Whenever I go to a networking event, it seems like there are two groups of people you always run into. The first sort is content to be there on the periphery, saying hi to people who greet them, and only really engaging in brief bits of conversation when people approach them to chat. Then, there’s the second group of people: these individuals are constantly bouncing around the room, making connections, instigating conversations, and sparking dialogue.
It’s this second group of people that will leave the networking session having made the most of their time there. They’ll have met new people and exchanged contact information, while maybe even having brokered some deals or business arrangements during the course of the affair. When they leave, they’ll have made an impression on others who were there, and will stick in the minds of those they chatted with long after the event has concluded – while those people belonging to that first group of individuals will go home without having made much of an impact at all.
Whether it’s at a face-to-face networking event, or when engaging with others online, I always try to be a part of that second, engagement-oriented group. After all, if you’re not looking to connect and be social, what’s the point of being on social media? To get the most out of your brand’s online marketing investments, it’s important to likewise model your behaviour in an outgoing fashion that will spark dialogue and encourage exchanges. Of course, like most other things, all of this is easier said than done – especially if you’re not normally someone who’s especially outgoing or gregarious. Regardless of your extroverted or introverted tendencies, read on – I’ll have you starting up conversations on social media in no time flat!
Be the Spark
A critical component of finding growth and being successful in the realm of social media is the ability to engage and converse with relative strangers on the world wide web. This comes easier to some than to others, but it all starts with your ability to spark dialogue and ignite discussions online. Here are some easy pointers to get you started down the right path to social media success:
- Don’t feel weird about it. This can be a real, honest-to-goodness hang-up for some people – they just feel strange initiating conversations with the perfect strangers that they meet online. If I can offer one word of advice, it’s this: don’t. To elaborate upon that a bit: don’t feel weird about it! When it comes to social media, this is the name of the game! If you see a picture you like, say so. If you read something and have a constructive point to add, reply back! It’s okay that you don’t know them; they don’t know you, nor do they know any of the other people they’re chatting with already. Social media is about engaging and growing your network – you’ll be talking with lots of people you don’t know, by necessity. It’s perfectly normal!
- Share new information. You know your industry better than anybody. Leverage this fact to create dialogue and drive conversation online! Post about new developments and current events going on within the world surrounding your business. Make sure to include a few relevant hashtags, and you’ll have conversations swirling around your Twitter handle before you know it!
- Seek out discussions. Speaking of hashtags, there’s almost no better way to seek out ongoing conversations than by searching up related or trending terms and joining the discussion. Don’t just jump in without any context, though – that’s a sure-fire way to lose credibility and earn the ire of the people already chatting with each other. Instead, read through the conversation thread first and ensure you have a good understanding of the topic at hand before adding your two cents. That way, you won’t be treading over ground that’s already been covered, and you’ll be able to contribute in a valuable manner.
- Ask questions. One great way to spark conversation – especially if you have an active or enthusiastic follower base – is to simply tweet out questions and start conversing with the people out there who reply back. This can be a great way as well to identify particularly-engaged followers as well, and can in some cases provide meaningful feedback for your business or brand.
- Share content that’s shareable. So, that might sound like a bit of a misnomer, but hear me out. One great way to get people talking is to share a piece of content that will really catch everyone’s attention – something like a video, an infographic, or even a really great photo. The trick is to make sure that whatever you’re sharing is inherently shareable. Don’t just post up any old link or picture, make sure it’s something you’d want to share if you came across it. Before you know it, you’ll have people sharing your post all over the internet. Conversation: generated!
That’s All There Is to It
And with that, you’re off the races! Sparking dialogue on social media is one of those things that gets easier and less awkward with both time and practice, but the only way to reach that comfort level is to just start doing it – so get out there, and start chatting and engaging with people today!
Are you still not sure what steps to take to start generating conversation on your social media channels? Does your need brand need help finding its voice before it can start sparking discussions online? No problem, just give me a call – I’ll go to work helping you and your brand get more comfortable engaging with others in the realm of social media today!