President Obama and Jack Dorsey at the White House Twitter Town Hall
Everyone talks about relationships and the importance of two-way interaction in social media. Participation is a cornerstone of building strong community presence. But other than core subject matter evangelists, there is only so much you can do to interest people on a dry topic. That’s when you need to give the community something to talk about.
Social means sharing experiences and yes, talking. And frankly, a lot of what businesses and nonprofits have to talk about can put the most lively of children to sleep. How can you turn a dry topic into something a little more meaningful? Here are four ways to go beyond normal day-to-day interaction, and spark dynamic conversations:
If an experience isn’t interesting, an event can be. In fact, events are everything that is social. They give people an opportunity to meet face-to-face, and provide a basis for conversation, networking, and critiques (positive and negative). People love moving the online experience into reality. Further, they like telling their social networks about the events during and after the fact with posts, pictures and updates.
Quality events are a great way to give people something to talk about (hat tip: Kami Huyse, from a recent conversation). They always have been, and the social era only makes them more special and visible.
Find your subject matter to be repetitive and boring? Then dig deeper. Invariably, an organization has statistics and performance information that — if analyzed and extrapolated — can be shared with the larger industry or subject matter related community. Research provides context and a point of interest for folks to talk about, critique and learn from. Hubspot has been a master of this for years.
Maybe you don’t have your own data to share, but there is plenty of external information. Round it up and provide a level of analysis that supersedes the average punditry in your sector. In essence, paint a bigger picture. This is what great bloggers do. Also, if you look at most infographics today, they visualize analysis, sometimes private data, but more often, larger industry trends.
Create the News
This is the hardest of the four suggestions, and the most attention worthy. Do something newsworthy. Not a gimmick, but something substantial. Raise a hundred thousand dollars. Build a company, hire new people, or make a big sale. Invest in a new community, or create different ways to engage your current customers. Create a new product that changes the game. Empower others to do great things through a crowdsourcing initiative.
How do you give your community something to talk about?