Social Media and Engagement
I am truly honored to feature a wonderful social media friend of mine on the blog today: Natasha Giannopoulou. Natasha and I met on Twitter thanks to a fantastic initiative by Twitter marketing expert Madalyn Sklar back in July 2017. Madalyn created #VideoReplyDay, a fast-growing community of social media professionals (and not, like me!) on Twitter. Each member of this group lives in different parts of the world, from the US to Europe, and even farther – South Korea and Australia.
Natasha proudly represents Greece in the #VideoReplyDay group. Below is the blog post she wrote (exclusively for you, my readers!) about the importance of engagement in social media with #VideoReplyDay as the perfect example.
I have been working in Online Marketing since the early 2000’s. At the time, I was the Online Marketing Manager of a software development company.
When Social Media was born, I quickly added it to our Marketing mix as I could see the benefits it could bring to the business. The benefits it offered for Branding, Promotion and Community building were undeniable.
What really blew me away was the reach and the interaction. These were people who joined these platforms for a reason, to engage. Remember, Facebook and Twitter were not what they are today. The options were limited, which meant that you really had to put on your creativity hat and find ways to reach the different target audiences. Find ways to effectively “reach and preach’, as I like to call it. This was a ‘challenge’ that I really loved.
Fast forward several years to summer of 2017. I decided to get on the Twitter saddle, not for a business, but in order to start laying the foundation towards my new venture as well as for social networking with people in my industry and those with similar interests.
The question I asked myself when I was first starting to flirt with social media, was as relevant and applicable now as it was then: What is the best way to go about and “reach and preach” in Social Media, today? And guess what, the answer I came with was the same one I gave then: Through consistent, committed and valuable engagement.
Since 2004 social media platforms have vastly changed, evolved, opened up different marketing options, developed new features and have become a way of life and part of doing business. However, one thing remains constant: The undeniable importance of engagement.
Engagement is not just one of ‘top 5 things to do in Social Media’ – it is the most crucial one. Without active engagement you can forget about the effectiveness of the rest.
Let me explain…
Whether you are using Social Media for work or as a personal social networking tool, the thing that will make it work is interacting with your audience. Your audience is like-minded people who are interested in your brand, products, content or simply in what you have to say. You have to work on that connection with them by establishing a genuine relationship and building up trust. This is achieved through active and genuine engagement.
Yes but, how? Glad you asked!
Let’s take Twitter for example. It offers a great many opportunities to see this in action through Hashtags, Chats, Community threads, Trends, etc. You find the one that fits best to your interests, see what people are talking about and saying, introduce yourself and basically join the conversation.
Sound familiar, huh? Real-life mingling scenario, maybe? Yes, like in real life. You ‘mingle and talk’. Works from both a business and a social standpoint!
I have written about the importance of engagement for businesses. For this post, I want to focus on the importance of engagement from a social standpoint. This aspect was something I personally saw amplified and take its own form with just 1 tweet. Yes you read correctly, 1 tweet.
Hear me out… 🙂
I was taking part in a Twitter chat about all things Twitter (like I always do, since it relates to my field) as Twitter chats are one of the best sources of information and networking! The specific Twitter chat is called #TwitterSmarter (the most appropriate name-hashtag for this community!) The creator and host of the #TwitterSmarter chat is Madalyn Sklar (@madalynsklar), an undeniable Twitter Marketing expert.
Every week Madalyn has a guest (a well-known industry leader, expert, influencer, etc.) who basically delivers tons of insights and shares expertise on a specific topic, in one of the best hours of Twitter learning, One day, Madalyn sent out a tweet that basically announced her new idea around a new hashtag called #VideoReplyDay. The idea behind this hashtag and Madalyn’s vision, was to emphasize the importance of the use of video and how it impacts social media engagement. She asked from people following the hashtag to reply to their tweets with a video. To make it easy, she requested it be done every Tuesday.
Simple, right? Wait for it…
This tweet caught my eye AND my interest. As an introvert I basically am terrified of and uncomfortable making videos and putting myself out there (especially ONLINE, yikes!) But it just so happened that this tweet came at a time in my life when I had just bravely decided that I needed to take on new challenges and to be more open and willing. To face fears. So, I decided to grab my mobile, open the camera app and hit record!
I will not get into the specifics of how many countless takes I went through until the one that actually got uploaded. So off I went… I created the tweet, added the video and clicked on ‘Send’.
Eek! My 1st video, online!
Then came the magic.
The people I was replying to were acknowledging, interacting and actually impressed by the video reply! I kept ‘practicing’ by replying with video to the people following the thread. Common goal, right? Soon enough, this thread was made up of people from all over the world recognizing and adopting the ‘video’ way. This was amazing! The use of video was definitely proving to be effective and impactful!
But, then something really unexpected happened…
The thread became a community. The community, well, became a “family” 🙂
From an every Tuesday project, it became an everyday open conversation! People actively engaging with each other! Sharing snippets of their day, their life stories, their journeys, their talents, their work, and their real life families. Celebrating each other’s wins, encouraging and lifting each other up when support is needed. Relationships were created.
It really brought people together (even in the literal sense of the word as some have even already met in person and soon many others will be meeting up in #SMMW18 – one of the largest Social Media conferences that will take place in San Diego!)
This was inspiring!
Would I have experienced this if I had let my fear of putting myself out there get the best of me? 100% NO!
Am I grateful I did? A huge, definite YES!
Not only have I seen first-hand the impact and importance that video and interactive content have on engagement for business, I have also learnt about the humanization of communication through video and the relationships that can come out of and grow from it.
In conclusion, when people and businesses decide to engage – let me rephrase that – to genuinely engage, only great things can happen!
Good vibes only,
Natasha Giannopoulou is an Online Marketing and Social Media professional based in Greece.
Focused on E.U., U.S. and LATAM markets, Natasha strives to help people and businesses to better maximize their brand’s online presence (in all platforms) through a human-centric, customer oriented approach.