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 second post in the series.
Social media is about building relationships. Be social.
A benefit of social media is connecting with people who have something in common with you. You can discover people—even those who may be physically close—that you otherwise many never find. Being active on social media presents you with a much larger pool of people for making connections than ever before. The amount of time required to maintain a relationship depends upon the strength of the relationship. At the same time, a more casual relationship where someone feels as if they know you from what you share and with minimal if any interaction can prove to be stronger than you might expect.
People have relationships with people not with organizations. Make sure that you are talking like a real person and in a conversational style. Better yet, identify who is the voice of your organization on a platform so that a stronger connection can be made with the people there. Using the official voice of an organization works in a news release or marketing material but becomes a barrier to connecting in a social space.
An excellent example is the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. As a major Canadian cultural institution, it would be easy for the festival to use its official voice on Twitter and Facebook. Instead, you know that you are dealing with Lisa Middleton on Twitter. Not only does their profile say so, the conversational tone, language and interactions ring true.
Their 27,000+ fans on Facebook have a similar experience through a joint effort by Lisa, Aaron Kropf and Christi Rutledge. In the words of a patron, “Whoever at the theatre decided to take the theatre onto Facebook was brilliant! For the first time ever, I’m actually starting to feel like the theatre has some humans up there in the ‘golden tower’ and I’m starting to take a personal interest in it as I follow the human side of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.”
Your stories, questions or words of wisdom
Do you have any stories to show the power of social media to build or enhance relationships? Are you trying but having trouble? If so, ask for advice. Or share your words of wisdom or even your not so wise words about how folks can learn to build relationships.