I liked it. I follow them. I tweeted @ them. I commented on their video…
As I was investigating BREC‘s use of social media for our SCVNGR mini-campaign, I came to realize just how many ways there are to engage in social media. I also noticed just how different said ways to engage are. I want to use this post to compare and contrast how different social media outlets get users to engage and interact. If not only to provide some enlightenment, but to also get you thinking about what exactly you’re doing when you click ‘like’ vs. when you ‘comment’, etc. From a public relations standpoint, this is very useful! Public relations is all about a company/organization/person’s relationship with the public. Seeing as the public is deeply immersed in social media, a great effort in reaching them involves engaging them in these social media outlets.
Let’s start with pages on Facebook (not personal profiles). I like to categorize the way Facebook pages engage users in two ways. First, there is engagement by acknowledgment. This is just the user acknowledging the company exists and that the user has some connection to them. Likes and check-ins fall in this category. Second, there is engagement through immersion. Here, users truly engage with the organization. They are asked to answer questions, share stories and really put thought into how they interact. At this point, they have begun to really immerse themselves in the organization/company. Comments and posts fall under this category. For example, a company can ask that you “like this status,” or they can ask that you “comment and tell us your favorite product from the company.” Just liking the status does not do much for you, the user; there is not much thought involved. But when you comment, you must actually think and reflect on the company. BAM. They got you to think more about them AND give them feedback they can then use! Mission accomplished.
Parature, the “industry’s leading provider of cloud based customer engagement solutions”, wrote a really interesting white paper on “How to use Facebook to engage your customers.” I loved reading it, so I think you would, too!
Second, let’s look at Twitter. With Twitter, a company/organization can mention, reply, retweet and trend. Although you can mention people on Facebook, you must admit there is just something special about when a company mentions @you on Twitter! Companies don’t tend to use Facebook to mention people who ‘like’ their page. Thus, Twitter allows companies to interact with users rather than the users doing most of the work, as it goes with Facebook. Through retweeting, a company can also make a user feel important by copying verbatim what a user posts. Facebook has no such feature. In short, companies on Twitter engage users more personally through mentions and retweets. Twitter allows for more direct engagement.
Dr. Corinne Weisgerber of St. Edward University put together a great slide show on how Twitter is used as a PR tool by companies/organizations. It can be found here.
Think about these things the next time you go to interact with a company or organization on a site like Facebook or Twitter! They’re getting your attention and claiming your loyalty more so than you may think.
For more background on public engagement in general, check out this article from publicagenda.org. And don’t forget to join my network on LinkedIn, and follow my class’ progress with our mini campaigns through DiscoverBTR’s Twitter.