You don’t even realise you’re doing it, do you? Doing what, you ask? Let me explain:
I want you to imagine you’re at a party. It’s fairly busy, lots of different conversations bubbling away in little pockets of the room. The hostess is doing a bang up job of introducing people with little tidbits of information – ‘This is Bob’, she says, ‘He works in Finance and likes rugby. Bob, this is Toby, he likes rugby too and works in London for a tech startup’. Off they go, talking about the match the other day, how lovely the party is and the best way to build a monthly forecast.
There are little pockets of conversation happening like this all over, ranging from the insightful and hilarious to the lowbrow and daft.
Now, imagine you get stuck talking to some bore in the corner who will not oh please god just stop going on about his recent promotion, how much money he makes, how his clothes are the best money can buy and would you like to see a photo of his new car?
All he can talk about is himself. He’s not listening to a word you’re saying, not checking to see whether you’re interested in what he has to say, and not contributing to any of the other conversations happening around him whatsoever.
That’s you on social media. Well, that’s potentially you.
We all see examples of this sort of thing throughout social media, stuck on broadcast mode and oblivious to the world around them. I’m sure you could name loads of people that do it, if you thought about it.
But have you checked that you’re not doing it, too?
How many news events did you join in the discussion about this week? How many blog posts did you tweet about that weren’t written for your company blog? Do you regularly check your engagement stats to see what your audience best responds to?
The thing about social media is, some people forget it’s two-way. It’s easy to overlook that you don’t just need to be a great writer, but a great conversationalist, and a great listener. Does your company actively use social listening tools to figure out who your audience are and what they’re talking about? Do you keep an ear out for what they’re saying about you and your brand? You really should, you know.
We’re beyond the point of no return with social media; it’s no longer a question of whether or not you need to invest time and effort in social right, but how much. Your audience has so many other things that they could be reading, make sure you put in the effort need to catch their eye and convince them that you’re worth their interest.
Let’s go back to that party, if you’re still not convinced:
Imagine you walk up to a group of people mid-discussion, and they make a space for you but you don’t contribute a word to the conversation. Then, in a lull you blurt out something about your recent holiday, or pay rise, something self-involved and completely unconnected to their conversation.
Is anyone at that party going to want to keep talking to you?
- Try to content blend, not content broadcast – make sure you’re sharing other people’s content wherever industry relevant. It keeps you interesting and encourages people to reciprocate
Don’t jump into conversations just because they’re trending, make sure they’re relevant to who you are as a brand and the industry you’re working in
Social listening is not just the latest marketing fad. It’s the difference between having finely calibrated wind measuring equipment, or licking your finger and pointing at the sky.
People want to talk to other people, not faceless brands. Show some personality if you can, otherwise empower your staff to be brand ambassadors and put them front and centre on social media.
Turn off your automators! In fact, avoid automated tweeting or sending out just the headlines wherever you can. Your audience want to hear what you think, so what’s your take? What do you have to contribute?
You heard me, cut it out!