One of the things you’ll hear most often when people talk about Social Media is that it’s all about the “Conversations”. “Conversations” has become the go-to buzz word when it comes to Social Media, and although lately I’ve grown tired of the overuse of the term and hope a new one comes along, it really sums up what it’s all about.
So, what are some key things to keep in mind so that your time spent on Twitter/Facebook/Myspace/YouTube/etc doesn’t feel wasted? Here are some tips that might help you keep things streamlined and keep your online signal to noise ratio high:
- Be caring. It’s not always about you – oftentimes, it’s about them. Share news, tips, quotes; bring up topics that you know will start conversations, even if it has nothing to do with your product. Letting the person on the other side know that you care about what’s happening in their world shows that you care about them – and they’re likely to reciprocate.
- Be useful. You know the sound of one hand clapping? Conversations are the same way – you can’t really be successful if you’re just throwing posts up one after the other without engaging your audience. If they have questions, answer them. Even if they don’t, offer suggestions and solutions. Share what you know, and they’ll depend on you for the information/product/service.
- Social Media has to be part of a larger multimedia strategy. It’s publicity, public relations, marketing, advertising, customer relations, research and development and operations all rolled into one. If you’re not considering it as a serious part of your business strategy, you’ll fail.
- Establish goals. Social Media Marketing isn’t something you just fall into. If you don’t have specific goals and campaigns included in your strategy, you’ll just be a babbling noise in the background that gets tuned out. Establish goals, then establish campaigns, strategies and tactics to reach that goal.
- Be SOCIAL. It’s “social” media, not “selling” media. Refer back to #1 and #2, but overall, be engaging. It’s about your daily life – it’s a microblog, after all. Show what you like, dislike, care about, worry about, scratch your head about, and generally find interesting to you. You’ll find that others share your feelings – or not, and will share that with you as well. Including your message in amongst the conversation is the best way to get people to listen. Engage them first.
- Go off-campus once in a while. Social networks are online first and foremost, but you must include some IRL interaction as well to cement your place in social media. There’s a reason why TweetUps are so popular – make sure that people are still able to connect with those they’ve met online to further create that sense of camaraderie – and loyalty to your product as a result.
If you’re using Social Media for your business, don’t treat it like kid’s play – because someone out there isn’t, and will make your attempts to be heard and sold futile.