Socially Sam – Engage Your Audience – Our Write Side

October 1, 2015October 1, 2015

When it comes to maximizing the benefits of your social media presence, building and maintaining your platform are just the first steps. Ultimately, our goal is to use social networking to engage the audience. Sometimes it may feel like it’s all about the numbers of friends and followers, but people who are actively engaged can help enhance our work and will help to lay a loyal foundation of fans and admirers.

How, exactly, do you prompt activity online?

While it may seem daunting to get peoples’ attention as well as their participation, your following will probably be more up to the task than you realize. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

Get right to the point: Take a poll, or ask for direct and specific feedback. Simple and straightforward, you can start pulling people in by trying. Because there are so many facets to writing, whether fiction or nonfiction, your audience will naturally be curious about what you do. And, let’s face it: everyone loves sharing an opinion!

If you have something to offer as a prize, you can host a contest. The prize doesn’t have to be anything more than a free digital download of your latest book, or something themed to go along with a current work, or even something practical like promotional space on your website, but it should be relevant and desirable to your audience. Think of hosting contests as a creative way to reward your readership. You could ask everyone to share touching stories about their childhood pets, or just ask everyone to “share” something you post and select a random winner. Have fun with it!

For those of you who are a little more tech-savvy, you can generate a lot of interest with multi-media content. YouTube videos, webinars, podcasts, and the like are all great means of creating original content (which is great for your platform) and engaging people online. Host a weekly segment of tips, talk about your worldbuilding, or even simply read excerpts of your work. Your voice and face are tools to help your readers connect to you – don’t forget to use them.

If all else fails, there is no shame in emulating your peers. Check out what others are doing that works! And if you’re not sure what “works” and what doesn’t, throw yourself into the thick of it. Ask yourself, as a consumer, what appeals to you? Being an active participant as a reader can show you what other readers are looking for in their online interactions.

No matter how your friends and followers get involved, be sure to respond to all manner of activity. Criticism or praise, questions or concerns, your direct response is integral. It may sound cliche of me to ask you to set the example, but people are much more likely to engage with you if they feel as though their thoughts will be acknowledged.

Do you have some great engagement tricks to share with us? Please don’t hesitate to share this article and voice your opinion in the comments! There is always room to improve.

Put your best foot forward, and you’ll have your virtual audience interacting with you in no time!