Recently, I participated in a live Twitter chat event. It was hosted by Smarter Shift, a Canadanian-based community who discusses content marketing & management, social media strategy, conference content & sustainable, and low-carbon futures. Generally, Smarter Shift hosts a weekly Twitter chat on Mondays at 3 p.m. This week’s topic of discussion was “How to Create Content that Spurs Online Engagement” with the guest Dennis of DNNCorp. As a public relations professional in training, I’m still learning the ropes of how to engage public appropriately and this chat had great take-aways. This blog post will be rather long as I’ll be embedding all of my tweets and some of my favorites from my conversation, but if you continue on I assure you might learn something new.
As I first entered the conversation, I was immediately greeted with warm welcomes. Jenise Fryatt, the moderator and social media strategist for SmarterShift, asked participants to introduce themselves and “share a favorite topic that always gets you going”.
As I posted that makeup was something I enjoyed talking about, Jenise grabbed on and discussed it further. Being as the topic of the Tweet chat was how to create content and spark engagement, I understood she was applying concepts she learned about engagement into a personal conversation with me.
As more people entered the chat, the conversation about online engagement began. The chat was formatted as a Q&A (question and answer). Smarter Shift would ask the questions, participants would answer as well as Dennis. The first question asked was, “What constitutes online community engagement?”.
As the answers poured in, many resembled my response. Dennis answered,” Engagement criteria depends on the community. Here’s the constant: the likelihood that members will return tomorrow.” He continued on with examples of engagement such as active involvement posts, likes, replies etc. Smarter Shift answered the first question, “discussion, questions, answers, comments, sharing, analyzing, etc”.
The second question asked was, “Why is online community engagement important in content marketing?” A great answer to this was by an account named Hoover’s.
In PR, dialogue is essential. We drive engagement in public opinion and are moderators of what is being said. Dialogue opens conversation for companies to learn what their publics are feeling. Without this, their publics’ interests can be lost and companies won’t know how to appropriately communicate with them.
Smarter Shift answered with multiple responses. “Active engagement within a community holds the community together. When people participate, they enjoy it more.” “People want to participate. They want to be part of the conversation. This is why social media marketing works.” “Participation is VERY different from sitting back & watching a commercial. No one wants to do that.”
I responded to these statements with:
As the conversation continued on, the third question was, “What content topics are more likely to spur discussion?” My immediate responses were:
Again, various participants had similar responses. But, Hoover’s, I believe, said it best:
Question four asked, “What content formats elicit better engagement?”
[side note: for some reason these statuses tagged onto a previous answer for another question]
By this point, numerous participants were veering off topic, yet still had great insight on long form reads and snackable content. My insight to the conversation included:
[side note: I meant to say viewers not views, whoops.]
Once the conversation was no longer off topic, Smarter shift posed the question, “How can content be used to elicit content creation within the community?”
Smarter Shift answered their question the best:
The last question of the conversation, “Once you have elicited a discussion, how can you use content to keep it going?”
My answer was:
My favorite response to this question was by Anh Nguyen with:
Generally when a conversation is left to die, it gets shifted to the back of our minds, no matter what insight the content offered. I enjoy conversations that continue to build my knowledge and I believe others do, too.
As the conversation was nearing to an end, Smarter Shift asked participants to share any final thoughts, take aways, etc.
Overall, I believe this Twitter conversation had great points in how to engage publics, then keep the conversation going.
- Engage in topics that are of interest to your publics.
- Don’t just post content that you find interesting, find content that can spark active engagement for your publics. If they can participate, they will enjoy it more and feel their opinion matters.
- Content that is fun visually, but also interesting will promote engagement. Words on a screen won’t make people want to have a conversation. A combination of pictures, words, etc. will elicit engagement.
- Snackable content is easy and can drive a reader to want to learn more, sometimes long-form reads can drive readers away.
- To keep content going, ask follow up questions, ask participants to post links, pictures, etc. on how they feel about the conversation or what they would like to add.
This experience was wonderful and because of the information I learned throughout the conversation, I plan to participate in these chats more often. In the field of PR, information and engagement are always changing. It is up to the practitioners whether they want to stay relevant.