Are You the Friend Who Never Shuts Up?

This guest post is by Daniel Smith of Propaganda House.

You know who I’m talking about: that friend who makes you wince whenever you see them pop up on your phone, or makes you dread social events that you know they’re going to be at. They’re like Jerry’s friend Joel Horneck in the Seinfeld episode “Male Unbonding“—the person who never shuts about themselves, and doesn’t pay attention to a single word you say.

I was becoming that person on social media

Not listening

Image copyright Renee Jansoa – Fotolia.com

Yes, I was becoming a Joel Horneck on social media. I was getting too absorbed in my own stuff, only caring about how many people viewed my posts and shared them with others. Scheduling posts on Facebook and Twitter, and not even looking at the timeline to see what other people were sharing.

Meanwhile, I was missing out on all the fantastic content that others were posting, and also missing out on developing relationships with these like-minded content creators.

Communication is 50% listening, 50% talking

The number one tip in the Social Media Examiner article “6 ways to become likeable with social media” is to “listen and never stop listening”.

Everyone wants to be heard, including your customers and clients. Listening to people is the best way to make them feel important, and it’s also the best way to build their trust in you. Don’t think this just applies to individuals; businesses can be good listeners as well, and can reap just as many rewards—potentially many more.

If it’s good enough for social media success stories, it’s good enough for you

How do you think people get successful on social media? I can assure you it’s not by constantly talking down to their followers.

One thing I’ve noticed with the majority of my favorite content creators on social media is that regardless of the size of their followings, they take the time to thank you or reply when you share their posts or leave a comment. The really good ones even personalize the experience by taking the time to check out your site and comment about it.

Don’t think they’ve got some magical advantage which allows them to engage better than you—there are only 24 hours in their days as well. Think of it this way: if you’re really efficient, you could check out someone’s site and comment about it in less than two minutes. I know those minutes add up pretty quickly, but if it creates a long term fan/subscriber/client/customer, isn’t it worth it?

Show that you’re listening

Reacting when people comment on or share your work is only a start, though. You should be aiming to be proactive.

Take some time each day to check out other peoples’ work, leave a comment, and share it to show them how valuable you found it. Not only will you make them feel good about what they’ve done and motivate them to do more; there’s a fair chance they’ll return the favor at some point down the track. Some simple ways to be proactive and show that you’re listening include:

  • Take some time out each day to retweet other peoples’ tweets. Be authentic, though: don’t just retweet for the sake of it. Retweet the stuff you like and think will be valuable to your audience.
  • Subscribe to peoples’ blogs and comment as often as you can.
  • Promote other peoples’ content by sharing with your audience on networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  • Create conversations and engage others by replying to their tweets, commenting on Facebook posts, etc.

If doing these things doesn’t come naturally, it might help to create a list. Set yourself a number of retweets and comments that you’ll make each day, and eventually it will become second nature.

Start now

How can you start doing it right away? Leave a comment on this post, or share it! Obviously that’s what I want you to do, but it’s also a good way to see if I’m practicing what I preach. Will I reply to your comment? Will I thank you for sharing it? Let’s find out…

Daniel Smith is the founder of and social media consultant at Propaganda House. Hit him up on twitter @propagandahouse.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

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Are You the Friend Who Never Shuts Up?

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