Interactivity—The Obvious Secret to Social Media

Social MediaI guess it’s a new world order.  Control has been replaced with influence.  And the tremendous exchange of everything from financial information to a simple “like” on Facebook has made interactivity the word of the future.  Interactions have now become a currency where brands and individuals seek out a level of validation—and power.  And in a funny way, this newfound power becomes the surrogate for control.

But interactivity is a two-way street.  And that’s best articulated in the name “social media.”  It’s  media and it’s social.  Pushing out one-way messages doesn’t fulfill the promise of social media.  A classic example is the Dalai Lama.  He has over 7 million followers on Twitter.  Yet he follows no one.  I’ll bypass the philosophical interpretation and cut right to the chase.  His social media currency isn’t very good.  And his utility as part of the social media community is limited by his one-sided communication.  Another interesting example is the pharmaceutical industry. It’s an industry that is generally regulated and has a guarded posture.  It often uses social media as more of a billboard for announcements than a basis for engagement.  And while adverse drug events and a host of other legal and regulatory issues support that position, I think it’s time for pharma…and even the Dalai Lama to say hello!

Get interactive—simple rules for building a great social media base.

Step ONE: Follow and follow back

Find people you like, have an interest in, or just take a chance—but follow people.  You’ll be surprised how much you can learn just from listening.

Step TWO: Say hello and thank you

But after you listen, follow up with a comment or retweet.  Even the biggest thought-leader gets a sense of gratification from a simple comment.  And always feel free to thank someone for an engagement.  It’s an easy and quick way to start to build a relationship.

Step THREE:  Engage with your network

The amazing thing about Twitter is that you can get on someone’s radar.  So, if you have an interesting idea or comment, let people know by including their handle on your tweet.  Be careful, you want to be engaging, and not a stalker.

Step FOUR: Add value, even if it’s just a small amount

Content is still king.   Don’t be afraid to enter a conversation or hashtag dialogue.  You can start small, but you have to start.  May people use Twitter as a static tool and only listen.  If you’re doing that, you’re missing a great opportunity to be part of a community.

Step FIVE: Think about blogging

Blogging is emerging as an essential tool to building a social media presence.  It also communicates that you’ve arrived in the digital world.  Your blog doesnt have to be a brilliant discourse, but it can start with reposted stories, photos and other ideas.  In the final analysis, Facebook is a blog-like narrative of your life that is easy to use.  It’s almost as simple to create your own blog and tell your story and build your own brand!

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