It’s a question that everybody in social media seems to ignore, maybe because they know the answer so well themselves they assume everyone else does too, or maybe because they are so busy engaging because they have been told they should that they’ve never stopped to ask why themselves!
Although it’s something I talk about when I speak at events I had ignored the question here too, it took someone searching for that exact term on Google and landing on one of my posts about how to engage your audience for me to realise I had never covered the why about it!
So why you should bother to engage your audience?
Humans are social
It’s true; the need to be part of a group is hard-wired into us. Although we no longer depend on our tribe for our immediate physical survival we still need to feel that we belong. If we are talking too and engaging with our audience they will feel like they belong.
We look to others for guidance
We all have times in our lives when we need a bit of guidance or advice from others, in this day and age we feel judged not just on how we act but on what we own. So we are constantly looking to see what other peoples opinions are on the things we have and how we behave, to know how they will judge us.
We act like people we like!
On the whole we choose our friends because they like the same things as we do – therefore if I see one of my friends has ‘liked’ a facebook page, or bought a particular book from amazon, the chances are that I will at least take a closer look to see if it may be something I’d like too.
Social media allows us to see what are peers are doing instantly.
We no longer have to wait till the weekend, or big family get-togethers to see what those we admire value, now we can see their insights, comments and recommendations instantly.
However people will rarely admire those they don’t know - ”Ah but what about famous people?” I hear you ask, ”people admire them but don’t know them!”
This does have an element of truth in it. Very few of us actually know Madonna, Johnny Depp, or The Queen of England for that matter!
But what famous people from all walks of life become adept at is letting us feel like we know them. They may do this through the lyrics of the songs they sing if they are a musician or by the types of roles they choose if they are an actor.
And of course they also do it through interviews, autobiographies or spending some time with people that have come to see them, whether signing autographs or just chatting.
Without their fans all celebrities are nothing, regardless of what the critics or the media say, without people buying the music or paying for the ticket to the film etc they are out of a job.
And it’s not just the potential financial implications of that to worry about, for most of us, famous or not, a whole load of our self-esteem is tied up in our work.
You might not be famous but people want to hear from you too. Potential clients and customers want to know enough about you and the ethos of your company to know they are buying into something they can be proud of - something that may get their friends and families respect and approval, that leads to them being the trendsetter!
For those of us who are not famous (and actually quite a lot that are!) social media offers us ways of joining in or starting conversations with potential customers, small talk might be hard for you but it’s necessary.
There is another reason why you need to engage your audience on Facebook, it’s called Edgerank and is the algorithm that facebook uses to decide how visible your posts should be. There are a few different aspects to Edgerank but one of the things Facebook takes into consideration is how much reaction you get to your posts, if you never get a like, comment or share then eventually your posts simply won’t be seen at all!
So as you can see, engaging your audience is the most important thing you can do! Post information, talk to others, and make friends with them. To get any benefit from social media, whether you want more sales, better brand awareness, better understanding of your customers needs, or anything else at all, you need to build the relationships first!