Think about the last 10 things you Twittered? Was anything personal? Did you mention what you were having for dinner or what you are watching on TV? Or do you only twitter things that are strictly business? Now think about your blog. While all your blog posts can be about business, do they have personality injected into it that helps people get to know the person behind the blog? What about Facebook? Do you upload photos and tag yourself in others? Do you write back and forth on people’s walls about things unrelated to work?
What many people don’t realize is that social media isn’t just about the promotional aspect of it… a large part of social media is the engagement, and part of that is revealing information about yourself so that you become more than just a handle and an avatar on the various social media sites.
For example, people who read both JenSense.com and JenniferSlegg.com will know that I have an obsession with Starbucks, I love all things Disney (and even got to speak at Disneyland once), and I’m a hockey fan (specifically Vancouver Canucks – Go Canucks Go!) And those that follow my twitter feed will know even more about me, such as the fact I love to BBQ now that the weather is turning warmer, I love Lost (okay, it’s probably an obsession too, especially when we are all twittering with #LOST as we watch each episode) and have a dog that quite often looks guilty about something when she isn’t snoozing next to my desk while I work.
Now, think about yourself. What have you revealed about yourself in your blog posts and your twitter feeds that helps your readers and followers “know” you? Anything? Too many marketers leaping into the social media world tend to talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk when it comes to getting the personal engagement that goes beyond the business engagement.
Why is this? Because they are just so focused on the business aspect of it they forget that the personality end of it is just as important, especially when they are trying to build long-term relationships. Industry news twitter accounts are a dime a dozen, so if that’s all you do, why should someone follow you when they can get the identical thing from many other sources, some which are bound to be considered more authoritative than you? But if you are also throwing in personality, whether it is your personal DOH moments as it relates to your work that day, or chatting #LOST with fellow web marketers, it is that interaction that turns your handle and avatar into a real person.
And ask you get better known in the industry, you cross that line where the mundane actually is interesting to others. Think about how people buy People magazine and US Weekly to get their fix on the “real lives” of celebrities. Well, the same thing starts to happen as you get better known in the industry, and people want to learn more about the person behind the blog so they can get a better feel for the person. So unless everything you post is of the pretty mundane “I am eating a ham sandwich for lunch”, you don’t need to worry about interspersing some of the mundane with some of the business since that is about marketing you and your personality.
Don’t forget to show your emotional side. Every person has a wide range of emotions because we aren’t robots, although I know sometimes some of wish we were! But revealing your love and hates, how you are feeling about things, what is upsetting you or making you happy can reveal more about you. Just make sure that the majority of your tweets or blog posts reflect a negative attitude otherwise people will tire of it pretty fast. Don’t be a Debbie Downer
Don’t forget that just as you want people to know you in social media, you have to know others too. This means interacting with others about their interests too. It can be something as simple a tweeting to some “@whoever I thought of you this morning when I saw ___” or asking someone about a non-work related interest. When you show that you know others, people are more likely to want to know you too. Think about people in your life that only talk about themselves and how old that gets. The same thing applies here too
Nearly all of my “absolutely must follow” people that I follow are all ones that don’t just talk shop, they talk about things far beyond work, whether it is random musings about life, about their trip to Disneyland/Disneyworld, latest Lost theories or how well their chosen hockey/basketball/football/soccer team is doing at the moment. Think about your own “absolutely must follow” list – most of them probably have a well balanced mesh of personal and work related tweets.
But how much information is Too Much Information (TMI)? Well, an occasional drunken tweet can be amusing, but keep in mind what you might find really amusing 8 martinis in might be anything but to the very sober followers reading it. Likewise, a well written rant on your blog can be pulled off well, but one shot off in the heat of the moment can actually damage your social media personality. So always keep in mind perceptions, unless you really don’t care how it could potentially impact your business. It wouldn’t be the first time someone has been fired or lost clients over tweets or blog entries. True, some might not regret it, but others definitely do.
So next time you tweet or blog, or are setting out to do it for a client, think about the personality aspect of it and how you can get some of it across to your followers and readers. Because someone with a personality and a story is a whole lot more interesting than a robot