As I have mentioned, attention is the currency of the online world.
Active participation in social media channels that you are involved in builds your reputation and consumer affinity. That means asking questions without fear of what someone might write on your board.
It means responding to people’s questions and/or complaints. You may choose to take the conversation offline, but you should still post some kind of response on your Facebook page/Twitter feed/whatever. This shows fans of your page that someone is listening and builds the value of your social media presence.
Adding Value to Conversation
Participation includes finding conversations that you can add value to. If you are a personal trainer, comment on fitness stories or answer health/fitness questions on Yahoo Answers. If you run a pie company, comment on recipe sites.
This allows you to establish your credentials as an expert.
Advise, Don’t Advertise
Don’t use these responses as ad space. An example of the WRONG way to do things would be if the afore mentioned personal trainer responded to an online story with the comment “These are great tips, but if you really want to have a killer summer body, visit Pete’s Personal Training in Hermosa Beach.”
People generally are not stupid (despite the success of “Two and a Half Men”). When you turn your comment into a blatant ad, you have instantly destroyed your credibility as a source of reliable information. In fact, you shouldn’t even mention your business.
Instead, use the opportunity to contribute meaningful thoughts to the conversation. Many online comment forums allow commenters to link back to their website or Twitter feed, and if people think the information and insight you provide are valuable, they will likely seek out more.
Do It Today – Right Now
If you haven’t been getting involved in online conversations, start right now. Find a conversation that you can add value to, and start building that rep!