5 Ways to Attract Attentive Friends, Fans and Followers

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

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Social Media in the Enterprise