by Jennifer Lumba | July 10, 2014
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“Engagement” has become a popular buzzword in business circles, and for good reason. Data shows that happy, engaged employees tend to do better work and produce more value. Everyone wins.
 
But what does engagement really mean? Developing authentic relationships whereby workers see themselves as something more than a cog in a profit-producing wheel. Accomplishing that requires genuine connection between you and your workers. Here are 10 tips for achieving it through social media:
 
1. Get personal. Relationships don’t just happen. They require time and effort. Find out where your workers are online and then seek to connect. And if your overtures are rejected? Move on. Some workers prefer to reserve social media for catching up with family and friends.
 
2. Engage! You’ve opened the lines of communication. Good. Now, it’s time to use them. Find ways to become part of a conversation between your fellow workers. Don’t be invasive. Rather, answer a question or offer a thought.
 
3. Connect. Take these digital conversations to the next level by connecting to those with whom you share common interests. Whether it’s a similar job or hobby or personal situation doesn’t matter. The point is to start developing relationships.
 
4. Start something. Don’t settle for loitering. Be willing to start your own conversations. Invite colleagues you’re close to and get them to invite others. In doing so, you’ll build a reputation for connecting people.
 
5. Solicit feedback. With your network growing and gaining momentum, now’s the time to ask for feedback. Is your company engaging as well as it should? What topics would your audience like to see you cover? Find out, and then respond accordingly.
 
6. Be uncommonly honest. You don’t always have to engage publicly. Use private networks to engage on topics that may involve data that isn’t for public consumption, and then share as much as you can. You’ll find it easier to engage if workers consider your posts, tweets, etc., to be honest and well-intended.
 
7. Respect privacy. There’s a difference between engaging and spying. Don’t feel as if you have to be everywhere or connecting with everyone. Some workers may want to be left alone to lurk.
 
8. Provide good tools. Don’t expect workers to jump into using social media without tools and training. Set expectations. Provide good software and share analytical data, if you have it. Let your workers know what your company hopes to achieve through social media.
 
9. Score yourself. Are you talking into the void, or are you engaging in conversations? Set goals for engaging with workers and then measure your returns at least quarterly. Adjust as often as necessary.
 
10. Promote successes. Your efforts to engage with workers may help you to uncover great stories. Share them. Let the wider world know about the successes your employees are having. They’ll appreciate the recognition, and you’ll build your company’s brand.
 
Finally, remember that engagement isn’t just a buzzword but a discipline that requires diligent practice. In simple terms: If you want engagement, engage!