In a recent post titled “Three Pillars Of Social Media Engagement Strategy,” Sameer Khan, highlighted the three critical components of a solid social media engagement strategy: campaigns, content and connections. Each of these components together is mandatory for a successful engagement through social media channels. In this post, we will dive deeper into the connections component and identify the “who” to effectively build your connections and strengthen your brand.

When looking at the connections you currently have and the connections you want to build, ask yourself who are the people that can help create value for your brand. This brand value is driven by referrals, relationships and recommendations; also known as the three Rs. Consider these to be the people whose opinion you most trust.

Here’s an analogy that demonstrates the “who.”  These are the people with whom you will engage through social networks to make decisions using the three Rs. Remember the last time you made a big purchase like buying a car? You probably went through the same situation as most of us. You went online to research different brands of cars. You saw advertisements online, on TV and in your area that encouraged you to purchase the car. But all of that was not enough for you to consider buying yet.

[Referrals] When you start reading blogs and articles from known experts, the experts will say that this car is great, reliable, reasonably priced and so on as compared to others just like it. Because of the value of their referral, you will begin to feel that this car is the one for you. This referral (indirect or direct) pushes you to think more actively of your choices.

This is similar to seeing a social post from a friend or colleague. You are more likely to pay attention to it rather than a third party post. When you create content, make sure that it is something that your social network or target audience will value and want to share with others.


[Recommendations.] When some you trust tells you that this car is one that you should consider and one that they can vouch for. They tell you that they had a Toyota Camry in high school and college and after 200k miles; they went to buy another Camry with no hesitation because that is the car they trust. This again motivates you to consider the car without a doubt.

Just as in Google+ or LinkedIn, people will be able to see the +1s or recommendations for a product, service or company that really stands out and makes an impact on the buying decision.  Be sure to that you always share your content with your list of influencers so they can have the opportunity to have an opinion. As a best practice, consult your influencers before publically posting anything so you can be sure that they will recommend whatever you post.


[Relationship] When a close friend or family tells you that you should buy that car and that you will be making a great decision and a smart purchase. This final act is one that truly fulfills your buying decision and reinforces the referrals and recommendations that you received previously.

Similar to when you make a post on any of the social platforms, you are usually posting something with the hope that your network likes it or comments on it. This final reinforcement tends to help seal the deal and convince you that what you are doing is the popular choice.


Using your connections is the best way to driving engagement with your social media networks. For businesses, it’s important to identify and manage your connections and understand who are the ones referring you and recommending you and how can those relationships help to drive your social media engagement.

2 Responses to How Connections Drive Social Media Engagement

  1. So, in order to be successful in the use of a social network, you have to set yourself as an authority in a particular field so that you can give a referral, a recommendation to people??

    • I wouldn’t say that everyone needs to strive to become an authority in order to give a referral or recommendation or to even effectively use social networks. Anyone can offer a referral or recommendation but the value of it depends on the merit that that person’s opinion carries. If you want that referral or recommendation to count to the masses, people in your social network just need to think that it comes from an influential source. The trick is to becoming a thought leader or authority is to be transparent, thought provoking, honest and consistent. Let me know if that answer helps.

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