Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 9.17.24 AMThere are tons of articles on content marketing and social media marketing online, more than ever, today. I got caught up in the frenzy of collecting the most relevant ones to help guide implementation and to use as a reference later on. I’ve seen others do this by attending the latest seminar/webinar, buying the latest shiny book and more. I sit back, observe this and feel like shouting to all the collectors (including me) to stop collecting and start doing something with what you have already collected. You have enough articles. You have attended enough seminars. You have bought enough CD’s and tapes (remember those).

I have been asked many time, “What should I post on social media communities I am a part of?”, “What should I share?”, “What should I retweet?” and other outbound types of questions. My first reaction is to suggest listening before posting. Find out where and what the relevant conversations are.

Beyond listening then, becomes engagement and THAT is the point of this article By now, most (still not enough) social media users are learning that social media marketing is not a, “build it and they will come,” strategy.

Engaging means responding. There are plenty of questions asked on social platforms everyday. Just look.  Imagine a response to one of these leading to a conversation that leads to a relationship. That common thread carries through all of marketing, not just social media.

In addition to responding, there is “reaching out.” See a post you like? Find interesting statements? See something online that you want to learn more about? Reach out and ask a follow up question or make a follow up comment. In this case reaching out can lead to a conversation that leads to a relationship. Hashtag – common theme.

You can start and continue all the relationships you have time for, just by responding, commenting and reaching out before you worry about what your next 10 posting should be about. Quit pushing out information. Quit collecting the latest and greatest articles and do something; interact. Interaction is a two-way activity and can lead to two-way relationships.

If you’re challenged with proactive interaction, start simple. Thank people. Ask questions. Ask questions of questions. Comment positively on something you like (don’t just hit the like button).  If someone “likes” something you posted, reach back. Read the bios of everyone who likes or comments on your posts. That’s engagement.

You don’t walk into a cocktail party and say, “Here I am. Come engage with me.” You have to engage in the right way with questions or comments or even introductions.  The same thing applies to online communications in social media communities. Engage, engage, engage.

So what do you have to say about that? (Here’s your chance to engage).