Monday, May 21, 2012

Engaging Your Audience Online

Engaging with your audience in an organic and casual forum is what builds crowds and sells books. There’s nothing that fosters a fan base or followers like interpersonal connection; getting into the ‘trenches’ if you will, and really playing an active role in enriching your audience’s lives. Emerging trends are imperative to keep an eye on, and when it comes to getting involved with your demographic, there are many developing avenues to explore; here are a few of them.

Reddit AMAs (Ask Me Anything): Reddit, a social news website that I’ve mentioned numerous times on our blog, has experienced a meteoric ascent in terms of online popularity and power in the last year. Its denizens, or ‘redditors,’ organized and raised $600,000 for charity to promote a Stephen Colbert rally in 2010, and fomented the SOPA/PIPA online blackouts earlier this year that altered the course of governmental policy. An ‘AMA’ or ‘Ask Me Anything’ is a sub-section of the website that allows users to tell their story, and open themselves up to a variety of questions from Reddit users.

An online group-interview of sorts, AMA’s allow for self-promotion without seeming self-promotional. You’re a professional speaker who’s rubbed elbows with some of the industry elites; what are they like? What is the actual involvement on your part in crafting a monetarily-viable speaking career? These are some examples of the exchanges that take place in an AMA. While presenting yourself in a spontaneous manner, you generate public interest in who you are and what you do, and may gain a few new fans along the way.

Creating a Blog and Participating:  Blogspot. Tumblr. Wordpress. All of these are platforms on which to create a blog and maintain a running dialogue with your online-followers. Many bloggers make the mistake of merely writing an update, clicking the ‘post’ button and walking away. Get involved in the comments section! Encourage your readers to take part in conversations that stem from your writing. You may encounter dissenting or opposing viewpoints, but engaging and addressing them will cultivate a respect for your work and opinions. Get blogging!

Tweetchats: A unique, developing aspect to Twitter is the ability for live chats. By logging into your Twitter account via, you can follow hashtags (#, denotes a trending word or topic) and take part in a conversation with other users in real-time about your field of expertise or your take on what’s currently taking over the Twittersphere.

It’s simple to interact on Twitter, especially using hashtags, but Tweetchat allows for private chat rooms that revolve around a particular topic and non-delayed responses. This medium allows your voice to be heard, your opinion to be stated, and as it displays your Twitter handle: followers to be gained.

You have important things to say, and getting your message to a widespread audience is why you got into the business in the first place. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty; utilize all of the rising online trends to your advantage, and watch your target audience grow in numbers.

-Carter Breazeale

PR/PR Public Relations