7.28.2011

Feeling Anti-Social? How To Break The Ice at the Online Cocktail Party

Human beings are social creatures by nature.  Yes, even the techy, Star Trek types.  But for some reason everyone’s story is the same: people like being at the party, but sometimes it takes us a while to warm up and really feel part of the group.  Once we get over the awkward feeling that everyone is starring at us as we entered (trust me, they’re not so get over yourself and relax), we generally find that once we get a drink and settle in that the “crowd” is rather accepting of us.  Furthermore, they might even want to build a relationship with us or (gasp!) do business with us.

This is exactly how social media works.  That’s why we call it “social”.  Don’t worry about being late to the party.   You’re welcome to join us anytime.  Here are a few tips to get started.

Dress Code

Business casual is perfectly acceptable however the emphasis should be on business and not casual.  When posting an update to Facebook or Twitter, use your “office” voice and leave the tailgate voice for the tailgate with your friends. The most important thing to remember is that you are building or maintaining relationships with clients and colleagues.  Use the same etiquette and vernacular that you would if you were speaking with them at a business-after-hours or other networking event. 

What Time Does It Start?
One of the biggest challenges with social media is when to post something.  That is a big question with an answer that, well, depends.  It depends on what type of business you have and when your customers are online.  Number one rule of customer-centricity is to know your customer.  If you know them, then you know their behavior.  Speak to them when and where they choose – not when it’s most convenient for you. 

Who Will Be There?
EVERYONE.
Customers. Colleagues.  Potential employers/future job prospects.  But also the competition.  Let me say that again.  Your competition is already at the party and they just bought your client a drink. Also, they just asked your employee for their business card. Even if you’re not sure what to wear, what time it starts, or what really happens at this party, relax.  You will figure all that out in time.  But if you’re not there, it’s fatal.

So, get in the car and get to that party! Engage yourself and your customers.  Engage your friends.  Be patient.  You will not sell something at this party – at least not right away.  But you will eventually.  And your brand equity will skyrocket.  Pretty soon they’ll be asking YOU to host the party at your place.  Better yet, they’ll just start showing up at your place and you won’t even have to invite them.  Why? Because you’re the life of the party. 

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