Whenever I speak to someone about social media who isn’t actively using it, the main reason they give for not being involved is, “I don’t want to talk about what I had for breakfast and I don’t care what others had for breakfast either.”
OMG, we have moved so far beyond that! Taking a quick glance across the posts on my Hootsuite dashboard right now, I see tweeps sharing articles, announcing new programs, giving feedback to one another, asking questions, and sending words of encouragement.It’s a community of support, and conversations are how that support is conveyed. Which conversations you initiate or participate in are totally up to you.
In last week’s Smart Networking Shift call, guest expert Dabney Porte said conversations are happening all around, and you need to get in the game. So in other words, if you were walking past a room where you saw a group of businesspeople having lunch, you might think that all they were talking about was whether the pasta was al dente enough and you’d walk right on by. But if you actually stopped to listen to the conversation, you might hear about a brand new project they were putting together, something you could contribute to through your knowledge, expertise or connections. Or you might strike a rapport with one of the diners who could become a client or spread the word about your business.
I’m not the most chatty person in the world in real life so I don’t post random thoughts online, but I do love to share information that I find and I especially love to acknowledge and promote the good work of others. So I’ve found my groove with Twitter and other social media tools to expand my network, build meaningful relationships and yes, get new business! Here are 3 things that work for me that you can do too:
1) RELAY a resource. Share a link to a relevant resource, not your own, but someone else’s. I have my Google Reader set up to pull in feeds from about 20 blogs that I follow and it takes me 15 minutes twice a week to scan through the headlines, skim the articles that look relevant, and schedule the post through an online app like Timely that allows those tweets to go out evenly over the course of the coming week all throughout the day. Not only does this help me stay visible to my followers, but it also allows me to be seen as a resource AND to build relationships with the blog authors.
2) REPLY promptly. When someone retweets me or shares my articles, I do my best to say thank you, although sometimes Hootsuite misses some of the mentions, so I don’t catch them all, aargh!). Or when someone posts a “valid” question or comment, I do try to take the time to respond. I stress the word “valid” because sometimes my name will come up in a post that is completely irrelevant just so the person, usually a spammer, can get my attention. Yeah, mission accomplished, but not in a good way!
3) RECOGNIZE a milestone. Social media makes it super simple to congratulate someone when they share a success or celebrate an occasion like a birthday, engagement or anniversary. Don’t underestimate the impact of your acknowledgment just because it takes 2 seconds to do. We all enjoy getting positive feedback and it’s those little strands of ongoing connection that develop into strong bonds over time.
Just like buying a gym membership won’t get you into shape unless you go, social media only works if you know how to work it. If others are having success on social media don’t you think you can too? Time to get in the conversation and find out.
Do you have a social media technique that’s been working for you? Post it on my Facebook wall and let’s build a library of inspiration and resource for those still getting their feet wet. I’d love to hear your ideas!
© 2012, Liz LynchWANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, BLOG OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: “Liz Lynch, author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online, works with professional service firms who have great expertise but fall short in generating all the business they deserve. To learn how to attract maximum clients with minimum effort, visit www.LizLynchOnline.com.”