Participation Premium – The Golden Rule of Social Media

Robert Scoble, Shell Israel, Michael Arrington – figure heads in “social media” – have recently been referring to a premise that is just as important for businesses online as is it for individuals:  the more you participate the more successful you’ll become.

Sound familiar?  Give and you shall receive!  Listen and you shall learn.  We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much.  Do unto others as you would have them read and comment on your blog or website…

You’re a business who is jumping in online.  “What do I do?” you ask.  The most important first step, along with defining your goals and online identity, is to listen twice as much as you ‘participate’ and participate 10x’s more than you are now.

Find out the top 10, 50 or 100 bloggers in your field.  Read them consistently and multiple times a week, if not daily.  Read the sports section less or stay up 10 minutes longer and read what people are saying in and around your industry and business.  Visit websites associated with your products or service.  Read reviews first, read them again, think about it, absorb it…and then respond.  Read comments, watch videos, listen to podcasts.  Become an expert in what people are talking about in your field, and than start communicating, posting and interacting.

The more you get involved – the more you participate in responding, posting, interacting, and being a part of the dialogue online – the more it will pay dividends in terms of creating connection, loyalty, understanding and a swell of presence that was never there before

Social Media: Jump in…

June 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Social Media

I work with restaurants.  And small business, but primarily restaurants.  Some restaurant chains (+20 locations) but mostly I interact with 1 – 3 location businesses.  Average yearly revenues:  around $1 – $3 million, on average.

Most of these restaurant owners, for reasons well intentioned, are not sure they want to jump in with a blog or into ‘social media’ or ‘web 2.0′.  They aren’t quite sure what to do with a Facebook pages, nor are they quite sure what they think about them.  Whatever happened to the days where you just tried to run a good restaurant and you didn’t have to worr nor are they too keen on having a MySpace presence (that’s just not our demo). Restaurant owners tend to obsess over user reviews, namely, bad user reviews.

Forget about the bad user reviews, they’ll take care of themselves and washout. Pay attention to your business and start engaging online in a creative, “cool” manner. By cool I mean being more transparent, being more real, being more you! Be you. Do you!

Don’t tell me about your specials or sell me your happy hour. I want to hear what makes you tick, why your in the business, what is going on in the neighborhood, where you source your food and why, a bad or good experience from last nights dinner service.

And authentic responses to good and bad reviews posted! They mean something. Authentic yet yielding and professional, accommodating responses are critical, especially to good reviews.

Start to engage. Start to trust. Start to yield some of the control over to the social sphere that is your image, your story not quite under your control.

It will pay huge dividends to those who trust, and those who engage. Just be honest. Just be yourself. People see that, they sense it and they love it. Trust me. It works.