Social Media: Tool to Speak WITH People, Not AT Them

While I was reading Engage! by Brian Solis, I came across a section that stood out:

Social media is about speaking with, not at people. This means engaging in a way that works in a conversational medium, that is, serving the best interest of both parties, while not demeaning any actions or insulting the intelligence of anyone involved.

The book also quotes Doc Searls, coauthor of The Cluetrain Manifesto: “There is no market for messages.”

Think about that for a moment. Think about what you’re putting out on social media. Is it simply a marketing message you’re shouting out through your digital megaphone? Or is it engaging conversation: something people can reply to?

Solis talks about the importance of being human when you communicate on social media; about giving your followers something to believe in.

You’re Not a Robot

I’ve talked before about how people who manage social media for brands tend to go into robotic mode. It seems there’s some disconnect between how you use Facebook to chat with your friends, for example, and how you use Twitter to drive traffic to your site. But there shouldn’t be a difference — at least in how you communicate with people.

Consider the brands you follow on social media. Which resonate with you? Which speak to who you are? For me, it’s those brands that respond to my tweets and call me by name. Who engage with me about a particular article or question. Not the ones who autotweet a steady stream of promotional junk and their own blog content.

Companies are made up of people. Consumers are people. When you talk directly with them rather than at them, you build a connection that will turn into sales.

Tips for Better Social Media Use

I understand that you might not feel savvy at using social media. I get it. So here are my tips that will make you smarter at social instantly.

1. Aim for a mix of updates. Do share your company blog posts, but also share others’ content. Respond to other people’s comments. Ask questions. Be silly. Diversify.

2. See what your competitors are doing. You’ll quickly see what works for them, and what doesn’t. Modify your strategy accordingly.

3. Speaking of strategy…have one. Don’t simply get on social because everyone else is. Know what you want to achieve, and measure your results.

4. Follow more people. The more people you follow and interact with, the faster your network will grow. But follow the right people: those that have said something that expresses interest in your type of products or services, or those that have similar interests.


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