Disciplines Engaged: Think, Write, Move, Laugh
Me neither. Listen, I’m Irish, which means that I never use 100 words when 500 will do. Trying to distill coherent ideas down to 140 characters? Well that feels at least unnatural, and practically immoral.
And as much as I tried to wait Twitter out, for the world to move onto something that was more my speed and better suited to how I communicated, at some point I realized that this damn thing isn’t likely to go away and my absence from it was rendering me more irrelevant than I wanted to be. The truth is that I haven’t been nearly as engaged in social media as I should have been. But about a year ago, I began thinking about social media from a pure business perspective.
Think about if you went back to 1985 (because we all know that time travel always revolves around the year 1985). So, it’s 1985 and you’re a business owner and someone hands you a new, ENTIRELY FREE, way to get your business’s story and your brand in front of thousands, even millions of potential customers. How quickly would you have turned off your cassette player and rolled up the sleeves of your Members-Only jacket to pay close attention?
- Instead of having to pay to conceive, write, design, print, and mail your messages to potential clients…
- Instead of having to pay to write, produce, and air television and radio commercials…
- Instead of using the newspaper or windshield flyers or massive billboards to market your business…
Instead, you could do most or all it without leaving your desk and maybe without spending a dime … well, maybe that’s a new way for you to think about social media.
So, the question becomes how to get started and meaningfully engaged in social media without having to compromise your dignity. The simple answer is content, but that’s just the start. Here are some additional ideas:
- Put some thought behind your content. In what areas are you an authority? Where do you have particular expertise or access to information, even if it’s not your own? What books have you read that you can relate back to your business? What stories and anecdotes have arrived from your clients or your business experiences that you love to tell?
- Start writing about all of those things and turn those stories and ideas into content on your website. It doesn’t have to be long – 300 to 500 words will suffice.
- Get regular about it. Whether you’re the type, as I am, who likes to jam out a bunch of copy all at once or you need to discipline yourself to write something once a week, figure out what works for you.
- Find the person at your place who knows how to set up a blog on your site or figure out how to do it yourself (hint: It’s not difficult).
- Take the things you write and pull 6 or 7 small ideas out of the content and turn them into short statements of 140 characters or less and drip them out over the course of a week or a couple of weeks over various social media channels.
- When you see smart and relevant content on social media that arrives from other sources, retweet or otherwise forward it. Your clients and prospects will begin to rely on you as someone whose presence should be followed and respected.
- Recognize that the value of social media is integrating it with a full spectrum of marketing and communications activities and that its value will be both difficult to measure and will arrive to you over time, not with one single post.