Social Media Like It’s 2012

Quite often when speaking with clients, I run into folks who are more than intrigued about social media.  They hear about it everywhere they go and understand that they need to integrate it into their strategy, but somehow they’re not sure about how it’s supposed to work or what they’re supposed to do.

I see examples of misuse where various SM platforms are used just like how one would a bus bench, or a billboard.  Essentially, folks are adopting new digital media tools whilst employing traditional marketing techniques.
Don’t get me wrong, I give props to those who have the courage to embrace change, especially in this field.  Social media can be confusing, at best, especially when you’re new to it.  My friend Gene Kilgore would say to me, “Sometimes you just gotta put the saddle on the horse and go for it”.  Therefore, to help with the transition, I thought it would be best to describe how it works using an analogy most of us can relate to:

You heard right.  Most of us have been to a party or a get-together (some of us more than others).  For those that haven’t, well, you’ll just have to take my word for it (and see about getting invited to a few).  With that context in mind, I’m going to draw some parallels:


1. You’re the host/hostess.
Every party has a person that organizes and hosts the party.  That person is you.  You’re hosting this party in hopes of meeting new people, networking, and making new connections.  You realize that you’re not going to click with every single person at the party, but there’s also a good chance of forging some good long-term friendships.
2.  Parties & get-togethers take place in different venues.
There’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, etc.  You don’t need to host every single party out there, just the ones that make sense for you and your business.  Not everyone will respond to your invitation to your party, by the way.  The ones that find your party interesting will either follow, like, circle, or subscribe to you, depending on the venue.
3.  Be a compelling & gracious host/hostess.
Acknowledge & interact with your guests.  Try not to monopolize any one guest to the exclusion of others.  Circulate.  Mix.  Participate.  Boring parties tend to lose people.  Lively parties attract people and helps spread the word.  Offer to help, connect & introduce people to each other.  Try to refrain from giving everyone that comes into your party your business card & your sales pitch, only do so if someone asks for the information.  Nothing kills a party faster than a host with commission breath!
4.  Always thank your guests!
Your guests have taken time out of their busy schedule to join your party, thank them publicly.  Don’t worry if people leave your party either.  The party may just not be a good fit for them!
Now that you’re in the party spirit, what plans do you have to liven up your party??

5 Key Habits To Supercharge Your Social Media Engagement Skills

It is a known fact that engaging your customer is critical to the success of your social media efforts.  It’s the human side of the equation, regardless of which social media tool(s) you decide to use.  With that in mind, I decided to break down a few simple habits which, when practiced consistently, should increase your level of engagement substantially.

Although the habits listed below are proven to be effective IRL, they can be used just as effectively in your online interactions as well.  The habits are listed in no particular order, they are all powerful, yet simple to apply.  Ready?  Here we go!

Be curious – This should automatically be your mindset whenever you’re looking to engage someone.  Not only does it put you in an inquisitive frame of mind, it also prepares you for opportunities that may arise during the interaction.  People can sense when you’re genuinely curious and interested in what they have to say, even online, which puts them at ease and encourages them to open up.  Just remember your ABC’s, “Always Be Curious”.

Learn to ask the right questions – The goal here is to interact with your customers, not to interrogate them.  People love to talk about themselves and their experiences, so make sure that your open-ended questions are relevant to your audience.  Great questions get people thinking and help propel the conversation.  Regular tweets, for example, provide a great opportunity to practice this habit and helps to embed your brand in your audiences mind.

Listen – With all the noise from various social media platforms, this is probably the toughest habit on the list.  Getting your customer to interact with you is no easy task to begin with, so when your customer responds, you want to listen.  Learn to develop active listening skills by asking clarifying questions and repeating back what you heard.  This is more important in social media, where misunderstandings can easily arise due to the absence of nonverbal cues.  Also, people can be reluctant to share a problem or issue with you, so listening to what isn’t being said is just as critical.

Keep an open mind – It’s human nature to judge, be quick to dismiss, or assume.  If you’re compelled to give in to human nature, take this as an opportunity to add to your knowledge base by staying open to unexpected ideas.  I have learned that people don’t always respond the way that I expect them to, or share the same opinions as I have.  These instances provide a great opportunity for me to enjoy a different point of view.  Oftentimes, it’s after being able to suspend judgment that I’m better able to understand the reason for the disparity of opinions.

Be grateful – There are a lot of things that have to be right for a customer to be willing to open up and interact with you.  Honestly, they’re not obligated to do so.  The fact that they’re willing to take time out of their day and interact with you, giving you feedback, is something that every company should be grateful for.  Always show gratitude in all your interactions.  It doesn’t cost anything extra, it adds value to the interaction, and it brings good karma.  What are some creative ways that you show or express gratitude to your customers?

Oftentimes, we get caught up in the headlines touting the newest tech gadget, social network, app, etc., that we push aside the human element in it all.  It’s good to step back occasionally and remind ourselves that the endgame here is still to interact with people.  These 5 habits have helped me in my own personal journey.

What are some of the habits you rely on when engaging your audience?