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This is part of a series of articles on the biggest mistakes brands make with online marketing. You can view the articles here: http://bit.ly/1ohkl48 Today we’re going to learn about Online Community Engagement, with your brand. 

Online Community Engagement

Let’s say you have a hot new product coming out that you post about twice a day, getting people pumped for the release of it… Well guess what happens the 5th day I see an update on ONLY your product? My eyes glaze over and I stop caring. I used to have this trouble with our music pages, let me explain:

We would post all the time trying to sell ourselves. At a show one time, we were disappointed with the turnout, and surprised that a few of our regulars didn’t show up. Talking to them a few days later, they responded with surprise that we had a show. When we told them it was all over MySpace, they simply replied, “Oh, you guys post so much band stuff we stopped reading those.”

We over-spammed ourselves to the fans and they stopped caring about what we did.

If you post too frequently, with an egocentric attitude, you’re going to loose out on building relationships and suffer from the repercussions of annoying your audience.

Online Community Engagement & Over Spamming Your Community

People are generally a lot more interested in themselves than they are in you. When you are giving people positive, personal feelings, it will translate into them having those feelings towards your company and YOU.

If you can use the social networking sites not only to interact with your customers, but also get them talking about themselves to you, you’ll be a huge step ahead of all the other pages out there.

On Twitter, people often post once an hour, with little quotes and other information for their followers. They then will post one or two sales messages that get lost in the shuffle.

Keep in mind that you have the great opportunity to build relationships and make friends with your business pages. If you have to post strictly sales posts, try to give a 4:1 ratio of content to sales.

So, for every one post you’re promoting your business, four other posts are used to establish relationships, ask questions, and get to know your customers. It’s not as hard and annoying as you may think, and again, should be done in doses, not all at once.

Use Dating Principles (And One Simple Way to Increase Online Engagement)

People often try to automate too much.

Back in the day of MySpace, I used our band profile to connect with different fans and friends to promote our music. I would send a standard message whenever someone wanted to connect with us, saying something along the lines of, “Thank you for connecting with our band, glad you enjoy our music, keep in touch!” This was better than sending nothing, but I was turned on to an even better way.

A friend of mine was using online dating at the time and said that he got the most success went he picked out something in their profile that caught his eye, and wrote to them based on that. I decided I would try it, and instead of sending the same boring message, I would respond with something unique to their profile.

This entices people to respond to you, and shows that you spent a little extra time to get to know them. So, for example, I would write something like “Hey Steve, thanks for checking out the band. I’m digging the Rolling Stones song you have playing on your profile. Take care man!”

Our response rate went through the roof, and people were a lot more interested in our music and shows. I transferred this same method to my business accounts and, again, I have gotten a lot more positive responses and follow rate by taking a couple seconds to personalize my response. Also, once you establish the fact that you are an open person, looking to connect with people, they are far more likely to comment and participate on your social networking pages.

I’ll have a couple of follow up articles to this one, as this concept is extremely important to understand (and execute).