How to Start a Conversation on Social Media

Why do it?

Set the right energy level for your business and against your name. Before you do anything; understand what it is you want to achieve through your social media activity. You’ll be committing a significant amount of time to it and if not, you should be. It’s important. When you know what you want, getting it right will be natural and easy. Once you get in to the conversation of social media, it’s easy to get drawn in to other people’s agendas; so check in with yourself constantly to ensure that you’re being true to your objectives.

 

Be Sociable.

Be aware that social media demands social skill. Imagine yourself in a ‘real’ networking situation. Nobody respects the person who talks consistently about themselves, who brings every single conversation round to them, or who relentlessly sells. Social media is about building relationships, sharing knowledge, connecting with likeminded individuals and asserting expertise where it’s needed. It’s important to show your ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ what you can offer them but people buy from people and likeability and respect are the emotional ingredients of relationship building.

 

Express Yourself.

If you’re reading this, then you no doubt have an amazing personality and a brilliant brain – you should bring the wit to your wall. You’ve got loads to express, a lot of knowledge and some of you can make me ‘laugh out loud’, without requiring that annoying acronym for reassurance. Share the fabulousness of your mind with others. It’s what will attract the people who want to work with you and filter out those who aren’t right for you; so don’t be afraid of being who you are.
At the same time; it’s a social media sin to play out every emotion through these online outlets. Sulking and whining is detractive to the right people and attractive to those who love to feed emotional vulnerability. Feel free to scream loudly or punch something inanimate; just resist the urge to overshare.

 

Rules of Engagement.

Engage with your audience. I regularly use ManageFlitter on Twitter to delete those who don’t interact or send out robotic messages. You could argue with me that it saves time and it’s an effective way to do business. Is it? If you choose to automatically send tweets or updates, do it with care. One-way communication is pretty arrogant and while you may incite initial interest, it doesn’t tick the ‘conversation’ and ‘relationship’ boxes neatly enough for me.

Get to know some of the people you’re sharing virtual time with. In PR terms, there are lots of journalists on Twitter. It’s a great place to get to know them but understand how and why they use Twitter. Some use it to send out requests for information and invite businesses to interact with them; some use it as light relief, to let off some steam and some are just interested in what they’re interested in and that might not include you. It’s like any other situation – learn to read the signs and act accordingly.

 

Think Before You Type.

Think before you tweet or pin or link or um, face. Self-publishing is growing exponentially. Look at me, I’m blogging! The medium of social media facilitates any one of us being momentarily flippant. I absolutely believe that anything you put out online, you should be completely responsible for. In the same way you shouldn’t gossip, bitch or blame in real life; you shouldn’t do it online either. Imagine that everything you say is going to be printed in a national newspaper. You must be able to justify it. Yes, we all have an opinion, a sense of humour and a will to make our mark but while the legal lines on libel are still unclear, it’s better to be sure of what you’re saying. For this reason, wine and social media should be kept as far apart from each other as possible.

 

Use it or lose it.

When it’s appropriate, highlight your successes, offers, opportunities. Invite others to share. It’s fast and it’s effective. It’s gossip in a good way. Flag up what others are doing if you think it will be of genuine interest to your network. Use social media for business, as a tool to leverage funds but in a way that works, abundantly for everyone.

 

Relationship Rulebook

  1. Set standards and stick to them.
  2. Don’t be overly self-indulgent or egotistical.
  3. Share opportunities but do it elegantly.
  4. Get personal.
  5. Be yourself.