Friday, September 14, 2012

Carrying a Social Media Tune

Because there is so much material out there on writer’s block in social media, it is an obvious challenge for many. Or, maybe bloggers blog about blogger’s block to try to work through their own block! One of the beauties of social media technology is that it brings potential topics, relevant discussions and the associated metrics to our fingertips. Staying on top of trends can be overwhelming but we cannot complain for lack of resources.

To help crack a writer’s block, it is essential to stay on top of trending topics by adapting a few of the following techniques:

  • Monitor Twitter & Facebook discussions and industry leaders.
  • Read the blogs you have sought out and subscribed to.
  • Poll your community.
  • Use LinkedIn Answers to troll for what questions are being asked in your industry.
  • Visit trending sites or social bookmarking networks to see what gets the most votes.
But at the end of the day, it is the tone of our delivery that can hold or dismay our audience. In music, striving for perfect pitch, a note out of tune can be sharp or flat. In social media, I'll meld tone and tune and equate a “sharp” delivery as one that brags or is delivered from a lofty space above the crowd. “Flat” would be the negative approach of conveying a success by pointing out failures of others in a demeaning way. Reaching that perfect pitch takes practice and requires writing with passion (not drama – drama and passion are very different!). And, of course, the “selling of the CD at the end of the show” needs to be handled delicately, respectfully, subtly and never overdone.

I recently read a blog post by Scott Weighart of Bates Communications who nicely summed up the tone of content to which he is attracted. I would draw up an identical list, so I thought I’d share his with you: 

  • Here’s a really provocative, interesting article that I wanted to share with you.
  • Here’s a funny observation or a counter-intuitive take that I have about something relevant to you in the world today.
  • I’ve got a concise thought about my area of expertise that will really make you stop and think differently about a topic that interests you.
  • I wanted to share a little story with you that will entertain, challenge, or move you emotionally.

I especially like his last point which includes the “out” to write about a side topic, but one in which your target audience may be interested. As I exercise my own communication strategy for my business, I like the flexibility to include blog topics beyond my industry in order to develop a closer relationship with my readers. Those off-topic posts won’t solidify a reader’s opinion of my social media skills, but it might help shape in their mind whether they would like doing business with me.

The more posts (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) we read from others, the better “ear” we will develop for recognizing tone. Understanding the differences between flat and sharp enables us to develop our own unique business or personal tone.

Let the music begin!

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