Engagement Is About Reciprocation
May 13, 2014
Understanding what it takes to build and sustain an active social fan base is critical as the space expands and becomes an even more integral part of people's lives.
Yet in order to earn anticipation socially, it means you want to be less about empty contesting and self-promotion, and more about interplay – the "engagement" word people like to toss around. And while you hear everyone use the "e word," you seldom see brands follow through with it. Is it because it's simply become an empty buzzword that everyone uses to define their philosophies?
Engagement is about reciprocation. Your fans share your content and you share theirs in return. Amplifying their voice and making them feel seen and heard - a genuine exchange among brands and fans.
But not the frivolous, forgettable stuff we typically see play out like when brands always retweet the praise they receive from fans, which has become boring and self-indulgent.
So to give you an example of what real exchange looks like in a very compelling and visual way, all the while complementing a brand's culture and elevating its fans' values, consider a current social campaign that's being engineered by Michigan Radio/WUOM, a public radio station here in the Great Lakes State.
Responding to a recent Gallup poll that found 37% of people here in Michigan would rather live somewhere else - WUOM asked its audience this question:
And before we get to the results, it's inspiring to see WUOM chose Twitter and Instagram as the social platforms they would use for this moment. Here's why:
Public Radio's Techsurvey 5 reveals that 22% of Michigan Radio respondents use Twitter. (PRTS6 is in the field now and we assume the percentage will grow since we saw the use of Twitter increase by leaps in bounds in the commercial radio version of our study, Techsurvey10.)
That 22% is dramatically fewer people than the amount that say they use Facebook, but they know they need to serve fans everywhere – not just on the social platform that scales the best.
So the first tweet went out after the story aired:
As the answers came "tweeting" in – fans offered compelling, moving visuals of Michigan's beauty – and how social communication can complement the core values of an audience.
Here's just a sample of "why they stay" in Michigan:
And even Jacobs Media's Paul Jacobs – a Michigan native – joined in:
Radio has some of the greatest brands in media - but that doesn't mean we're entitled in the social space. We have to work at this, just like Michigan Radio is doing.
The era of entitlement is over.
It's a new era of "earn."
And if it means serving small fragmented fans on their preferred platforms in order to earn their attention, then that's what it takes.
Social is a valuable tool to remind the audience who they are, or in this case, remind them why they value where they are.
Thanks to Mikel Ellcessor for bringing this campaign to my attention.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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