Real Engagement on Social Media


Using social media to connect with untapped audiences and create deeper conversations with existing fans is about more than posting the odd product image on Instagram, or asking for 140-characters worth of opinion via Twitter. Real engagement is authentic, interactive, and always keep the focus on your audience.

Check out some of these insights from the social media and online community managers of a few leading brands, including Coca-Cola, Nokia, Sharpie and Oreo.

Keep It Real

Today’s millennials are not just good at figuring out what’s authentic, they can also spot what is inauthentic from a mile away. Having grown up in the Internet age, they expect brands to talk to them with a real voice, and they’re not afraid to engage them in a public forum.

Valerie Buckingham, Nokia, via

Don’t Preach: Collaborate

Think of your community as collaborators – not an audience. The people most likely to engage with you are those who know what you’re going through and appreciate the kind of work you do. Go through it together, and in the process, you’ll begin building a really powerful creative community.

Cindy Au, Kickstarter, via

Target Community Leaders

Identify leaders within your community and support these people as much as possible. They are some of your most valuable assets. Reach out to them, chat on the phone, buy them coffee, take a walk together. Use these opportunities to listen to how they feel about your brand/business and find out what resources you could provide.

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Morgan Evans, Etsy, via

Build an Authentic Community

It’s very easy to build a Facebook community by just running sweepstakes and by giving away product and money. But at the end of the day you won’t end up with an engaged fan base, rather the community that doesn’t care about your brand as much as free stuff

Erich Marx, Nissan, via

Target Multiple Media

No single medium is as strong as the combination of media. We see this first-hand in our campaigns that integrate TV and social. We know our target consumers – teens and young adults – are consuming media on multiple screens in single sessions. This means the TV is on, a laptop is open and a smartphone is in hand. For marketers, this requires having a single, integrated conversation across those screens. When we do this well, we create significantly higher impact than any of those screens could do on their own.

Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola, via

Encourage Creativity

Sharpie’s overall social media strategy is to showcase the work of our fans to inspire others to get creative with our products. That strategy is active across all our social platforms – Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, etc… Winning ‘share of screen’ with teens means we have to continue to mix it up to keep them engaged — teens’ biggest enemies are boredom and unoriginality.

Whitney Kelly, Sharpie, via

Engage with Trending Topics

Social media harnesses two important ingredients – the power of the consumer and what’s trending in the world around us — to create compelling content that keeps consumers engaged, time and time again with the brand… We are always keeping an eye on cultural events and trends using the lens of how Oreo would view them.

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Janda Lukin, Oreo, via

UPDATE: We’ve just published a post on how brands are using Tik Tok, which is very interesting as a new social media platforms that is growing like crazy.

Nikki is a professional freelance writer and story teller with a passion for the web and technology. She writes for WP Dev Shed and amongst a roster of other clients.

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