Traditionally, engagement is measured with consumption being the primary activity: watching TV, listening to the radio and reading newspapers are all great examples of how classic engagement was easily transitioned to the social Web via YouTube, podcasts and blogs. However, while these traditional consumption models did translate, the consumption is not at all engaging and does little to connect customers to brands.

If you’re looking to get beyond content spread and really make a connection with your customers, here are a few tips that will make engaging your social audience much more meaningful.

Hit the honey hole

Face it; most of your customers are not flocking to your branded microsites. When the fish aren’t biting it’s time to head to the honey hole! Engage your customers on the social sites that they are already members of. Additionally, most social sites like Facebook and Twitter will provide you with rich demographic information about your fans that your branded microsites can’t.

Curation sensation

In the social Web context, content curation is the act of sharing, rating and organizing content with your social networks. Rating, reviewing, digging, liking and +1’ing are all examples of curation.

Why should you care about curation? Two reasons:

1. It provides your content with value and context because it has been rated and organized by the consumer’s social network.

Redefining Engagement for the Social Web

2. It’s an easy way to get people engaged. Clicking the like button takes less than 5 seconds and your content also gets thousands more impressions. In fact, it’s so easy that most of last year’s successful user-generated content campaigns leveraged curation as the primary engagement tool. Threadless has used curation for the past ten years to have their fans rate t-shirt ideas before they produce them.

Game on

There is a reason board games are still popular after thousands of years. People love to compete (and brag). Create a campaign that allows your fans to compete with each other, socialize their contributions and be rewarded for their participation.

There are several toolsets out there that will allow you to easily set up new Facebook contests (that include curation tools) and will also track your fan’s engagement levels. Badging and points are also standard for most of these tools. One vendor, Fangager, even has an app store that allows you to drag and drop some pretty slick interactive games onto your Facebook fan page.

So don’t be satisfied with the status quo when putting your next customer engagement program together. Challenge yourself to get out there and meaningfully engage your customers on existing social networking sites by making it easy for them to curate content and participate in contests. Remember what they say … “Consumption is good, but engagement is better”.

Brian Costea

Brian Costea