I’ve always thought of Social Media as an extension of my offline activities. Imagine going to a dinner party where you didn’t know anyone. Each person would bring conversational topics to the table and you will soon get chatting. You’d find out a lot about each other, what each other does for a living, what they like and you’d find shared ground to build your conversations on whether it be Children, cats, cars or sport. You’d come away liking some of the people you met and their names would jump to mind next time someone required a particular service product or skill.
Imagine now being at the same dinner party and each of you just tried to tell you about their job and why they should hire you. Everyone, at the same time, trying to get their sales pitch in, no two way conversation just a constant sales patter with everyone shouting over each other. Sometimes Social Media sites look like this, sometimes I think we’re forgetting about the social in social media.
Whatever social media we partake in we mustn’t forget to converse
Blogging is content creation, can this be a conversation? – Yes, good content is a good way to get people to your website, to capture leads and make sales but it’s not static. People can participate by leaving comments or by sharing your content to their own social networks in order to spark discussion.
Here on my own blog I find the comments very informative. Not only do I discover what issues people are having with social media but I find that other people jump in to answer questions if I am slow. This is great as I can learn from the people who engage with me and other readers.
To encourage more conversation on your posts leave an open ended question, ask for opinions or leave it unfinished.
Bloggers also need to be proactive, get involved in conversations on other blogs by commenting. This will help you become part of the blogging community as well as giving you the opportunity to share your expertise.
It is on Facebook that we are most forgetful about conversation. We can become obsessed with pumping out content without thinking about communicating with other businesses but if you make the effort you will find that Facebook for business can be a great place to connect with other businesses who target the same audience you do and to get referrals and shares.
Here’s some ideas for getting into conversations on Facebook:
- Business mode – When you log into your Facebook page via your personal profile do you access it via the cog on the top right hand side of your page? When you do this you go into ‘Business Mode’, you are now using Facebook in your business name and any comments shares or likes come from your business rather than yourself.
Whilst in Business Mode you should find pages that share your target market, not competitors but businesses that you have a synergie with. If you are a local business this could be other nearby businesses, if you sell products aimed at the family it would be other family businesses, if you work in tourism it would be other tourist related pages.Once you have ‘Liked’ these pages in business mode you should make an effort to review their posts on a daily basis in your business newsfeed (click ‘Facebook’ on the top left hand side of the blue toolbar). Like and comment on their posts when appropriate and share them when they offer value to your followers.
- Messaging – Once you have started to build a relationship with other businesses in business mode you can take the next step. You will need to use Facebook as yourself, not in business mode for this next phase.Visit the Facebook page of the business you want to connect with and send them a Message explaining who you are. If you have liked or commented on something they have done on Facebook recently make reference to it and then ask if there is anything you can do to help them spread the word or if there is some way you can work together. This will work equally well if you want to sell to them.
- Interest lists – Again this is something you will need to do from your personal profile. Interest lists work like Twitter lists, they gather together the content from a specific group of people and pages so that you can view it separately from your main Facebook newsfeed. You don’t have to Like a page in order to add them to an interest list so it is a great way of keeping an eye on competitors as well as potential customers. It’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss anything from the pages you care about. I’ll be creating a video on creating and viewing interest lists over the next couple of weeks so watch this space.
- Sharing – I’ve touched on this above but if you want to look generous it’s a good idea to share content from other pages, you should work this into your content schedule. Make sure it’s relevant and interesting to your target market.
Next week I’ll be sharing my tips for conversations on Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+.
Do you have any tips for conversations? If so I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.