I recently had the pleasure of catching Scott Stratten from UnMarketing, live and on fire, tackling the subject of social media, and I must say, this is one presentation you do not want to miss! I do not — repeat, do not — advocate skipping any of the points he makes (in fact, I recommend listening multiple times!), but if you must, advance to 42:30 and then start taking notes. It’s there that you may come to better understand my thoughts on Twitter SMACK — Social Media Active Conversation Killjoys.
But first, you should understand Why I Didn’t Originally “Get” or Enjoy Twitter…
I am one of those who tried Twitter, didn’t like it, left, and came back, this time with a different brand and focus. And like many, I started out following a number of big, influential social media names.
I’m still exercising my Twitter fledgling wings, but after a few months of being back on the platform, here are some of the observations I’ve made, disappointments I’ve experienced, and choices I now exercise to feel a bit more empowered when it comes to dealing with Twitter SMACK.
- Post after post of scheduled self-promotion from disinterested social robots is actually quite a bore. What I’m preparing to say might raise an eyebrow or two, but each time I receive a new follower notice, I now scroll through their feed with one assessment in mind: Do they routinely engage in conversation. If their feed doesn’t show at least three or four interactive posts in a full-screen scroll (you know … you scroll down the page ‘til the scroll bar reaches the bottom), it’s likely s/he won’t make my “Following” list, no matter how good the content might be.*
For those who are so busy (and, honestly, who of us is not?), here’s my suggested solution to scheduled posts: Consider regular live online sessions wherein you provide followers a sense of access, along with insight on the spontaneous you. Who knows, with both scheduled posts and live conversational sessions, you may just net yourself a lot of goodwill, with a bit of business on top!
- * The beauty of this prolific era of entrepreneurship is that there’s little harm in tuning out the self-promoting social robots because dozens of others are there to share the same content, but with more interaction and a social smile.
- An @mention is often worth noticing because you never know what you might otherwise miss. If someone makes the effort to reach out to you with an @mention, do what you can to ensure at least some form of acknowledgment, even if it means a quick “Favorite.”
Twice I have reached out to others (yes, @ tag mentions and all) with comments or queries meant to start a dialog for business I hoped to send their way. As these individuals had authored blog articles on the functions and management of a Twitter account (and were presumably capable of practicing what they preached), I remain perplexed by their silence, but steadfast in my decision to never bother them again.
You never know what you might have missed if you never even tried.
- Washing your hands of the unworthy by unfollowing the inactive may just leave you leaner on multiple fronts. As an introvert who was new to and uncertain about Twitter, I can still remember the crashing jolt of that first person who had apparently read the “unfollow” suggestions and then announced that they’d pared down their list (and they had; I saw less than 1,000 Following and Followers, and I no longer saw “Follows You”). I was most disappointed because just the day before I had given their new business Facebook page a shout-out and had planned to do the same on Twitter, with thoughts of directing a local person their way. It may seem selfish, but when they pronounced their disinterest in my being part of their social team, I lost all interest in being their social cheerleader.
For those who have yet to reach their Twitter follow threshold but subscribe to the numbers game of unfollowing, consider this: Someone who’s inactive may have a reason. Today’s quiet voice may be tomorrow’s loudest supporter, so long as they feel there’s something or someone to support. If you must thin the Twitter flock, be mindful of the how and why, considering a preliminary “may unfollow” private list to later monitor and ultimately decide. (On the remote chance you forget to mark such a list as private, you might also consider an obscure list name, just in case an individual were to check what lists they appear on.)
I’m still a self-proclaimed introvert, but I’m giving it what I’ve got — walking the walk and talking the talk, investing, as he says, in the social currency of Twitter. It’s my hope there will be somewhat of a social media movement back toward being more “social,” because otherwise I fear all we’ll have left is a sad state of Twitter SMACK.