In business, how you communicate online (through social networks) will determine how successful you are. Businesses need to think of communicating online more as a private party: if you have an invite, then you’re in, but if you’re trying to gatecrash then everyone will turn into ‘Buba’ the bad ass doorman…! – and they’re all qualified to issue you a SMASBO (Social Media Anti-Social Behaviour Order) on the spot!
I don’t think that you’ll be surprised that these offline rules also apply online, but more so as you’ve an obligation to disclose you’re intentions and be fully transparent — that way you’ll begin to make allies within the communities that you would like to be part of.
Interruption… more like disruption marketing(!)
And this is where I have ‘issues’ with how some organisations use traditional forms of communications, for the most part, they try to distract me from where I want to focus my attention: TV ads, magazine ads, bus stop ads etc all want me to stop what I’m doing and give them 15–30 seconds of my time. And in some cases online, through rich media, although they’re more ‘interactive’ you’re still limited to a context that is largely interrupt driven.
If someone’s browsing at work the chances are that they are searching for some specific work related content. At home, when they go online, the individual is looking to relax, learn, engage with friends or to be entertained. Their/our time is precious… and this kind of approach needs to be re-considered…
Be interested and be interesting
How you conduct yourself in a social context is key to you being accepted. The main point to remember is to work with the people that are already a part of the community and then become part of it. Establish your value and develop a sense of respect for the people there — it will be reciprocated. Gauge the tone of the community by listening (reading old posts) and then responding (chat). Learn what triggers certain types of conversations and view these as potential future points to reflect on.
Within the social media networks, you have the same responsibility that comes with being invited to party — just remember that you’d like to be invited back again right! If you get it right, you’ll be able to talk with your audience on a level that will not happen anywhere else…