In order to truly drive conversation, engage with influencers to amplify your message, and cultivate a dialogue within your online community there are a couple core elements that have to be in place:
- You have to be able to set expectations for the conversation – If the tone and parameters of dialogue are not clearly defined in a community, whether that be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc. it immediately squashes the conversation. This isn’t any different than how interaction is influenced in real life either. Have you ever noticed how conversation dies a quick and awkward death the moment you step into an elevator? Have you noticed that the safe environment that facilitates lively debate in your marketing meeting sharply contrasts with the uncomfortable silence that fills the room during your all-hands meetings? It’s because those norms were set early on, and thus the parameters for engagement were locked-in.
- You have to add value to everyone involved – Social interaction only lasts as long as value is being exchanged. You’re presence in a person online experience competes with an infinite number of alternatives. If you don’t bring something to the table it’s like showing up to a potluck with nothing but an empty stomach and a fork… Pretty soon, you won’t be invited any more. Anyone that made the mistake of inviting you in the first place is not likely to recommend that their friends invite you to their party either. The value that you offer will change based on the community and expectations of the people who are spending time paying attention to what you have to say. In one network it might be the business value you offer, in another it might be the cool factor you can add to a person’s newsfeed.
The best way to accomplish these two objectives is to start with rich, targeted content that makes a positive impact on the conversation and can be re-purposed to meet the varied demands of your social networks. The structure and makeup of your content is just as important as how you use it to engage, but that’s for another post. Today, I just want to share a quick framework on how to identify what topics your content should address, and how that should lead to engagement.
3 benefits to executing a strategy that starts with content:
- It gives you a valuable asset to engage influencers and help position your brand at the nexus of conversation around a trend/topic. By being the enabler of a handful of well selected thought-leaders you organically align the conversation to your purpose
- It enables you to integrate with PR, Biz Dev, SEO and other marketing stakeholders to help amplify and synchronize your message for maximal impact
- It gives your brand a point of view to drive engagement in targeted forums and social networks (this drives share of voice, as well as increases advocacy for your brand and influences the right people)
I’ll be diving more deeply into exactly how to do this in future posts. If you have anything to add or share let me know! I’d love to learn what others are doing to satisfy their KPIs.