Building relationships on Twitter

This post is will serve me in two ways: first, I want to share my appreciation to all my super-awesome followers with whom I’m having great conversations; second, I want to express my frustration towards all the “silent” connections who press the “follow” button, but don’t respond to any sort of communication from my side.

Over the last couple of months I have started to reap the benefits of maintaining an active twitter presence. I have met great people with whom I am constantly exchanging information and thoughts on a broad range of topics – from the simplicity of daily life to the complexity of the social media world. These conversations have richly expanded my mindset and also became foundations for a lot of great relationships. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of these friends in person – with the rest I hope to meet in the very near future. To all of you I want to say this:

THANK YOU! YOU ARE AWESOME!

That being said, I am about to turn my attention to those people who decide to follow me, but I have never heard from them. Even after I’ve tried to start a conversation. I appreciate the fact that you are interested in what I have to say, but how about saying “Hello” or at least respond to my personal message to YOU?! I take a moment of my time and make an effort to get to know you – I look at your profile picture, read your bio, check your website/blog (in case you have one), and write a thank you note with the intention to hear back from you and start a dialogue. And I get back nothing from you in return. What benefit do you see in approaching someone without caring about this person? Well, I don’t care too much about this, to be honest. As I said: I appreciate your interest and I am doing my part. Plus, I have plenty of awesome people to talk with, so there’s nothing to lose for me.

If you’ve read this post and you belong to the first group of people I mentioned I say THANK YOU once more. If you belong to the other group and never responded to my invitation – thank you as well, but what’s your reason for using social media? But if you read this post and want to drop me a line – feel free to do so – you’ll hear back from me!

Cheers!

Commenting on blogs

A lot has been written around the web about commenting on blogs. And it seems that this is an ongoing discussion which will not end soon because our attitudes and behaviours online are constantly evolving – in line with all the new technological advancements that seem to occur on a daily basis. Recently, I had a similar discussion with my friend Katina Kostova. We talked about the reasons why some people barely (if at all) comment on blogs? In our short correspondence several points are worth mentioning here, I think.

First, there is the fact that majority of active online users are only consumers of information. They are not looking for a discussion on a certain topic or to build relationships with the writers. And if they want to react to what they’ve just read, it is much easier to click on the “share” button and continue to the next post or article. To tackle this behaviour, readers need to show discipline and start to comment on a regular basis. Given enough time this activity will become almost like a habit. Leaving comments on a regular basis will leave an impression with the other participants in the conversation who will start to recognize the name of the commenter.

Second, there seems to be a trend in shifting the discussion from the blogs to other social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Sharing through these platforms takes much less time, it’s easier to write a short note with the link than writing a long comment in the blog, and the chance that more people will be exposed to the note/comment is higher.

Third, there might be some psychological barriers to commenting on blogs. Some people might be afraid of confrontation or scared of insulting the author. They might prefer to share their opinion and critique privately – directly to the author, rather than stating them openly in the public. Furthermore, the person writing the comment might feel uncertain or insecure. One might not feel competent enough about the topic or as knowledgeable as the other participants who are leaving comments and simply avoid joining the conversation.

These are some of the reasons we covered in our short talk. I am sure that there are other reasons that stop people from commenting on blogs. I would love to hear from you and read your own thoughts on the subject.

Social media training for your company

Time to learn!

Today, Radian6 published their new eBook called “Training your company for social media.” I just finished reading it and I can honestly recommend it to anyone who is working towards implementation of social media within their organisation. It is concise and to the point. Reading it will not take you more than half an hour and at the end you will have a really smart framework to plan a social media training program.

Download the ebook from here!

In a previous post I’ve written about the importance of educating and integrating social media within the organisation and with the knowledge that Radian6 are providing it is now much easier to start working on these objectives. I took a few notes while reading the book and here I will present you some of my takeaways. Of course, I encourage you to download the full document and read in depth how you can design a social media training course.

Here are my notes:

– Hiring a “digital native” intern won’t solve your problems – even the most skilled social networkers require training

– Employees can be divided in several categories based on technological adoption and probably there are at least two of these groups within your organisation:
– digital native
– savvy technologist
– reluctant user
– digital contrarian
– digital newbie
It is necessary to educate all your employees – Victory loves preparation!

– Track and report results on a regular basis; social media monitoring tools are essential and require training

– Train employees to be aware of the brand’s digital footprint

– Designing your training program will require a clear understanding of the expectations and needs of your different departments – holding conversations about the objectives of social media with the different teams is a must before actual training begins

– Current employees can form your social media training team or if you have the resources you can choose an external advice

– Your training framework should include topics from the very basic concepts of social media to the more complex fields of social media measurement and influence

– It is essential that you trust your employees and give them freedom of expression – as long as it is in line with the social media guidelines you have put in place already

– Mistakes will happen – do not panic, deal with it quickly and in a transparent way

– Be human and provide excellent customer service through your social media channels

– “Keep engagement natural, effective, and … human.”

Do you understand all of these?

I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did. I am also curious about your experience with social media training. Have you participated in similar programs or designed a course like this? What can you add? Let me know in the comments!

Integrating social media within the organisation

Integrating social media within all departments and educating employees about it are important tasks each organisation must undertake in order to survive, stay relevant and benefit in today’s world. These interrelated processes of integration and education can create communication opportunities for your organisation – both internally and externally.

Internally, it will facilitate a better understanding of organisational culture, goals and new developments. Employees who are taking part in various social networks can connect with each other and move online the discussions they have during their lunch or coffee brake. They might talk about personal topics, but also cover subjects about their employer, the business day and other activities surrounding the organisation.

Externally, your employees will be “out there” in the online world where your past, current and potential customers are. They all become contacts to the organisation and also, its ambassadors. People interested about new products or job opportunities, for instance, can find your employees and approach them at any time. And both parties can start an interaction that can greatly benefit the organisation and its customers.

In fact, there is a big opportunity here. First, by integrating and educating about social media within the borders of your organisation, your employees have the opportunity to see the big picture and understand better who and why are they working for such an organisation. And second, because your employees can now become more engaged with and know better the organisation – they are more likely to positively portray it to the outside world. And I don’t mean just the online, but also the real, physical, world.

A recent development, brought out yesterday by LinkedIn, will stress the importance of integration and education about social media within organisations. The network is allowing it’s users to use new sharing features on their personal and corporate websites. Profile and company badges that show who works for your organisation can now be added to your webpage. Follow this link to learn more about these new tools.

Transparency has become an inherent feature of the successful modern organisation. I don’t think any organisation can avoid being transparent now. Of course, there are certain things that will always stay private and within the borders of organisations (and they should be). But the communication reality is changing, or should I say evolving, constantly to more and higher levels of openness.

My definition of social media

I just had a dream. It was a strange dream: I dreamt about social media. Or at least, there was a moment in this dream where I finally defined “social media” for myself.

For quite some time I was looking to formulate a simple and short explanation for my own use about what “social media” is. And also: why am I so fascinated with its world and power? Why should I continue to use it? I wanted to make this clear and not just rely on other people’s thoughts and impressions. I was also looking for a definition that fits within the Twitter-set limit of 140 characters – a definition would only work for me if it was to be concise and to the point.

Well, I think I finally have it. I finally have a definition about “social media” that fits within all the criteria I already mentioned and answers my questions. And this definition is good enough for me to even get me out of bed at 7 and inspire me to write this post.

But I think I kept you waiting for a while now and it’s high time I share my revelation about what I consider “social media” to be and why should I (and if you like it – you) embrace it and continue to use it. Here it is:

Social media takes down barriers and brings us together. And together, as people, we become empowered to change worlds.

And now it’s your turn: what is “social media” according to you? Why do you use it?

I’m looking forward to your thoughts!

Morning! Complete the sentence: A tweet a day…

Morning! Have you had your morning coffee yet?

Good morning!

It’s Monday and it’s time to roll up our sleeves and start a new and, hopefully, a productive week. We all have our daily routines and rituals at this time of the day and week to help us get going.

Last week, while I was talking with a friend of mine he asked me the following question:

How will you finish this sentence: A tweet a day… ?

So, I thought this was a good brain tease, especially early in the morning. Then I asked some of you on twitter and facebook for your own suggestions. As a result there were some very witty responses.

This time again I am asking you the same question – How will you complete the sentence “A tweet a day …?” You can respond wherever you want – on twitter, facebook, or here in the comments.

In fact, to make it more fun (and easier to follow) use the hashtag #atweetaday on twitter.

Let’s get these brains all fired up!

Oh, and here is a list with some of the suggestions I’ve received last week:

@Icindo A Tweet a day… Will make me Sweet like a Fay! 😉

@digitives A tweet a day … makes the bird okay 😉

@_E_L_L_Y_ A tweet a day… is just a better way of starting the day with a “hey” 🙂

FB: Dian Nedyalkov A tweet a day….no way 😉

FB: Katina Kostova A tweet a day… makes your hair gray 😛 But twenty make you look friendly.

@maringerov A tweet a day… keeps the smartphone away.

@W2erner A tweet a day will result in exactly 33 tweets in the beginning of May.

@maevanheijst a tweet a day is not enough to tell you what i want to say

@AmberCadabra A tweet a day…can set off an avalanch of lost productivity if you’re not careful? 😉

Take care and have an enjoyable and productive week!

Marin