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Summary:

You are engaging in social media channels and building a following. But when you tweet or post a status update, you get crickets. Why isn’t anyone responding to you? And what are some effective ways to get more actively engaged friends, fans and followers (FFFs)?

You are engaging in social media channels and building a following. But when you tweet or post a status update, you get crickets. Why isn’t anyone responding to you? What might you be doing wrong? And what are some effective ways to get more actively engaged friends, fans and followers (FFFs) in your social media channels?

The first thing to do before trying to attract more people to your channels is to assess how well you are communicating with your existing social media tools. Here are some things to examine:

  • Are you relying on automation to push content out to your FFFs? Too much automation kills the “social” in “social media.”
  • Are you broadcasting (just posting headlines and links)? A lack of commentary means your social media participation is nothing more than a news feed.
  • Are you too “me” focused? Social media isn’t all about you — it should be mostly about your FFFs and what you can do for them.
  • Are you getting to know your FFFs? Check out who is following you and find out more about them so you have common ground for conversations and commentary.
  • Are you starting compelling conversations? If you haven’t given your FFFs compelling reasons to enter into a dialogue with you or with others in your channels, then you might as well put a “#fail” on your forehead and call it a day.
  • Are you clear with your requests? Sometimes, just stating the obvious is all it takes to get people motivated such as “tell us what you think” or “give us your opinion.”

How well did you do above? If you answered “Yes” to the first three questions and “No” to the last three, you’re in terrible shape; your best bet is to rethink your approach to social media until you can reverse all or most of your answers.

If communicating well in social channels is the cake, getting active, attentive and responsive FFFs is the icing that sweetens your efforts. Here are five ways to attract the attention of FFFs who will not only pay attention to what you say but will react, respond, take action and spread the word:

  1. Engage your followers individually. Seek out appropriate times and ways you can call out your current followers — say something relevant to them based on what they’ve posted or give them kudos for something you’ve seen them do. When you do this on Twitter, you may be rewarded with a retweet to that person’s followers. When you do this on Facebook, you may encourage a “share” of some kind. People want to be personally noticed, to matter to the companies and organizations they follow. Take time to show you care about the FFFs you have in order to gain their “seal of approval” through retweets and shares.
  2. Strategically follow key people your FFFs also follow. Yes, there is a bad form of social networking tactic called “trolling” where you go through the list of who your FFFs  follow or are connected with in some way and do a blanket “follow” in the hope of casting a kind of wide net to grab additional interested parties. This is an exercise in futility. But a thoughtful review of your FFFs’ connections could bring up some truly relevant leads to new people to follow.
  3. Monitor and repeat kudos from others. If you are paying attention to what others are saying about your company, repeat the positive testimonials by retweeting or posting to your status update or celebrate on your website or blog. This is a nice way to say “thank you” as well as create additional incentive for interactions with your supportive FFFs.
  4. Monitor and respond to criticism from others. Again, by paying attention to what others are saying about you, you have a golden opportunity for interaction. But how will you respond? Always take the high road, thank them for their honesty and ask if they are willing to engage in further dialogue so you can better understand the problem and work together to find a solution. Even if you can’t get past their anger, your even-tempered and generous attitude will speak volumes to anyone witness to the exchange. This is potentially a big win for you.
  5. Ask your FFFs for referrals. If you don’t ask, you may never receive. Sometimes all you have to do to get more FFFs like your really interactive ones is to thank them for their participation and ask them to please refer their friends or colleagues.

When you look for ways to use social media communications to better serve your FFFs, you lay the foundation for more interactions and more referrals. If you’re just pushing out information with no regard for the “social” aspects of “social media,” you’re going to find that you may not get the return on your investment of time and money. At that point, crickets will be the least of your problems.

How are you attracting and interacting with your friends, fans and followers who genuinely care?

Photo by Flickr user Kraetzsche Photo, licensed under CC 2.0

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By Aliza Sherman

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  1. You are so right! I use my Facebook page to interact all the time! I just posted a photo and asked for comments about it. I got five within a half-hour. I put up a birthday announcement for my husband and got 22 greetings that day. I also passed along a job opening from a local nonprofit and got a whole bunch of inquiries.
    And last year I asked for used baby clothes for a friend abroad. I got three boxes in the mail – from outside my state. I was able to consolidate them and help a family in need. Very rewarding. Difficult without FB.

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  2. I agree wholeheartedly. I hate that social media has become so automated. That being said, I’m guilty of doing just that. I’m the social media director for Practical Ecommerce and its sister publication, Ecommerce Developer. So much content is produced daily by those two properties that there is no way I can keep up by posting individually. So, in essence, yes, ours is a syndicated news feed.

    While I could not syndicate all the content, but pick and choose stories, the major marketing goal behind our social media engagement efforts is to drive traffic to the websites. So, my thinking is, more content equals more traffic.

    Having said that, I do a good deal of interaction with FFF’s to supplement. Most of my activity is routed through Twitter with @replies, RTs, etc, but I also interact every day via LinkedIn. Our FB presence has yet to really take off, but we are building a fan base slowly.

    Okay, so that comment comes off as somewhat confessional. Yet, I think it addresses a reality that many of us in the media world face. I’d love to hear how others in similar situations address the issue.

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  3. This is great timing. I’m just beginning to develop my FFF’s. While learning the ropes, I have definitely been “clipped” by a few of them. Since being a trusted resource is my primary goal, your comments are being taken to heart. Thank you.

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    1. Good luck, and don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have any questions along the way.

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  4. FFFs are really important Aliza and these are some awesome tips to engage them and keep them attentive. I especially like the one about engaging them individually; making your customers feel special will automatically get them to think highly of your business and give good referals.

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  5. [...] – and illustrates the winning blend of leveraging social media for women, as also espoused by Aliza Sherman: the ‘over-the-back-fence’ ease of how they engage others; pertinent information served [...]

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