Blogworld …land of the infamous and the not so famous…but where everybody wants to know someone or be known by someone. At this point in my blogging career it has been about getting to know people. I have learned a great lesson from my Blogworld experience that I thought I already knew, but now realize I haven’t done a very good job at. It’s that one simple word: ENGAGEMENT.
Throughout the several conference sessions I have been to today I have heard repeatedly that engagement is one of the most important tools in social media. When I say social media, I am including social networking, bookmarking and blogs. Yes, blogs…because your content creates conversations and allows comments. Some blogs can have hundreds of comments on just one post. I’d say that’s pretty social. I’d also say that is a lot of reader engagement.
Why is engagement so very important? Here are 5 obvious benefits:
1. Personal interaction attracts long term relationships
People want to know that you care. When a comment is left on your blog, it’s important to respond as soon as possible, and try to reply with another open ended question. For instance, if the comment was about how your post helped a reader with a certain area they were having trouble understanding, try to engage them in a little more conversation to find out why. Sales people call it probing. “Why” is your favorite word when probing.
2. Your audience will become your community.
I’m borrowing that phrase from Chris Pirillo who did an excellent job at Blogworld today. An audience is about entertaining or educating people. Entertainers have audiences everyday, but rarely do you see them engaging with their audience. The one person I can say actually has a community is Vin Diesel. He has a huge Facebook following and he personally interacts with his fans. No longer are they just a face in the crowd, but a part of his community because they now feel connected to him. (Women love him because he’s a super hottie, men love him because he is super tough looking…well, ok I admit that just makes him hotter, but the guys don’t have to know that!)
3. You are able to take your online community offline.
Here is the kick in the pants for me personally. I have spent so much time trying to come up with content, designing my blog, learning new social media tactics that I have neglected the time I should be spending watching, listening & engaging. Now I am paying for it at a live convention because there are only a handful of people I know well enough to feel comfortable to hang out with. Don’t let this be you at your first convention (or ever)!
4. You will form relationships with probloggers.
One of the best ways to engage with the big guys is to comment on their blogs or reply to their newsletters you have subscribed to. I know Chris Brogan is awesome about responding to his fans and even recommends a few of his top picks in his newsletters. Imagine what the “Brogan Effect” can do for your traffic! I think he shut down Radian 6 on their soft launch with influx of traffic!
5. It’s easier to befriend someone online if you tend to be shy.
Me? Shy? You would never guess, huh? Well, I am one of those people that can be a little timid in new surroundings, but once I am fairly comfortable tend to be outspoken and fun loving. I think that may be common for many of us, so I’m telling you now that it’s much easier to spark a conversation online where you have time to think of something witty or profound to say for your first impression. The worst you can do is misspell a word. Well, I suppose you could actually type something really stupid, but at least you have time to think of something REALLY stupid.
These are many more benefits to engagement, but I’m leaving this wide open for YOU! Leave your suggestions and benefits in the comments so we can practice our engagement. Not only will I see it and reply, but you never know who else may stop by and see your comment here and learn about you here.
To Your Success,
P.S. ~>Tweeting this post is NOT the same. While I love the tweets, it’s not really engaging with me…it’s just hitting a button. I will know nothing more about you or your personality, opinions or humor from a retweet.
P.S.S ~> Have you ever been to a White Elephant gift exchange party? I love them because you get to give clues to your gift, tease friends, steal gifts, and play dirty! My most wonderful sponsor for Blogworld, Bruce Christensen, has come up with an ONLINE white elephant game called AlbinoPhant through a new Facebook application. It’s due to be released November 1st, just in time for fun Xmas gift exchanges w/long distance relatives. Be sure to check out AlbinoPhant.com and play along when it launches in a few weeks! Thanks, Bruce!!