The principles of engagement are the core drivers that you need to adhere to if you want to become a thought leader. You will need to adhere to each one of these principles if you are looking to build and develop your brand online. The principles are not difficult to adhere to, but you need to be conscious about implementing them. Most of the sharing on social media is done ad-hoc by individuals who have never through their goals or what they want to achieve through social media. By adhering to the below principles your social media strategy will be different. Let’s discuss each one of these principles in more detail:
The first rule of engagement is to be trustworthy. Eliciting trust is the process of giving something of yourself with which someone can get to know you better. You need to generate trust within the first 25 seconds of someone coming across your profile, your site, or reading your blog. The best way to do this is through pictures. Pictures allow for a much faster first impression than reading about something. If I see a picture of someone I know on your site recommending your work it will lead to a much higher level of trust. The same goes for your own profile picture. Ideally, this should be a picture that shows you in a trustworthy light.
There is a lot of fake news content that is shared on social media. To build a brand of trust you will need to carefully think through what you share. By not sharing fake news you will stand out amoung your peers and become the voice of trust. All of the principles of engagement are important, but this is the one principle that could affect your brand negatively when you do not adhere to it.
When we engage with our target audience we need to be relevant. This means discussing what is top of mind for them or talking about things that they were involved in. Actions that they can associate with. In this context think of content that they would like to see that is newsworthy or interesting.
Being relevant also means sharing content that is new and meaningful in the current context. Your audience wants to read something that is interesting and new. They want to be updated with fresh information. This will require some creativity on your part.
Being relatable is central to building relationships. The magic of social media happens in the engagement and like any other relationship, this only happens when you listen intently and comment clearly. A conversation needs to have both a sender and a receiver. For any conversation to do well you need to allow the other person the chance to talk. To become proficient on social media you also need to find a way to encourage your target audience to share their experiences or make them feel like their contributions are valued.
People relate best with other human beings. Being authentic means sharing your experiences of being human, but also voicing what you are about. No one trusts the awkward guy who never says a word, only listens and then walks away. Telling your story will allow you to get people to relate to you, but in order to do that, it helps to make your brand as human as possible. Think through the following question for a moment: If my brand were a human being, what characteristics would it have?
Always seek to be consistent in your engagement with your audience. If people come to your site or connect with you, they connect around a specific theme. If you are going to constantly change that theme you will become boring and irrelevant. Ideally, you need to choose a theme or niche and stick to it. There might be other themes that you wish to explore, but make sure that they are related to your main theme.
Being consistent also helps when communicating your brand personality. If you understand who the personality of your brand is it will really help promote a consistent experience to your customer and in return reinforce the other principles of engagement.
As with any other brand you need to be different in order to stick out. If you are going to blend into the crowd, then you will not get noticed. Try to find a way to differentiate yourself from what others are saying and doing. Have fun trying different things and seeing the reaction of your target market. Pressing that post button sometimes feels really intimidating, but only the courageous learn, adjust and grow. Being conscious about practicing this principle of engagement will help you address it and make you bolder in your approach.
The last of the principles of engagement is about leverage. Leverage is about using what is available to associate with your brand. Did you publish an article with a famous author? Did you write something for a magazine or did you recently have a meeting with a well know individual? All of these things help you to leverage your own brand as fast as possible. Leverage also takes place by taking one post and increasing your social media reach. For instance, you could do a speaking event, post the event. Then post your summary of the speech. Post questions that you received during the speech and then post a whitepaper that you wrote for the speech. All of these engagements happen around one event and can amplify your reach.