I spend a lot of time on the social networks these days looking for patterns in the cosmos that might improve the participation of my writing group members and the experience that they have once they visit. More and more, I see a posting on other business and organizational pages that looks like this:
“What do YOU want our Google+/Facebook/Twitter postings to share? How can we make this page better for you?”
I, um, hate to ask this, but isn’t that like asking customers of, say, a bakery why they came into the store to start with?
At the same time, I can see the conundrum. Figuring out what gets people to participate on social network pages is roughly on par with figuring out how to cure cancer or eliminate the common cold. But asking outright? Isn’t that action displaying a complete and total lack of imagination? After all, if we give you, the business or organizational page, the answer, then everyone will do it.
So it’s a lot of trial and error...and probably re-assessing online presence.
With the writing group, there seems to be three ways to get the group interested:
- Feature one of the participants’ projects;
- Say something controversial (note: this also has the potential of dropping connections);
- Actually listen and respond to dialogue that participants bring up themselves, instead of treating it like a formula.
Oh, that last one was so hard to learn, especially since there so many articles about the “right” way to social network.
The thing is, I’ve found that if the participants start the dialogue and are strengthened by the moderator, they tend to stay longer and they tend to see the business or organization as one that recognizes their contributions. In other words, loyal customers.
For that reason, I’m sticking with the last option, which is a remarkably simple solution, if I do say so myself. Or, I should say, if my participants do say so themselves.