Thursday, 26 January 2012

Social Networking for Nubes

I was recently asked by someone who managed a twitter account for a small organization what they were supposed to tweet if they don’t have anything to say. My response was “why do you have Twitter?” Apparently in person I’m slightly less eloquent than if I have time to think about it and write it down. I thought I’d go ahead and respond to this person’s question in a less arrogant manor.

Think of the internet like a giant convention. You are in a room full of people and information. Your goal is to connect and interact with as many potential clients as possible to promote your business (P.S. if you’re looking for work, your organization is you, and your clients are companies and recruiters).  You have a booth. The booth is your company’s website. It has all kinds of information about your organization including contact information for head office and the contact information of your employees attending the convention. You brought several employees to this event.

Employee 1: Facebook

Facebook is the most well-known of all your employees. He is connected to the most people, is the life of the party and everyone’s best friend. They all interact with this guy. He’s great to have around, but sadly he suffers from ADHD. When he seeks someone out directly he’s able to focus and get your message across to that person. In a crowd of people his message gets lost. He often stops to play games with people or show them pictures of his kids doing idiotic things like learning to crawl or enjoying their first few moments of life. Sometimes amongst all of the things he’s trying to do, your message doesn’t really reach anyone.   He’s probably the first point of contact for a lot of your audience, but he’s definitely not the most effective.

Employee 2: LinkedIn

This guy is all business. He wore a three-piece suit to a business casual event, and is shaking the hands of all your employees, potential job applicants, representatives of affiliate companies, and everyone who is looking to make business connections. However, these are the only people who will talk to him. Because of his “all work and no play” attitude, he is not able to effectively engage people who are just there to mingle and have a good time. Those girls in the back who could probably benefit from your product or service are shying away from him, opting to hang out with Facebook, who is showing them how to play Bejeweled.

Employee 3: Twitter

This is your most efficient employee. In 140 characters or less, he spits out data in a way that lets everyone in range hear and understand exactly what your message is. There is no long drawn out conversation. He generates interest and steers traffic to your booth, where people can learn more about you. His message is also the easiest for others to share with their entire network, and he politely reciprocates by sharing their message as well. He does often get off topic, but your message is there. He lets people know he has pictures of his dog, but lets them decide whether to view them or not. Though not as much fun as Facebook, he’s a healthy balance between business and fun. Just don’t ask him to organize your contact list, it seems so easy, but he just doesn’t do it (I feel like he could if he tried though). 

Employee 4: Google+

Your newest employee is a little less distracted than Facebook. Of all of your employees he is certainly the best at organizing your contacts, but he doesn’t have the network of Facebook or the efficiency of Twitter. Don’t count this guy out because he’s new. His affiliation with Google means he has a lot of potential. At some point he will be the main hub for all interaction with Google, giving him the potential to surpass Facebook’s network, and his Android affiliation could make him a more mobile friendly app than Twitter someday.

You would not expect employees to run around and hand out business cards and not engage with anyone. You should be using this same logic with your social networking tools. They are in fact, “networking” tools and not just promotional tools. When you’re asking the question “what do I tweet.” ask the question, what would I tell my employees to say if they ran into someone who knew/didn’t know what my organization does and how it can help them? Treat it like a conversation. It evolves as your interact with your clients. 


  1. This is a pretty interesting view on what one might consider the various social networks to represent.

    What happens when an employee has all these social networks? If you just have one, is it just as efficient?

  2. Thanks Iain. It would be more "effective" to have all of them as you would be able to converse with a broader audience(Ex: Some people who have LinkedIn will not have Twitter).

    It is only more efficient if you are interacting with all of them on a regular basis. When an account is inactive for weeks, it could be assumed that the owner does not check it often, which reduces the likelyhood that someone will appempt to engage with it. It's like being at the convention and wearing a nametag, but not saying anything....kind of useless.