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One of the biggest complaints about social media is that there’s just so much drivel passing through the channels it can be demoralising and unrewarding trawling through it all. I do agree that not all posts are informative, enlightening or inspiring but that is why I listen out carefully for those who are educating and entertaining me and ensure I interact and engage with them. Whilst I remove those from my feed who appear to post for the sake of posting and repeatedly add nothing to my day! Of course we are all allowed to be little bit frivolous at times but there is only so much noise we can take. Make sure you are adding value and not just noise in the posts that you share.
Social media provides you with a fantastic opportunity to tune in to other peoples conversations, thoughts and insights. Twitter has been described as the worlds largest cocktail party, where you can listen in and “overhear” what others are saying about the widest range of subjects. On any network you can search for the keywords that matter to you and your business and discover the conversations that already taking place and then join in and add your voice. You can also find out what your customers think, understand what sort of questions or queries people have about your subject area and see how your competitors are responding. Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn have a fantastic search facility for tracking down this information and hashtags make it straight forward to locate niche groups. Before you start a discussion find out if someone else has already done so, you can then join a warm conversation rather than starting from scratch. Listening should be the first part of any social media strategy.
Have I ever told you that 40% of users on Twitter never tweet? They are simply happy listening. Twitter after all is a brilliant resource that allows you to tune into the thoughts and tweets of key leaders and innovators. It’s not necessary to tweet if you don’t want to be noticed. On the other hand if you have set up a social media presence because you want to promote and raise awareness of your business then it is crucial that you are finding ways to join the conversation and the social activity. It is a very familiar scenario that I come across regularly, a business or individual spends a significant amount of time setting up a winning profile, surrounding themselves with a thriving network and then sitting back and waiting for it all to happen. It won’t! There are so many ways in which you can contribute to the communities online, find your voice and start engaging!
Approximately 65% of the population are visual learners, I know that if you show me an infographic, I’ve got the concept and the idea immediately, if you show me a long word document I’m instantly switching off. The facts on image use in social media are very revealing. Including a photo in a tweet can boost retweets by up to 35%. The rise and rise and rise of Pinterest demonstrates the huge appetite we have for inspiring visual delights.
I am often asked about how to resource images and I refer people to this brilliant post: The ultimate guide to free images. You can of course take your own pictures and use brilliant apps to make them look gorgeous, you can use stock images or you can employ a professional photographer – a very worthwhile investment. Whichever route you take don’t ever underestimate the power of images for all your online activity.
If we believe the statement that we hear every day in business: “People do business with those they know trust and like” then we need to provide the opportunity for people to get to know us. Obviously off line there are plenty of networking situations, meetups and of course the phone! On line we can let people know who we are through the pictures, thoughts, hashtags, links and ideas that we share. Humour attracts and engages people quickly and signals that you are human, social networks would be very unappealing if all we did was churn information out devoid of personality. So be human and make us smile!