When we say party we don’t mean a political party like Labour or Conservative or even a kids party – we’re talking a Burning Man festival kinda party, full of intense and colourful characters that could one day be your customers or better still your fans.
Social Media is a party that businesses, like you and I, weren’t exactly invited to so if we’re gonna turn up we had better bring along something great…
So picture this: you turn up to the address a friend gave you, some big place with a Gazebo out back. You can hear the music, chatter and the clinking of bottles so up the path you go, the door is open.
First things first you need to find those friends in between the mass of bodies, speak to them, tell them you’re here, fill their cup up and thank them for the invite – if it wasn’t for them you wouldn’t be here.
Now you’re in.
A new place, new people and new opportunities for meaningful relationships. You can bite your tongue and keep quiet sipping your beer in a corner somewhere but be warned; acting like this will do nothing for you, if anything being there but silent is worse than not being there at all! Perhaps from this corner you blurt something out every once in a while. Oops. These outbursts are never in any kind of context or theme and the handful of people that hear just ignore you.
Take 2 you’re ready to actually meet some people at this party, you head to the kitchen, everyone knows that’s the place to go at parties, you pull out a six pack of some artisanal craft beer, Badgers Monocle it’s called and you share them out. ‘What a nice person’ you hear people say. Hah. Then it comes. You unleash a tirade of statements, some about the weather, some about your achievements, likes, dislikes, buy this, sale now on and no you don’t wait for answers you just speak speak speak. You speak at rather than to. Of course people get irritated, you’re clogging up the convo and doing yourself no favours, what a turn off.
You need to hone your party etiquette megaphone-mouth.
Okay take 3, don’t blow it this time. Think before you speak. Out comes what sounds like a frantic elevator pitch; dry, boring, useless business stuff but don’t fret, take a sip of that Dutch courage, loosen up, relax and try again. This time you ask a question.
The conversation begins, interactions that engage people, you’re showing an interest in them, you’re learning and drawing more people in. Soon enough you’re busting out jokes, you do that thing where you stick your hand in your armpit and make silly noises, you’re entertaining. With other party guests you’re supporting them, giving advice and helping them find answers to their questions, like a guru but with beer breath.
Now you’re speaking to people on a one to one basis, no megaphone in sight. The stuff you’re saying is useful, light hearted and conversational. These aren’t customers, yet, they’re friends and who knows when the time comes you could end up with some pretty nice ones that want a bit of what you’ve got (we’re talking about them buying stuff from you). You’re pulling them in with your charm, wit and understanding rather than pushing sales – like the billboard or TV ads of yore. Showing some character, personality and speaking with people in a conversational manner goes a long way, after all this is a party, with booze not a staid networking event with sad sandwiches.
Social media is like a party, there’s no point going if you’re not going to be, well, social. That means creating conversation, listening and asking questions. Engage people with stories that are relevant, make them feel something so that when they wake up the next morning, impending hangover on the way, they remember you said and smile.
So next time you share something on social transport yourself to your audience’s shoes, be empathic. Do they want to read this? If you were them, would you respond? Is it as memorable as an armpit fart?
Empathy helps create meaningful connections with the people you want to speak to and engage.