In recent days I prepared and gave a presentation on branding for a PRSSA Conference at Central Michigan University, finishing up with a few thoughts on social media and its role in building both professional and personal brands. Pulling from personal experience as well as research, I came across a phrase that, I think, really sums up what social media is all about: People having conversations online.
As even the purported experts and specialists on the subject must surely admit (at least privately), we’re all trying to utilize and figure out this still emerging and evolving medium (Twitter, at 5 million users, for example is a mere ‘baby’ compared to Facebook’s 150 million). Still, some are doing a better job of utilization than others.
Effective tweets and Facebook entries are those that encourage, as the ‘online conversations’ phrase suggests, a dialogue—a two-way (or more) discourse. Social media, by its very name, should discourage one merely talking at another. I’m always amazed, when on Twitter, when I see someone that is “followed” (at least in numbers listed) but barely “following” anyone. To me that suggests an individual disinterested in what others think or say—and that’s missing the point of it all.
Rather, engaging others with open, honest, transparent and non-promotional thoughts, news and insights provides a glimpse into who you are, how you think and what you are about—and should pose a request for reciprocation.