August 30, 2012
When using Social Media for work, there is a massive temptation to simply dole out information to the masses. While it’s important that you tell folks what’s going on in your business or industry, simply blaring out links to press releases is a sure way to lose followers and influence.
Twitter, Facebook and other networks are designed to be interactive platforms. This means that you need to both speak and listen in order to get the most out of this form of medium, and broadcasting is only half of that equation. Stated another way, if you’re shouting continuously, you can’t hear what people are saying around, about, and to you.
Instead, take a cooperative approach. Definitely tell folks what’s going on, where you’re headed, who you’re seeing, etc. Share customer stories (where appropriate) and successes, as well as lessons learned. But, also ask questions and pose theories about your industry and products. Ask about general ideas, even some that may not be directly related to something you’re selling. This gets people talking with you, and means that more people see the replies and re-posts, increasing your audience dramatically.
For each RT, there’s a chance that someone else will discover your Twitter account and read your non-engagement tweets. Put simply, every time you show up in someone else’s timeline, you get seen by more potential customers. Broadcasting will indeed get some RT’s and re-posts, but frankly nowhere near as many as talking to your customer base and listening to their replies will.
Added to that fact, you will also see your influence rise as you engage. One-way communication is static, services like Klout and Kred tend to discount static accounts. By interacting with customers and potential customers, you can generate more activity overall, and dynamic activity at that. This leads to more strength and influence from ranking systems and analytic services.
Finally, engaging activities can uncover new leads and opportunities for your business. Posting a press release may be ignored by the masses — they see dozens of those every day and have learned to ignore them. Posting questions gets people to answer them, and if the answer is “We have that problem and haven’t figured out how to solve it yet,” then you have an opening to suggest using your products to fill the need. More engagement means more traffic to your website and more interest in your products.
So, by all means, do share white papers, case studies and press releases; but don’t stop there. Pose questions, offer answers to other users’ questions, and make your Social Media activities interactive. Doing so will gain you influence, followers, and probably some new customers to boot.