I recently put a Facebook message out about me being stung on the backside by a bee when returning to my sun lounger after grabbing a cup of tea. The bee was nestled in the folds of my towel and I’m afraid I just plonked my posterior back down again without a thought as to the consequences. I certainly felt some – and how!
What really surprised me though was how many people responded to it – not just with the easy ’like’ button but with concern, empathy, humour – really thoughtful messages which had taken time and energy to create.
Now I’m blessed with great contacts on Facebook, who are genuinely interested in what goes on Chez O’Sullivan but this was definitely a step-up engagement-wise. I wondered why. Generally, I tend to post photos of places visited, holiday snaps and family times. I also share business info, spreading the word and supporting those trying to carve out a local living as SME’s in this cut-throat world. Yes, I do get comments and plenty of ‘likes’ but rarely have my posts captured the imagination as much as the bee-sting blog.
What was different this time? This post demonstrated that not everything in the garden is rosy (apart from a large patch on my upper thigh!) and not everything that happens in life is picture perfect and I think folk responded to that.
So, my success tips this week are about engagement on social media, they are observations based on my personal experience, I wouldn’t for a moment claim to be a guru on this subject. But what I have observed is that the same rules that I often apply to presenting and public speaking apply to this medium too. Here goes …
- Balance your content, with the saccharine stuff judiciously juxtaposed with more sobering events. I don’t mean start ranting – or too much ‘woe is me’ but at least have some sour with your sweet.
- Use humour, so long as it is appropriate, proportionate and against yourself rather than unsuspecting family, friends or colleagues. It also takes the sting (see what I did there!) out of your tale. Which leads us to …
- Tell a story, preferably with a moral or a cautionary note – most folk love to hear that bad stuff happens to others as well as themselves
- Show a solution – in this case, always shake the towel or at least look where you are perching your peachy bits!
- Engage and interact with those kind enough to bother commenting, responding to the content of their comments to demonstrate that you have read them, rather than simply clicking the ‘like’ button
In other words, any interaction you have, either business or personal, comes across better if it shows the writer or speaker as a more rounded person, someone who is real, someone you can imagine chatting with over a coffee. Real life means that a rosy glow may be a sign of infection rather than an Instagram setting!