* This is a re-post of the guest post I wrote for The Inspiring Bee
This might sound like a beginner question, but it really isn’t. Whether you are a business or an individual, this is an issue you will struggle with throughout your social media life.
So, how do you talk to people?
Learning how to use social media is more than just posting an occasional update on Twitter or Facebook. Let’s look at some tips to make sure you are reaching your audience, starting conversations, meeting people and adding value.
- Do you have a voice?
You need to know what your voice is going to be. Are you Personal? Professional? Advisor? Jovial? Cynical? Are you centering this on yourself or your business? Finding your voice is central to your branding and an important key to talking with people.
- Are you posting at the time of day your audience is on Twitter or Facebook?
You want to make sure that your extremely valuable opinion is being expressed when your audience is online. Make sure you are active when you audience is active.
- Are you reaching your audience?
Do you know who your audience is? Peers? Potential clients? Topical blog readers? Shoppers? Who are you trying to reach – and are you talking to them? Many times I have seen people with good Twitter followings, but when they are trying to reach potential clients they are only talking to peers. Then they wonder why they don’t get leads.
- Talk to your audience
So you found your audience, but are you talking to them? Reach out and do not be afraid to make the first step. If you are on Twitter, mention them in a tweet. If you are on Facebook, comment on an interesting wall post or post a “Nice to meet you” on their wall. All you need to do is reach out, and most likely the person will respond. And if they don’t? Don’t give up on one try. Reach out again. Even if you don’t reach them, you might reach some of their followers.
- Hashtags will get you in.
Hashtags (a pound sign next to a keyword or topic, e.g.#business) let people searching for a specific topic easily find tweets about that topic. They are a great way to join in on a conversation. If you are posting about a topic, research the tags being used for that topic and use them. Even if you are not responding to someone else’s tweet, someone might see yours and begin a conversation. This is great for finding a topic-related audience.
Retweeting is a great way to start an exchange. If you see something you like, retweet it and share it with your followers. Most likely the person will thank you for the retweet, and this opens up the opportunity for a chat.
- Join the conversation
If someone asks a question and you know the answer to it, tweet them the answer. If someone is having a discussion that is interesting, jump right in. If they didn’t want people to participate, they would not be having it publicly. Instead of doing just a simple retweet, do a retweet with a comment like “Great post” or “Interesting, did you also like….”. Comments like this will help foster discussion.
- Go Like pages!
Find pages you like and are compatible with your social media goals; networking, branding, sales, clients, peer relations. Go out and be generous with Liking other pages. After all, it doesn’t cost you anything but it can bring you benefits. After you Like them, post something on the wall, even if it is a simple hello.
- Tag Tag Tag
Tagging people in a post is the best way to passively network. To tag someone, all you have to do is type @ and then their name, or the name of a page. This will put a link to the person or page in your post. By tagging, not only are you linking to them, but your post will also appear on their wall. Now all their friends and fans can see your post and you might get some new friends/fans. It is also a great way to casually introduce someone to your friends/fans, which is usually highly appreciated by the person you tagged.
- Join the conversation
Hop on your newsfeed and see what your friends and favorite pages are posting, then comment on their posts. Everyone likes interactions on their posts, so why not interact? If you see a lot of comments, then definitely join in the conversation. Add something to the discussion, or comment about the original post. Your comment goes out to every person who commented or Liked the post before you. The networking opportunities are amazing!
Lauren MacEwen is a social media strategist and avid blogger. She focuses on engagement marketing, a style of marketing designed to help you reach and communicate with your target audience. She has blogged extensively about social media, and often speaks about blogging and social media strategy.
Read her blog at www.smcubedconsulting.com