It's time to get down to the business of social media. Last week I spoke at an eBay Radio conference in Las Vegas (OK, it was more like a party - but I digress) and the most savvy online sellers were excited to jump on the social media train.
Like anything new, Social Media has attracted gurus, experts, mavens and scammers, each with a different story to tell. I've been studying Social Media for a while and I've learned a few important truths.
The internet is still a community
Yes, SEO is important, updating your webspace is too, but keep in mind that the town square of years gone by has moved to the internet. Conversations are barely held in person or over the phone - they happen online. This is a community, where you need to respect your friends (your audience).
It is not a soapbox - don't sell, share
As fascinating as your sales message or opinions are to you, constantly barraging folks with your importance doesn't cause your friends to interact. They don't make people want to converse with you or do business with you. They want to know the person behind the tweets (or the blog or the page) is a real person, with a real life.
Be a person
Every name on the web has a person (or persons) behind it. Share a little of your personal day. If there is more than one person at your business handling the tweeting for your Twitter account, have them sign their tweets with a caret and their initials, like ^mc.
Time those tweets
If you tweet at the same time every day, you're no doubt hitting the same audience over and over. We are creatures of habit and log onto Twitter around the same times every day. Set
your calendar to vary the times you tweet - you will hit a different audience.
Answer back & retweet
If you're not interested in what other people are saying, why should they feel engaged in your comments? Read, comment, inquire. Be a part of the community. Save your promotional tweets for one in five - one in six is even better.
Quality still wins over quantity
Is it really important that you have a gazillion followers? I think not. There's really no way to effectively follow tens of thousands of people. Go to wefollow and categorize yourself and your business. Find people who are interested in your message and/or your product. Follow them.
If they like what the see on your Tweetstream, more will follow.
Follow back those of like mind. Do you care about a new MLM program? If that's what you are intesterted in, follow them - but don't clutter up your stream with unusable verbage. If you don't
care about the latest get-rich-quick program, pass when those citizens follow you. You have a market. Know it and follow back.
Commit to the community
Fill out your Twitter profile with links to your site or your online profile. Let people know who you are. Isn't it more interesting to know about the person you're following? Is a faceless profile even the least bit interesting?
Visit your Facebook stream at least twice a day
Check the posts of your friends on your Facebook home. Again, comment or "like" what they have to say. It's all about the interaction. Don't post your sales message to other peoples walls. Friend and join fan pages of people and businesses you like and respect. Communities only survive when there are active participants.
I was named an iCitizen by brand marketing guru, Kelly Mooney in her book, The Open Brand. I take that title very seriously. A good citizen of the web participates. Become a leader. Your voice is just as important as Ashton Kutcher or Oprah. Learn from the real Social Marketing geniuses like @MackCollier and ecommerce newsman @ColderICE. Follow social media conferences online if you can't attend the, like them 140 characters conference.
Followers and friends stay with you only if they like, respect and trust what they discover.