When I first started out in social media, I was focused on getting large networks to establish my credibility. As I accomplished this, I began to realize that customer engagement was more important than network size. (But in my case, I found that they worked together. More on that later.) Customer engagement was a main focus of the most recent Facebook Success Summit sponsored by Social Media Examiner.
If you’re just starting out, you will be tempted to friend or connect with everyone and follow who ever happens to come along at the time. Take your time to get to know the background of the person who wants to connect with you so that you know whether they are in your target. You may want to pass on 80% of the people. Feel confident in doing so.
You will find out eventually that a list of 50 of your target customers who are interested in what you say and sell is far more important than a list of 500 random people who somehow found their way to your blog or social media sites.
If you have a goal of customer engagement of engaging with 3 target customers in a meaningful way each week, you’ll have 78 responsive target customers in 6 months. You will want to engage these people through commenting on their blog posts, retweeting, conducting surveys to refine your marketing message and being a fountain of useful information to them. These people will help drive the direction of your business and blog.
If the cow has already left the barn, there’s still a good way to engage with your target customer. For example, I have about 4500 connections on LinkedIn. When I ask a question in LinkedIn Answers, I can search by industry, so I can target Life Coaches and get 134 life coaches — just due to the size of my network. I ask this target questions on a regular basis to better understand how I can construct my message to best appeal to them.
No matter where you are in your social media development, you can focus on connecting with 3 new people each week to build your list in the most profitable way. For the most fruitful customer engagement, make sure to narrow your focus to your target customers and ask them questions, comment on their blog or sites, retweet and anything else that drives engagement. You will find that you can learn just what to blog about and even better, how to best position your products to sell.