Many styles of engagement exist in social media. From pure content marketing to commenting on every post, we see many companies and personalities successfully market. I gravitate towards thanking and serving.
There is no absolute right way.
One thing I have learned over the years about social: The most important thing is to represent your personality authentically.
The more manufactured the interaction, the less likely your personal presence or corporate culture will resonate with online stakeholders.
Applied that means I won’t be the most prolific commenter.
Like Mitch Joel, I prefer to start conversations and listen, adding additional thoughts when there’s more to say. It’s about spreading and developing ideas.
I also know that my mercurial personality can cause more fire than necessary in a situation, so I try to restrain myself on and off line.
Instead, I rely on thanking and serving people online. Let’s dive deeper.
It requires you to be unselfish and conscious that people have invested in you with as small of an act as a comment or a tweet, or as significant an act as a meeting (time) or business (money). Acknowledging that investment lets the person know you appreciate what they did. You care. This is people skills 101.
Conversely, not thanking people represents an act of selfishness, in my opinion.
I definitely notice when someone doesn’t thank me for regular contributions. It makes me not want to come back.
I may not plant the best “comment daisies” in the social garden, but I can surely thank people as often as possible for participating in conversations with me. After all, they invested social capital in the effort.
Beth Kanter remains one of the best thankers I have ever met. She is amazing!
One of the other things I do well is listen and try to understand my stakeholders. Then I like to give them content to meet their needs.
Some people call this inbound marketing, but I think it goes beyond just publishing content on a web site.
Like thanking, this practice extends beyond social media.
When I follow up on a sales lead, I don’t call and ask how it’s going. I send them something valuable like a story or resource to prove that having me (or my company) in their business life is one of the most worthwhile decisions they can make.
When you add value to people’s lives, they want you in it. Make a difference for people, and be of service to them. Help them succeed.
It’s no coincidence that these approaches are basic networking principles that work both on and offline. If it works offline, it usually works in social media, too.
What’s your online social style?