By Deborah Wroe

Engagement is a funny old word…engaged with your audience, engaging copy, engagement with fans. Is it just another word for that turns people off ? It shouldn’t be. No longer a binding, ‘promise to marry’ it can also mean to ‘attract the attention of.’ In marketing terms, that translates as making customers desire you, not tying them into a long term contract!

Nothing could be more about the engagement than social media. Social media is not about the push, it’s about the interaction. If you just push out sales messages, where is the engagement? Where is the opportunity for feedback? For interaction? For customer service? For that ‘we need to talk’ chat?

If you are already aware that it’s not about being pushy, do you ask questions on Facebook and Twitter? You do? Great. But do you reply? Tut, tut, if you don’t. And If you don’t, you’re missing out on some potentially hot dates, well maybe hot coffee, but you get the picture. If you have taken the time to ask a question of your fans, do them the honour of replying.

But social media is not just there for the nice times. As we have said in previous blogs, social media can spread a message and reach a huge audience really quickly. If something goes awry, act quickly and get your side of the story out there. Through sharing and retweeting, your fans can help you engage the detractors too. Ignoring the detractors usually just gives them fuel for the fire. And there is nothing like a woman or man scorned.

Facebook and Twitter audiences may be vastly different, though there will be some overlap. Give people a reason to engage with you on both and don’t push out the same messages in the same way. Test what works and what doesn’t, rinse and repeat. Treat ‘em right to keep ‘em keen.

Engagement is the fun stage of the relationship, the honeymoon period, the ‘I can’t take my eyes off you’ period. And the key is to keep that feeling with your customers, rather than slipping into the comfy slippers stage too quickly.

If engagement is important to you but you don’t know where to start, then get a company in to do it, but make sure they practice what they preach (kind of like a dating agency with a high success rate). Can they do it for you if they can’t do it themselves?