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Engagement: an arrangement to meet or be present at a specified time and place; something that engages: pledge; … the act of engaging: the state of being engaged …; the state of being in gear; a hostile encounter between military forces. Source: Miriam-Webster
Dictionaries have not yet caught up with the new definition of engagement – or, at least, the definition that social media attaches to the word.
In the world of Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks, engagement means connection. It means listening to your readers, communicating with your readers, and providing the type of content that your readers will appreciate.
If you write nonfiction, you need to address the issues your readers face. Solve their problems. Provide a clear path down the road they want to take.
Experts tell authors they must engage with their readers. Experts admonish blogger that if they are failing, it’s because they aren’t engaging their readers.
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Facebook has determined that the most important aspect of its algorithm is the numbers that signal engagement. In other words, if you’re readers aren’t Liking, Sharing and Commenting about your posts, they must not care about your page. Numbers don’t lie and I agree with Facebook that if people don’t seem to care for what you’re posting, you need to change what you’re doing.
10 Steps to Better Engagement with your Readers
Engagement can be tricky at times and as easy as texting a good friend. It can take some effort yet once you get the swing of it, will be easy. Here are some tips.
Engagement on Social Media
- I typically advise authors to look at their analytics, which are available for free on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and with an application for most social media networks. Your analytics will give you the numbers you need to help you determine whether your readers are engaging with you. Are they replying to your tweets or retweeting them? Are they answering your questions? Are you answering their questions?
- Are your readers commenting on your blog posts? If not, ask them to respond to a survey. Then use those results to determine your upcoming editorial calendar.
- What’s happening with the images you add to pinboards on Pinterest? You should have a business account, verify your website and use keywords when naming your boards and describing them.
- Are you engaging with colleagues? Form a group comprised of authors in your same genre, and agree to promote their books and blog posts, and write for each other’s blogs.
- You can formalize a tweeting collective by joining Triberr. Help members of your collective by sharing their tweets with your followers. They will be sure to reciprocate.
- Check your notifications daily to see who liked one of your tweets, replied to a tweet you sent or shared it. Did anyone reply to you with a question that you can answer? Thank people who send retweets while you’re here.
- If you see a tweet with a link to a great post, tell the person who wrote the post or retweeted it. Do you see an image that takes your breath or is humorous? Tell the other user. Repeat this process on other social media networks too.
- If you use Google+, join a community. Ask questions, answer questions when you can, and never try to self-promote. The purpose of a community is to enrich the group, support each other, provide advice, and thank people who help you learn.
- Join a few LinkedIn groups and repeat the process outlined in No. 8.
- Look for or create images that will generate a response from your audience. On Facebook, entertaining or humorous images perform well on profiles.
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Engagement comes down to meeting your audience where they are, providing the type of content they crave and responding to their comments and queries as quickly as you can.
About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author, podcaster and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com. She’s written several books including Social Media Just for Writers, Avoid Social Media Time Suck, and Twitter Just for Writers, which is available for free here on her website. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writer conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Ask Frances to prepare a social media audit for you.