The current social media landscape is a big cocktail party, and everyone is invited.
Expect lots of mingling, lots of opinions, and, if all goes well, lots of fun. It can be a chance for you to make contact with friends from the past, maybe make new friends and even future clients. You can wow people with what you know and maybe even leave them laughing.
Just like a work party, you kind of have to be there, even if you’re not a fan of these things and prefer to sit in the back, minding your own business. There’s enough of a spotlight for everyone but you have to head for it.
6. Don’t be a wallflower. Anyone can sit and watch a Facebook news feed or Twitter stream all day, just like observing the crowd at a get-together. It does take a bit of effort to jump in if you’re new at this. Doing so is as easy as liking or commenting on someone’s Facebook post, answering a Twitter question or liking or sharing a Pinterest photo. If you’re still uncomfortable, perhaps hire a professional writer.
5. Start a topic. Even if the crowd is discussing something you’re not familiar with, hashtags allow you to steer the conversation to something familiar, and invite people to join you.
4. Be friendly but not too friendly. Once you’ve met interesting people, slowly build this friendship. Chime in now and then on future posts. Endorse them on LinkedIn. But don’t push too hard or be stalker-esque by commenting on everything they say and do or start sending direct messages right away.
3. Show pictures. It used to be that people showed photos of their kids in their wallets, then their smart phones. But now it’s easy to post a photo as your Facebook status or update your Instagram album, and just as easy for your friends to like or comment on your photos. Return the favor by checking out their albums.
2. Drive people to your site. Once you show up, people will start checking you out. If you have a complete profile and easy links to follow, they’ll likely be more inclined to take a peek. Likewise, if your ‘About’ section is kind of skimpy or doesn’t fit the scene, (you did erase those old frat party photos, didn’t you?) you’ll either be ignored or even blocked.
1. Don’t oversell. You know the guy who only talks about his business, and makes it a point to hand his card to everyone in the room? Yeah, he’s not going to be invited back. Likewise, if all you do is push your service or product on your personal page or Twitter feed, people will be reluctant to interact with you very long. Some social media experts even suggest a 1:10 ratio of one business-related post for every 10 non-business posts. This will show you’re well-rounded, interested and interesting. And when they happen to need what you’re selling, they’ll know how to find you.
Joe B is a longtime marketing professional and technology writer. He sometimes likes parties.