Engaging potential customers, followers and advocates through social media channels is among the most critical of tasks for every business and charitable organization that maintain an online presence. Those social media profiles may at first just appear in retweets or FaceBook shares from connections, but can very quickly grab the attention of those with an interest in your topic. That fleeting appearance that pops up in a feed because someone liked your images in your message, quote, news item, or event – could make the viewers of that post one of your most important advocates and influencers.

Engagement is not just a single interaction with one of your customers, but a open line of communication over a period of time. While the term “customer relationship” may come to mind, engagement is still slightly different and on it’s own level. When we think about social media engagement, it’s about how you use networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to create a great customer experience. You want to be there there for your patrons through the thick and thin of it. As soon as customers decide to engage with your business over social media, they put their trust into your company that you can solve their problem. SproutSocialSocial Media Engagement

Sharing your business or organizational personality and overall philosophy via social media is the introduction of your company to the world. Social profiles allow you to establish a voice to clearly communicate what you care about to virtually anyone on the planet. They will find you if you speak effectively to their interests in your blog posts, your tweets, your facebook posts and your Instagram photos – if you effectively use hashtags and especially when you are able to brand your posts with rich and beautiful imagery.

Always remember that social engagement happens in a manner that is very similar to dating. You must first learn some basic things about your potential love interest, then share ever more details until you become quite familiar with attitudes, likes, dislikes and preferences. People tend to progress from shoppers to buyers over multiple “dates” in much the same way as happens for couples. It is rarely “love at first sight” – instead it progresses over time to a more serious relationship only because you now trust them and they trust you to do what you say you’ll do and treat them respectfully and caringly.