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For the most part it seems, everyone is on some form of social media.  If not, you are probably either living under a rock or actively refusing to get on social media.  For many, social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends from long ago and across the street.  It’s also a great source to stay up on current events as most breaking news breaks on social media today.  It’s a great avenue for sharing photos of loved ones and places you are visiting and it is also the place to tell the world what you are up to on any given day.

I believe most social media users are all pretty good at posting content.  Whether it is what they are having for lunch or linking to a blog post they wrote that morning.  There is definitely what I call “over sharing” on social media…I don’t really need to see your post surgery healing or your rants about your ex-husband.

What frustrates me most about social media users is that while they are good at posting, they are not always that good at engagement.  In order for social media to work properly, users and brands need to engage with their followers not just post content.  It’s like this, what if you stood on a street corner in Manhattan NY and yelled into a megaphone all day just spouting off your thoughts.  That is exactly what some people do on Twitter or Facebook.  Social media only works if you engage.

It is important to engage in conversation on social media.  If someone replies to your Facebook post or your tweet, it is only courteous to respond even if it is just to say thank you.  There are brands who get this concept very well.  This past  weekend, I was traveling with my son’s basketball team and I tweeted a photo of the boys eating at Firehouse Subs before the game, here’s what happened:


This was a Saturday and still someone on their social team was on twitter watching. That is great engagement and guess what, we ate there again on Sunday!

Just read this article this week about Hyatt hotels and their @HyattConcierge program.  They do a really nice job of not only posting content but being there for customers on social media 24/7.  Now, this isn’t easy I realize…Hyatt Hotels is a huge company and they have a huge team handling their social media but it is what I expect from a large company.  Small companies do not have the staff to man social media 24/7 but that doesn’t mean you can’t get back to someone as soon as possible.  It’s always good to like, retweet and favorite content from your customers.  If you are a small operation, I think your customers understand that it might be 24 hours before they hear from you but make sure they hear from you. If you are an airline…you better have staff get back to someone within the hour or this could happen.

It is important to remember social media is about being ‘social.’  If someone on the street were to say “good morning” to you, you will most likely say “good morning” back…it’s no different on social media.  If you want to grow followers it is all about give and take.  If someone follows you on twitter and you can determine this person is not a bot, then it’s perfectly acceptable to follow that person back. The ‘favorite’ button on twitter is a great way to say “great tweet” or “I like what you are saying.”  If you think your followers would be interested in the tweet, then a retweet would be appropriate.  The same is true for Facebook, like a post, like a comment or share the post with your friends.

It is that simple! So make sure you are not just posting content but engage with the social media universe as well.  You will not only grow your followers but you might meet someone new.  Plus it makes social media more fun.  So engage already!