How Value Fuels Social Media Engagement

Nearly ever business professional now acknowledges the value of social media for facilitating online conversations that connect a tribe that is passionate about an idea, purpose, or brand.

In other words, most business leaders understand the value of social media. They even understand that bringing value to it is necessary to make it work. Nevertheless, there seems to be a major disconnect in regards to its practical implementation.

This week I returned from the annual convention of the National Speakers Association. There was a lot of talk about value – why speakers will stand out and succeed if they give their audiences more value.

Surprisingly, there was hardly a mention of content, how and why it fuels your social media channels. And this is an association of members who are in the content business!

So, why the disconnect. Why when discussing this very point on the hotel elevator did two speakers get off on my floor so that we could continue the conversation for another 15 minutes?

The value of Content marketing is common knowledge in my world, and your expertise is common in yours. In many ways it is who you are.

Your methods, perspectives, and personal stories are the content that engages your tribe.

It gets them talking.

Lead with Value – Then Get Out of the Way

Bestselling author Jeff Jarvis gave a creative demonstration of the interplay between content sharing and social media engagement with his main stage presentation at this event. The program description was “disrupting the traditional speaker and audience relationship” – but the true value was bringing the magic of social media to a live stage. 

For about 30 minutes he presented his ideas from the stage, then he walked into the audience with a handheld mic and asked questions – patiently waiting for the answers, and usually following up with another question designed to confirm their response.

This was a practical illustration of how social media works:

  1. Provide value
  2. Ask the audience, tribe, or community for feedback
  3. Facilitate the conversation to effectively honor the community

The key to this process is this:

Use the platform to share a message of value that gets the community thinking, and then let them respond as they will.

See and Believe – This is How Social Media Works

One of the audience members noted that because audience participation is the most valued portion of his presentations, he decided to try one that was purely Q & A. It flopped. Why? He skipped an important step.

To start and sustain a conversation there has to be something of substance that gets everybody talking. 

The structure and style of presentations is changing. There is a profound shift from simply presenting to encouraging audience engagement – and we have social media to thank for this.

This is true for both physical and virtual audiences. So, the techniques that worked for Mr Jarvis will serve you equally well on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Every day we see the top influencers ask probing questions of their tribe, and in turn they get plenty of engagement. Yet, for some reason we think they have a special magic that makes them especially popular.

Valuable content is the magic!  It is the secret to social media success that doesn’t want to be a secret at all.  

I suppose it depends not only on seeing how content engages people, but also your willingness to believe it yourself.

The only way to do that is to get out there and practice it.

 Seeing is believing, but action leads to proven results. 

Are you ready? Leave a comment below – and please share this article with your community. 

Until next time,  Jeff

Photo Credit: Flickr