Community management is all about initiating conversations and engaging with customers online. So what happens when you’re bending over backwards to talk to people, but nobody’s talking back?

It happens all too often that companies set up Twitter and Facebook profiles, only to be left posting information and Tweeting until the cows come home (without getting any feedback from their community members). The good news is that you don’t have to change your entire strategy, you just have to tweak it a bit to ensure a bit of interactivity. Here are a few tips:

  • Ask better questions: I’ve often seen corporate Facebook accounts post questions like “What are you having for dinner?” This is fine – if you are Food24 or Shape Magazine. But if you’re trying to be seen as a thought leader among business owners, you’re not going to get much reaction from questions like this. Start asking better questions that encourage engagement. Ask targeted questions to groups and individuals, such as: “How is your company / group reacting to the new unemployment statistics?” When you ask questions like this, it lets your online community know that you are waiting to hear their answers and that you value their opinion.
  • Step outside of your company: You can’t Tweet about your own products and services all day – you need to network and share relevant information with your target audience. Take a position on challenges your industry faces and share information that your audience might find interesting. Your community can’t be all about your company.
  • Crowd source: Crowd sourcing is a good way to encourage collaboration within your community. Tell your community that you’re going to be interviewing the company’s customer service manager and ask them what questions you should be asking, for example. Let community members know you’re here to serve them.

Building an interactive, engaging community means you have to be willing to share and listen. Collaborate with your community members to create better content and give them a better experience.

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