Social Media is all about conversations and connections. Does that mean we business owners have to the discard numbers and figures we’ve always used to measure success?
Last week on Twitter, Lancaster Connections Magazine (@ConnectLanc) posed the question “How often do you tweet?”.
It garnered a number of answers, but Steve Odonnell’s (@odonnellsteve) input caught my attention.
Steve makes a good point, and I agree completely. Twitter is not an advertising channel. Pushing out information about what you do, if it’s relevant, is ok, but only sometimes. Let’s be realistic here. Unless you have something useful to say, something that fulfills a need, that is interesting, funny, poignant, or, unsurprisingly, engaging, people don’t have any reason to listen or respond.
It’s tough to build up any kind of rapport or trust if you’re the only one doing the talking.
It’s also tough to measure success if you’re not tracking your activities. Please don’t get me wrong, I’ve never discussed social media with Steve, and I’m not disagreeing with him, or even implying that he’s saying conversations and metrics are mutually exclusive. Quite the opposite in fact, Steve’s tweet sparked an idea for me.
When you regularly have something useful to say, tracking becomes easier. Do something often enough and you see patterns beginning to emerge. Larger sample, better data. Basic statistics, right?
As you engage, have conversations, and yes, make mistakes, you discover what people care about. Recently, for instance, I’ve discovered that people care a great deal that Christchurch, New Zealand (my hometown) was just hit by a huge earthquake. These are people I know and like, sure, but New Zealand is also a country thousands of miles away. (Thanks to everyone who got in touch, by the way. It means a lot). Not only does it make me feel good, it’s also an interesting insight into the kind of people we’re connected with on Twitter.
What it comes down to it this: The more you participate, the easier it is to see what works and what doesn’t.
In social media marketing, it’s still tough to pin up a dollar amount as a target and call it success. On the other hand, it’s very easy to tell how many people you’ve reached on any given day, what they like to hear from you, who they shared it with, and what they’re not interested in. These are things that we can track, and should. Its a lot easier to do that if what you say is interesting. Here’s the second part of my answer to @connectlanc which, probably due to space, wasn’t retweeted:
I can tell you how often we tweet on average (2-3/day is about right) and how many times we tweeted on Wednesday (5 tweets) because we track those numbers. I can also tell you what subject material people who follow us respond well to (timely information about social media, and more personal messages about what we’re doing) and what they ignore (no one we’re connected with cared about New Zealand’s soccer world cup run, except for me and @christophervogt who is the only other person I’ve ever heard bring it up.)
Does the fact that I know these things cheapen my interactions with people on Twitter? I don’t think so. In fact, I think this information makes for BETTER interaction. Because I know it, I can talk with others about things they’re really interested in.
Who would you rather talk to at a party? The loud sweaty guy who yaps around himself all the time, or someone who shares your interests?
Don’t be the sweaty guy.
Like Steve said, its all about conversation.