You are invited to a party, a big party. Who do you go towards, who do you stay away from?

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You are invited to a party, a big party, with an eclectic mix of people. You know it’s good for you professionally to be there, even though you feel a little bit awkward because you do not think you will know anyone there. You enter the room, the energy is engaging, you know you should stay. Movie stars, musicians, professional athletes, business people, thought leaders, community champions & seemingly average folk all crowd the scene.  Who do you go towards, who do you stay away from?

I was recently approached by a colleague who began with an admission – he considers me the “guru of social media.” This is a relative label coming from someone who still does not have a Facebook account, for which I admire him greatly. Regardless, he came seeking help and I was compelled to assist him.  My friend has a book and wishes to increase the visibility of this as well as secure more business as a result. We all wish to further promote our work to reap greater benefits, be they financial or not.

Here is what I shared, far from social guru enlightenment  and much of it is rote for anyone that has dabbled with any awareness in social media. Yet I still see an alarming amount of bad Twitter pages and self-promoters on LinkedIn to realize some people just do not get it.

Twitter:

  • Twitter is a communication tool – communication is two ways. No one will talk with you if you are not first talking WITH them, not at them. Pull, not push.
  • Twitter is also great for scanning – it’s daily headlines and “who’s talking about what?”
  • Using Twitter to only promote the book/product/service/event is akin to those annoying coupons in the Sunday paper – very little value and typically straight to the recycle bin.
  • Have a voice and be consistent – what are you passionate about and how will you share that?
  • Follow those you want to follow you. I use the list function to keep certain groups together and check in on them to interact from time to time. Check out these family business related lists – it’s how I find certain pages in a hurry, as well as keep them all in one spot:
  • Interact – pay attention to what others say and publicly reply to them. First thing I do when looking at a Twitter feed is see how much they interact. If they do not, I’m quick to ignore them.
  • Reply when people mention you – you always answer the phone or reply to important emails don’t you? Example tweet.
  • Share pearls of wisdom – a quote, a fact, an observation. And be consistent; no need to Tweet all day long, but 5-25 Tweets a week is healthy activity.
  • Use hashtags – these help others find you if you are talking about what they want to know about #nextgen #familybusiness #leadership etc. Example tweet.
  • Retweet others posts and add insights if appropriate Example tweet.
  • Dress up your page a little more – it should be in alignment with your webpage.
  • Be human Example tweet

Linked In

  • Becoming more similar to Twitter with their news feed and ability to like or comment on others’ posts. But I check it daily.
  • I only post one thing a week in LinkedIn. It will also cross-link with Twitter (if you choose), so be aware of redundancy.
  • I’ve not found much value in the groups on LinkedIn other than one private group of peers from other institutions. The trouble I’ve seen with groups, everyone is promoting themselves and not listening to anyone else. A good group will have a moderator as well as stated rules of what is permissible to discuss (no promotions, solicitations, etc.).
  • Shorten your personal url – on your profile next to it, just click edit and get rid of all the numbers and letters.
  • Consider sharing an excerpt of your book in .pdf form or slides form a recent presentation. Box.net or Slideshare.com are both good sharing tools that will also link with LinkedIn.
  • Get endorsements! Just ask your customers for them. And endorse others!
  • I believe LinkedIn is the most appropriate place to share press and related postings. Linked In more and more is becoming a great source of business information.

Engage – that’s what will work in social media. And do not expect instant results, nor even a huge payoff. However, even with some minimum investment, what will happen is simply more opportunities for others to intersect with you.  Think of it as being at that party I described in the opening paragraph – who do you go towards, who do you stay away from?

  • The self-proclaimed know-it-all who never stops talking
  • Dude sitting alone in the corner and picking his nose – sorry, but you get the picture
  • Movie star who just wants to sign autographs, sell more tickets and walk the carpet
  • Sloppy drunk clinging to the bar – ok well maybe him
  • The person talking and listening and adding value to each conversation

You choose.

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