For a medium that is supposed to be intrinsically social, much time can be spent on social media without having meaningful conversations.
This is particularly so for businesses and brands, where many use social media platforms not necessarily to be social, but to broadcast their message.
While you certainly can publish great content, sit back and wait for your audience to spark a conversation with you, there are several methods that can be employed to more proactively initiate a conversation on social media.
1 - Leave a comment
As a business or brand, there is no reason why you can't get involved in relevant social media communities outside of your own. Try to figure out where else your audience is spending time on the social web and get involved in those communities by leaving valuable comments and contributions.
2 - Answer a question
The openness of platforms, such as Twitter, enables you to conduct searches based on keywords, hashtags, geography, and more. Spend some time helping people by answering their questions that are relevant to your business or category.
3 - Participate in a chat
Similar to the above, find an organized chat that is relevant to your business or brand, and get involved.
4 - Pose a question
I know this is pretty 101, but make it easy for people to comment on your content by posing questions that require varying levels of thoughtfulness. This will not only encourage trepidatious commenters to socially engage with your content, but will also give more thoughtful and dedicated comments something to sink their teeth into.
5 - Create conversation-worthy content
Conversations naturally occur around certain topics depending on various trends, recent events, pop-culture, and more. If relevant to your business or brand, consider creating content that is related to topics that have a great deal of naturally occurring conversation happening about them already.
6 - Be persistent, learn and optimize
I recognize it may sound odd to think about persistence, learning and optimization as being key to initiating conversation, but the reality is that your audience has many options about where and with whom, they have conversations online. So, if your tactics to spur sociability aren't immediately successful, try different techniques, be persistent, and continue to optimize your efforts.
How do you initiate conversations on social media?
Is sociability a core pillar of your social media strategy?
How have you been successful at initiating conversations online?
It would be awesome to chat with you more about this either in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial