I recently wrote an article for the International Association of Business Communicators’ CW Bulletin about the ten fundamentals of social media every charity and nonprofit should know. I am also sharing them here in a series of posts so that I can go into more detail about each than I could in the article and so we can discuss them individually. I should note that while my audience for the article was people involved with charities or nonprofits, these fundamentals are relevant to everyone on social media especially any small t0 mid-sized business or organization.
Here is the fifth post in the series.
There is a difference between having an account and using it
The difference between having an account and using it is whether you are meeting the expectations of the other users.
You can have a Twitter account, for example, but if you only post once a week or you only post and never reply to a post or resend someone else’s post then you are not using your account in the way that Twitter users expect. Tweets with @ and # that are also posted to Facebook won’t make sense to your audience there and shows that you are not taking the time to be present with them. Not following or responding to anyone on Twitter is another example.
Use an account in the way others expect to experience the benefits of being in that social space. What they expect is that you are present enough that they can get to know you and that you are interested in what they are saying. They also expect to be able to have a short conversation by responding to what you say and getting a response in return.
I like to compare using social to going to a coffee shop. If you go at the same time every day, you are likely see the same people and strike up conversations. Make enough of these connections and you start to build a sense of community. If you only go once a week and at different times that is not likely to happen since no one will remember who you are. If you say something interesting but do not reply in a timely fashion, the other person may not even remember what you are responding about.
In short, know what the expectations and indicators are for being considered present in a space and not just visiting it. Only by using an account in the way others expect, can you experience the benefits of having an account.
If you’re going to have an account, use it.