Social Is As Social Does

by Shonali Burke on December 1, 2010

TruceBy now, all the hype around social media – and the numerous articles and panel discussions about this topic – means you probably can talk the talk when it comes to social media.

You know the difference between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs. You have an idea about how you can and should use each one. You know the standard refrain: Social media is about talking with – not talking to – your audience.

But are you walking the walk?

What do I mean?

It’s not just about whether you’re using these different outlets. It’s about how you’re using them. More importantly, it’s about how you’re interacting on them.

Image: Lee Summers via Flickr, Creative Commons

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you commenting on other people’s blogs? Have you commented on more than one posting on this site? Or other blogs?
  • Are you engaging in conversations? For example, are you responding to other people’s tweets with your own thoughts on a particular issue? Are you RT’ing other people’s messages?
  • Are you commenting on Facebook status updates? And more important, are you SHARING other people’s status updates with your community?

Because it’s not enough to be in the social media space if you’re only there to project your message.

I’ve made it a real point to share other people’s Facebook updates, and almost every time I’ve done so I’ve gotten a nice message from the person thanking me for doing so. I know that by doing so, I’m strengthening my relationship with that person or organization. And business thrives on relationships.

I’ve also made it a point to come here and comment on other contributors’ blog posts and respond to other people’s postings on LinkedIn groups.

Because social media is all about creating a community.

When you go to an event, you don’t sit there in silence, listen, and then leave. You talk with the other people who are there. You ask questions. You engage.

You have to do that in the social media sphere as well… and yes, it does take time. But it’s time well spent.

Because I think we can all agree that we’re more likely to do a favor for, forge a business partnership with or hire someone with whom we’ve had some interaction… not just someone whose voice we’ve heard echoing in the social media bandwidth.

So my challenge to all our WBG readers is to go out and become a true member of this community and other communities where you’ve been a silent lurker. Be a voice, and be one that does more than start new conversations.

Be one that carries on others’ conversations.

More from Women Grow Business:

Robin Ferrier is the editor of What’s Next, Gen Y? and Communications Manager for the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus. She is also the President of the Capital Communicators Group and the co-chair of the Marketing Committee for the Tech Council of Maryland. She has inadvertently become a frequent career / professional / job hunt resource for friends and colleagues due to a career path that has included five jobs in 12 years.

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