on in the comments with your ‘deadly audience engagement sins’ below.