I cringe when I hear that expression.
More often than not, the person saying it is in marketing or PR and there's a wide gap between what they claim to be doing and what you see when you visit their sites.
They crow about having an active twitter feed (lots of followers), plenty of likes on their Facebook page, a popular company blog… And technically they have set them up.
What they don't have is a good sense of what to 'do' with the channels – other than occasionally blasting a promotional message, asking a random question, or posting an innocuous thought.
There's a hodgepodge of content and no consistency. Why would anyone bother tuning in?
These people are the all-talk-no-action communicators who haven't realized being social is just that – engaging in a way that delights, surprises and informs the people you're trying to reach.
So for the umpteenth time, please take the time to participate. Learn about social media. Understand the psychology of connections, the intricacies of network theory and how the tools work.
And listen. Listen. Listen.
Then, once you've mastered the basics, here are five tips to get started:
- Ask yourself who you're trying to reach. Radio stations used to have pictures of their average listener to keep them inspired. Visualise your audience. Empathise with them. Understand what they want.
- Figure out where you want to be (the end game) and how social media will help you get there.
- Don't throw a party in the middle of nowhere and expect folks to show up. Consider the places your community goes to and hang out there; in other words, start with the platforms they know and trust.
- Get into a publisher's mindset. Have story meetings. Brainstorm. Establish an editorial calendar with the reader in mind.
- And when you do jump in, be entertaining, original, funny, smart, humble, quirky, insightful and always helpful, responsive and quick to acknowledge when you're wrong.
I's a long journey on a two-way street with lots of detours. But don't let that get you down. Better to be patient and enjoy the ride.
Do you have any other ideas to add?