As 2012 fades into our rearview mirrors, it is time to reflect on the past year to identify what we did right (and wrong) and changes we need to make in 2013 to derive more value out of our social media efforts. I have listed a number of behaviours below which I have noted on a number of platforms which people should either do more of or stop immediately. By doing so, it will make these environments better for all.
Broadcast vs conversation
Twitter was developed specifically to support online social interaction. This implies bi-directional dialogue between many or multiple entities. Twitter is NOT an advertising billboard and people who use it to constantly broadcast advertising material should desist from doing so immediately. In order to maintain the integrity of this environment, this type of behaviour should result in Twitter accounts being closed down or blocked. I am not saying that broadcasting should stop but there has to be a healthy balance between broadcasts, retweets and conversation.
Keeping things current
I have followed links from person’s LinkedIn and Twitter profiles to “dated” blogs and websites. It is difficult to build online credibility when a person visits your blog and your last article was published three months ago. I am not saying that you need to publish daily but attempt to publish regularly. This needs to be applied to all the platforms you participate on.
If anyone wants to be blocked and deleted from my LinkedIn groups, post a job advert or promote yourself, your company, your products or your services on a discussion forum. Keep your updates relevant to the platform and the subject in question. If the LinkedIn group is titled “Executive Leadership” the discussion should revolve around “Executive Leadership”.
Keep the right company
As with all social interaction, like-minded people tend to hang out together. It stands to reason to apply the same principle on the digital platforms you are participating on. Make it very clear on your Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ profiles, LinkedIn groups and blog your “online commitment” to your connections, followers, friends, etc. and ensure that your content supports it.
Reciprocate appropriately and regularly
For those of you that publish content on a regular basis and want to extend your reach to a wider audience through social media influencers and brand advocates, reciprocation is very important. As you develop online relationships, it is possible to reach out to individuals every now and then (not too often, mind you) to ask them to retweet, share or promote a blog post, tweet, LinkedIn update or LinkedIn group discussion. If they agree to do this, please ensure that you do the same for them when they ask you.
If the person has a bigger online presence or influence, it is a good idea to promote their content way more than they did for you. If you have your eye on a particular social media influencer or celebrity who MAY support you, you may have to court them for some time before they notice you.
To maximise the return on you 2013 social media efforts, focus on keeping the right company, ensure your profile reflects your commitment to your audience, make sure your content is relevant and appropriate and work hard in identifying the right supporters and reciprocate when they help you promoting your content.