Read – Daily
You can skim through a few links posted (articles), but plan on spending a few minutes every day cruising through different areas of your Twitter account. Comment and repost at least 1 thing. And add your thoughts, if they provide value. This is good for a lot of reasons, but primarily if you are following folks that share an interest, and they share valuable content, and you’re reading it, you are learning and engaging – and supporting others.
Online – In person – Online
The most naturally awesome cycle ever! With time and patience, these online-offline relationships become cyclical. Once you meet someone in person, you return to Twitter knowing them a bit better – they’re more likely to reply or retweet, and generally engage with you. This can be a powerful cycle, turning people you might only see once or twice a year at conferences into people you correspond with on an almost daily basis. You’ll miss out on all of this, though, if you take a short-term view. Instead of obsessing about getting out today’s link, or pushing for a reply or retweet, take the time to get to know people. Real opportunities come from building relationships, and Twitter is a uniquely powerful touch point in that process.
Hard sell days are gone
Social communities are all about catering to the interests of others rather than finding targets and blasting them will sales messages – remember, they need: recognition, support or promotion, and real answers that help them understand concepts and context.
Be straightforward and helpful
Hits to your brand reputation cannot be understated if you mislead, lie, or engage in “hard sell” tactics. Folks will call you out publicly. Some will even go to OTHER ONLINE COMMUNITIES, including your competitors, and rant – or worse, if you mislead them, they will expose your tactic on their own blog or a competitor forum – so please be honest and helpful.
If you don’t care, don’t fake it
Here’s the part that requires an honest review of how you feel about your customers and potential advocates. If you really don’t like connecting, and you don’t honestly care about how people feel about your product or service, you probably shouldn’t be on social. Participants on social channels can sniff out tone deaf businesses. If you really don’t care, I would recommend staying off the social channels – it could hurt your brand more than help.