Brand Engagement

Unleashing Participation – Getting Others to Play Along

pollstreamlogosmallThe following is a guest post from Steven Green – President of PollStream, a Toronto-based company that develops and delivers engagement and community-building solutions to help leaders tap into Social Capital.  Steven will be speaking at PollStream’s Real Engagement Webinar on April 28.

There is an art to getting people involved. Building participation into your online communications is less like Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams (“if you build it, they will come,”) and more like throwing a wonderful dinner party. Ultimately it’s a lot less work and a whole lot more fun than constructing a baseball diamond!

It doesn’t take a tremendous effort to encourage participation but it does a certain knack. Like the host of an engaging party you need know your audience, bring people into the conversation, stir things up. A successful host or hostess knows how to pair interesting people together and then get out of the way.

Here are some ways to get people talking:

  • Start by listening.
    Follow interesting people on Twitter. Learn what people are saying about your organization, product or service. Once you know what people think, you can address the things that matter most.
  • Participate yourself.
    At first it can be an uphill battle drawing people to your site. Why not join people where conversation is already taking place? A Facebook fan page, for instance, is a great way to leverage an existing conversation space and share the added value you have on your main site.
  • Ask questions.
    “What improvements have you noticed in the new product model?” A question is more likely to get a response than a statement such as “New product model has 23 new improvements.” Whether you are posting to your blog or participating in a Twitter conversation, questions can be an easy way to get people talking.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude.
    Thank people for participating. Attribute your sources. Post links to the good ideas of others. People like to be recognized and they will reward you by participating more in the future.
  • Give people a stake in your success.
    Letting people link back to their own online presence is a great way to add high-value content to your site. Some of your most thoughtful collaborators are interested in building traffic to their own sites. These people know how to create value and they can be some of your strongest allies.

So, in summary, I ask you, “What do you do to encourage participation within your company?


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