Social media is a great way to interact with others, exchange information and get your ideas and products out to a larger and broader audience. However, social media demands that those on it are social—engagement is key to a successful social media presence. It can be difficult to know how to engage and when to engage. In my work, I use Twitter more frequently than any other social media platform. Here are some ways that we successfully engage with our audience and our partners:
Join the #hashtag: Each conference that we attend or awareness day that we take a part in now includes a hashtag. Use it! Hashtags are a great way to align your work and your tweets with a larger movement. They also allow your content to show up in front of others who may not have seen it before. If someone is following a hashtag, your Tweets will show up under the hashtag search. That increases the chances of others finding you online and passing along your content or engaging with you in other ways.
Tweet at people: This is especially true when attending conferences. If I see a session that I particularly enjoy or meet someone who is also on Twitter, a quick note to say thanks is a great way to stay connected. Not only does this help me connect with people in real life, but it also connects us online so that we continue to see what the other person is working on long after a conference session ends.
Promote others’ work: One of the best ways of engaging is to promote what your partners are doing. Whether they are partners by contract, or partners in an effort such as HIV prevention, there is great work happening across the country and across the globe in each of our fields. If you’re one who stays on top of what’s going on with other people and organizations, use that to engage. Share how awesome someone else’s work is, or what they launched recently; congratulate a colleague on an award or accomplishment; thank a partner. All of these are ways to show that you’re not only aware of what’s going on in your field but also grateful for the work others do to contribute to the larger effort.
If the above-mentioned tweets are peppered in with tweets about what you or your organization is working on, it’ll create a space online where your account is not simply self-promoting but instead, contributing to teamwork and partnership. And the more you engage with others, the likely it becomes that they too will share your materials.