The cocktail party rule of social media

Picture 3 I gave a presentation yesterday at the Iowa Tourism conference.  I had the opportunity to speak with 200+ tourism professionals who work in museums, casinos, publishers, convention and visitors bureaus, wineries, parks, hotels and just about everything in between.  (They get to hear from Scott Ginsberg tomorrow!)

In my talk on social media, I used this graphic as one of my slides and talked abut my cocktail party rule of social media.

I thought you might find it of interest as well:

Imagine we meet at a cocktail party and strike up an initial conversation.  As soon as we introduce ourselves, I begin talking.  And talking.  And talking.

The topic?  Me.  And then a little bit more about me.  For some variety, I then tell you some great stories….starring me.

You’d be running for cover in about 5 minutes, wouldn’t you?  No matter how fascinating I am.

Social media is a lot like a cocktail party.  Imagine a large room, filled with interesting people.  There are many conversations happening at once.  People are talking about themselves, asking questions about the other person and then a common thread is discovered.  Something that both people have in common.  That’s when the conversation gets very lively and a connection is made.

And yet, when some businesses foray into social media, they are still operating under the old broadcast methods of marketing and communications.  I talk about me (sell) and what matters to me (selling you stuff) and pretty soon, you’re tuning out or desperately looking for the exit.

That doesn’t work at a cocktail party and it doesn’t work on Twitter, Facebook, your blog or any other social media venue either.

If you want to be a part of a community or build a community — you do it online just like you’d do it offline.  You mix and mingle.  You share what you have — interest, expertise, connections, and your attention.

Then, when it’s your turn to talk — they’ll actually be ready to listen.

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