This is the third in a series exploring the keys to achieving business benefits in social media:
 
Connections + Meaningful Content + Authentic Helpfulness = Business Benefits.
Let’s continue the discussion with the second element, MEANINGFUL CONTENT.

To turn online connections into serious business relationships, you need to surround your cyber-self with useful, interesting content. Difficulty in providing consistent, meaningful content is the NUMBER ONE reason people give up and never achieve social media business benefits. So you just have to find a way to do it! First, let’s get those excuses out of the way:

  1. If you’re interesting, entertaining and funny, people will be drawn to you. But if you’re shy and have difficulty being entertaining, you just can’t provide content, so why try?
  2. Takes too much time. No person with a full-time job can possibly have time for the incremental effort needed for social media. Who has time to write a blog???
  3. Social media is just a stupid fad any way.

We are not going to accept these excuses, right? RIGHT! So, I’ve worked up a strategy for you to efficiently deliver meaningful content even if you’re not a natural writer. All you have to do is be yourself and tenaciously ENGAGE. Ideas to create content for the non-writer, in just a few minutes a day:

  • In the last post, I emphasized the importance of joining Linked-In Groups. Now become INVOLVED. Twice a week, respond to a question or comment in the group. You can answer questions can’t you? Of course you can! Time commitment: 20 min/week.
  • Once a week, peruse online magazines related to your industry. Find an interesting article. Leave an opinion or your appreciation in the comment section then tweet the article out to your followers on Twitter. You’ve created meaningful content twice. Time = 15 min
  • Find five or more blogs related to your industry and put them in an aggregator like Google Reader. Once you have this set up, review blog content at least once a week and comment + tweet out your favorite articles. 15 min
  • Find interesting and useful content that has already been created by your company. Are there ways you can reference this content to help others, solve problems, and answer questions?
  • In the last post we talked about finding connections through Facebook. Now visit them. Share, engage, comment, react, ask more questions. 20 min
  • Tweet AT LEAST three times a day (at different times), AT LEAST three days a week. (45 min/week)

At first, I know it can be difficult to figure out what to tweet, but you have to keep at it! When you get stuck, here are some subject matter ideas to get you going again.

  • An entertaining observation you made – it could be a funny bumper sticker, a movie or a commercial you saw on TV.
  • Something interesting related to your business or industry. But DO NOT SELL. Here’s an example of something appropriate: “Finally landed a great contract – business has been tough.” Or, “Went to a great training program on social media today – I recommend it”
  • Re-tweet a particularly good article or post provided by somebody you follow.
  • Comment on an observation made by one of your followers.
  • Take a picture from a place you’re visiting and comment on it.
  • Express an opinion on a national news story.
  • Ask a question and authentically seek help from the community.
  • Thank followers who do something nice for you, like mentioning you on a Follow Friday.

To provide meaningful content, you don’t have to write a lot, but you MUST COMMIT. You know that old saying: You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him tweet. I can’t make you engage, but I promise that you can’t be successful without it.

If you were to help a friend get started in social media, what other ideas do you have?

Tomorrow, the final part of the success formula: Authentic Helpfulness.

Other articles in this series:

Part 1: A formula for social media business success

Part 2: Building meaningful business connections

Part 4: Social Media’s Economy of Giving

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