Do you Tweet? Do you Digg? Friend? Tumble? Stumble? Feed or blog? Quite possibly. Millions of people do. Latest figures show that in August Internet users spent 17 of their surfing time on social network and blogging sites. That’s almost three times the amount of time spent on such sites only a year ago and represents a fair fewnudges, pokes and posts as well as plenty of late nights. Jon Gibs, the vice president of media and agency insights at Nielsen the company who reported the figures believes the data reveals a fundamental shift in the use of
technology.”This growth suggests a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used.”
Social media is the future
People love to connect, communicate and share and clearly that desire is growing rapidly and now it’s easier than ever. Now it’s not just celebrities like Lily Allen, famous for starting and building her career around her Myspace page, or Twitter hot shots Steven Fry or M.I.A. or bloggers Perez Hilton or TMZ using social media as ‘life streams’. Everyone’s at it…. Well, nearly everyone, George Clooney was quoted this week as saying, “I would rather have a prostate exam on live television by a guy with very cold hands than have a Facebook page.” Nice one George. He’s in a minority though, as more and more people join the social media juggernaut every day; not only using it as a useful and fun way of keeping in touch with friends and sharing information, pictures or news, but also for business.
A popularity contest
Have you ever heard the expression,’it’s not a popularity contest’? Well when it comes to social media, they’re wrong. Popularity is the currency of social media success. Is there anything worse than being at a party watchingeveryone else having a great time yet feeling ignored,left out? Popularity matters and it matters big time. Who can’t resist looking at how many friends or followers their friends have? It’s only natural. Popularity is often seen as an endorsement of quality. Surely more than 3 million Ashton Kutcher fans can’t be wrong? Can they? And it’s a self-perpetuating thing – the more fans you have, the more you acquire. What’s even better than raw popularit though is qualified popularity, being followed, friended or liked by people who you like too – people who you can relate to and who’s input into your social media-sphere leaves your life, your internet, your business a happier more satisfying and more profitable experience. Friends for friend’s sake will end up sooner or later (most likely sooner) as exhausting, tedious and dull – a waste of your precious time. When it comes to the business benefits of Social Media, or Social Media Marketing, SMM, as the experts call it, whilst not a choosy as people looking for kicks, businesses too might want to focus their attentions on relevant prospects.
So the big question is. How to
Well, contrary to what many would have you believe, there really is no great secret. It’s easy. Be famous! Seriously though, for the 99.99999 of us who don’t star in movies, top the charts or commit massive corporate fraud, what is it we can do that can help build our friends lists and for businesses, our influence,reach and competitive advantage? Well the first thing to do is to simply ask yourself what makes people popular in their ‘real’, offline worlds. What is it about popular people that appeals to and attracts other people to want to spend time with them,to trust them and to want to befriend them? All these same factors bear strongly on how you are perceived online too. Here’s a short list of guidelines guaranteed to improve your online popularity with exactly the sort of people you want to be friends with.
Smile in your pictures, your avatars and smile in your written tone. People are naturally attracted to positivity. You know what they say, ‘if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything.’ Respect others and their opinions. Sure a little controversy, a little polite disagreement can draw a lot of attention but trolling, being disrespectful will get you nowhere in the long run.
Adding value to the experience of anyone who has the pleasure of your online company adds value to you, whether you are just being you or representing a company. Make the engagement worthwhile by sharing something that benefits your audience. A link, advice, news, even a compliment – people like valuable people.
Dare to be
Dare to be the kind, considerate person or company that you really are. There’s nowhere and there’s no need to hide online. Good and bad news travels fast. Rather than playing games with your personal or professional persona why not dare to be yourself. Many companies are finding the whole SMM experience liberating AND profitable, enjoying the conversation and letting it reveal their true strengths whilst highlighting and strengthening their weaknesses. Dare to be different. It’s a wide world web – make yourself visible by differentiating yourself. Get creative and try to draw clear blue water between you and everyone else. Easier said than done, but enormously rewarding if you succeed. Just ask Apple or Radiohead. Dare to be passionate. Don’t fake it, feel it. There’s room online for everyone, especially the sincere, the genuine and the committed. Whatever you believe in, believe with conviction. You’ll be amazed how positively people will respond.
Interest and Empathy
If you care, then don’t be afraid to show it. People love it when others show interest or concern in a blog or a tweet. Participate. Be prepared to take the initiative, the first step in expanding your network.
The world doesn’t
revolve around YOU.
Instead of just talking about yourself, your life, your problems or whatever, offer advice, insight and guidance to help others. Offer value. This is particularly powerful way for businesses to attract new potential customers, for example though blogs that share advice and know-how revealing an expertise in a particular subject. Last and most certainly not least
Enjoy the conversation and respect the conversation enough so it can enjoy you too.