Social Media Guide to Online Communities
Let me set the stageâ€¦ picture a cocktail partyâ€¦
The guest list is a pretty special one, itâ€™s all your existing and potential customers.Â Some have already heard about you â€“ perhaps it was on TV or the billboards â€“ but youâ€™ve never spoken before. Some of them youâ€™ve already had the pleasure of meeting, you think they like you, but canâ€™t be sure.
Youâ€™ve come alone, and itâ€™s pretty awkward.
Determined, you wrench yourself away from the sausage platters and uncomfortably head towards a group of guests deep in conversation.
Thereâ€™s a few ways this scenario will play out:
a) You stand awkwardly at the fringes of the group too shy to make an introduction, then laugh at one of the jokes but all that comes out is a prepubescent squeak. After twenty minutes you decide to call it a night. You probably wonâ€™t come back, the whole ordeal was uncomfortable and they obviously donâ€™t want to speak to you.
b) You interrupt the conversation and chime in with an introduction â€œHey Iâ€™m a Brand and I sell productsâ€, everyone stares at you blankly and then reluctantly accepts your ill-placed high-five. You notice the group starts to dissipate, theyâ€™re being polite, but really dude youâ€™re creeping everyone out (OTT much!). Oblivious you move on to the next group or cling on to one unfortunate soul who is now seething inside that he even came to the event.
c) You join the conversation, adding that youâ€™d overheard them talking about travel to Malta and read this amazing article about the country a few months back, you can share it with them later. They smile and hold out a handshake. You end up staying for most of the night and a few of the guests mention another gathering happening next week â€“ theyâ€™d love to have you along.
[Social media, as in life, is the art of understanding, relating to and connecting with people.]
Now tell me, which approach will have the most impact? Most marketers have been taught how to talk the talk but the real way to win your tribe online isnâ€™t by advertising to them, by bullshitting them, or trying to push celebrity spokespeople and technology in their face. Social media, as in life, is the art of understanding, relating to and connecting with people.
But What If Weâ€™re Not Party People?
You donâ€™t have to be the school jock to be in to win â€“ you just have to be the rockstar in your particular niche. Nick Burcherâ€™s nine party-crashing concepts are a good place to start:
- Know why you are going before you get there
- Think about the sort of entrance you want to make (quiet or loud)
- Respect the host
- Be helpful and useful
- Donâ€™t stand in the corner expecting people to come to you
- Slowly get to know the attendees one by one
- Engage in conversation
- Stay for the evening, not just the first five minutes
- Aim to be invited next time!
Remember: as any good guest you need to stop talking about yourself! Itâ€™s not that customers arenâ€™t impressed with your witty marketing moniker, itâ€™s that â€” oh, you got me, Iâ€™m lying. They arenâ€™t impressed.
So leave the mediocratic claptrap at the door and be honest, open, and useful and youâ€™ll soon become that person that everyone wants at their party.
Main image by The Turtleneck Club