I was just thinking about Social Media and community and how I have met some of my best friends from mornings at our neighborhood coffee shop. It used to be the joke around the office that if our client load was low, I should go out for coffee! Social media works in much the same way, but it gives me a chance to have conversations with people that I would never run across in my day to day life. Now, I have the ability to interact with people who share my interests wherever they are, in our virtual coffee shop, by means of following their blogs and Twitter conversations.
Just like in real life, our on-line social interactions follow the same basic rules. The secret of social media success is not that difficult. Just show up, listen, add valuable content, listen some more and don’t do anything weird. It truly is that simple. To get to know some people in your area of interest, you will need to find websites of people who interest you and read them on a regular basis. Sure you can bookmark these sites and go visit them every so often, but you probably won’t do it with much regularity, which is what happens in the real world. If you only go to that coffee shop every so often, chances are you will never feel a part of it. A better way to go is to follow the site with RSS.
Once you find some sites that you enjoy, you can easily follow their posts and listen. Don’t forget to also follow them on Twitter. When you have something to say on a topic, you can then begin to engage in some conversation by either commenting on their posts or their tweets.
One of our client’s, Eric Stromquist, is the President of Stromquist and Company, an HVAC controls company that sells industrial and commercial HVAC systems and parts. I have to really call him out since Eric has done just what I am talking about – in a big way. A year or so ago, Eric was appalled when he Googled the main key words for his business and his company didn’t show up in the search. Eric then had an idea to build a new website to provide his customers and prospects with more detailed information on the products that his company handles and he engaged New Tricks to design the site and teach him how to use the Control Trends website to get Stromquist and Company the recognition as the industry leader that they are.
His new site is called Control Trends and Eric has utilized video and audio to interview industry leaders and show how a piece of equipment really works and and has written many articles on products and ideas pertinent to his industry. He has become adept at writing optimized posts and has been able to show up on the front page of his search terms, organically by writing optimized blog posts and using You Tube effectively.
I am talking about Eric today though because he has done an outstanding job of starting a conversation using Social Media. He read social media guru, Mitch Joel’s book, Six Pixels of Separation, and began to follow him. Last week, Eric contacted Mitch through his website and asked if he would do a phone interview with Eric, for the Control Trends blog about using social media marketing in industries like his. Mitch agreed and Eric, with his smooth radio voice, did a fantastic interview that just rocked. This is what I am talking about people. Eric reached out and was able to connect in a way that he would not have if not for the reach he now has using social media to broaden his world. Way to go Eric!