Tom, is a friend of mine.
He is also the Managing Director of Stranslations, a UK translation agency that started out with Social Media just a few months ago.
Twitter is the platform he uses most, and from the beginning, I couldn’t help to notice how well he uses it.
In fact, it’s a showcase on how to do it right.
His ‘tweets’ are personal, friendly and interesting and that is no coincidence because his aim is not so much to put out news but to build relations.
Look at how he welcomes every follower:
This is a small gesture, but a transforming one: it changes the relationship.
John and Adam are no longer mere spectators. Tom involves them as the real-life people they are — people he wants to have direct and friendly contact with.
It’s a big contrast to many corporate accounts that have little interaction but lots of news.
With news, as useful as they may be, we remain spectators. All we do is consume the information. What’s worse is that we often don’t get a feeling for the people behind the account. That’s just not engaging.
A clear strategy
There’s another big thing that Tom does right.
He has a clear picture of whom he wants to build relations with: good translators on the one hand; potential and existing clients on the other. He’s not interested in thousands of followers. He wants quality.
And this allows him to focus his energy.
That is important because building relations is an investment. Every single day, you have to invest a bit of your time — and of your personality.
Humans make business tick
I see this investment similar to the work that outside sales people do.
When they visit a customer, they don’t close a deal the minute they walk through the door. They converse about the weather, their children or industry developments. They don’t talk business right away.
Every sensible organisation allows for this to happen because that’s exactly what makes business tick: people who like and trust each other.
Who’s reaching out?
It’s no different in Social Media.
As in real life, you want to invest in those relationships that matter. That is why a clear strategy is so important: you need to know whom you want to reach and, just as importantly, who should do the reaching-out.
The answer, in many cases, will not be the people in Marketing, or at least not exclusively.
It can be the Managing Director, like in Tom’s case. Or the sales people…or product specialists, engineers, people from HR or in procurement. It all depends on whom you want to reach.
This is the lesson that Tom has for us: using Social Media is not much different from what we do in real life.
It’s about knowing with whom you want to be in contact with and why.
And when you begin, don’t just put out news. Start conversations. Share helpful information but also say hello from time to time. Be personal. That’s why it’s called Social Media in the first place.
Or as Tom says: the era of broadcasting is over.