I met a guy who tweeted 80 times a day once.  It was in the early days of Twitter and he was virtually addicted.  He got a lot of followers initially, but what action did they take in response to his posts?

When Tweetdeck, Buffer and Hootsuite were launched lots of busy people cheered and automated all their posts.  Did it work?

I know lots of people who spend their lives on Facebook chatting with people.  Many of them are business people, but not all of these professionals are getting business from their chats.  Why are they doing it?

Many business people set up a profile on LinkedIn – but don’t use it effectively and wonder why it ‘doesn’t work’.

The answer to these issues is that there is a big difference between broadcast, chat and engagement. 

People buy people

Relationships are the key to doing business.  Most people want to work with people who they like.  There’s an argument that lots of people buy from online vendors where they have no idea who they’re dealing with, but there is still a level of loyalty in play.

Do you look first at eBay or Amazon, when you’re looking for a book or a household item?  Which clothing platforms do you visit most?  Are you a fan of Group-on, Wowcher or one of the many other similar platforms?

At some point you will have decided – almost subliminally – that you like a particular platform.  You probably don’t even know why, but it appeals to you in some way.  Often because you’ve got to know your way around and it feels familiar.

So what’s this got to do with social media?

You can’t have a relationship with a social media account

I talk about RAVE marketing.  RAVE stands for Reputation, Authority, Visibility, Expertise.  Broadcasting tips and useful information ticks those four boxes, but it stops short of ‘relationships’.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use broadcasting at all – it just needs to be part of the mix.

I see lots of chats on social media, but few people who leverage those.  This is especially true on Facebook, where chats are more likely to happen on a personal profile than on a business page, unless the page owner has really worked hard to create a community.

On LinkedIn many people ask a question to generate comments and it’s good to get involved in this kind of discussion to raise your profile and demonstrate your knowledge (visibility and expertise).  But then what?

Clearly you can’t maintain relationships with all your connections – especially if you’ve been building your profile over several years.  The secret is to actively look to connect with the people you particularly want to have a relationship with and go beyond the initial connection.

Delivering information in your updates that will interest, engage and entertain your target audience is a good first step.  However, when you take it to a more personal level it takes more effort to get a conversation going and start building that relationship.

Some people will respond and some won’t, but if you don’t make it a practice to send a personal message when you connect with someone, you’ll never find out who your next client might be.

A good social media strategy is to take all three elements – broadcast, chat and engage.