You hear it all the time: In the real world, having good communication skills is crucial to achieving success in all aspects of your life, from your relationships to your career. And a key component of having good communication skills is learning how to listen, to think less about what you’re going to say next and to instead give your undivided attention to what the other person is saying. It may seem like common sense, but even off-line, most people struggle with this; Often times, we are trying so hard to come up with responses or are concentrating on talking about ourselves that we miss the entire conversation all together. Are you guilty of this? And even worse, are you doing this on social media too?
Social media provides us tools and mediums to conduct and engage in conversations online. More and more, we are witnessing companies, both big and small, realize the power of social media, and conversations are sparking all over Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google+, Pinterest, etc.
But when I say be a better listener on social media, I don’t mean to just pay attention to who’s replying to your Facebook posts or mentioning you on Twitter. What I mean is you need to actively be aware of what’s going on in your industry—to be listening—in order to keep up with the latest news and information so that you can be a resource for your own audience. Being self-promotional and only talking about you and your business on your own channels will get boring. Is the content you’re posting compelling and relevant? Who is your audience, and what will interest and be useful to them?
There is a ton of content out there on the internet, and it’s your duty to sort through them all to find the best and most useful tidbits. Where do you start? Take some time to brainstorm main themes and keywords that describe your business, and use these terms to search the Internet for good content that you feel will be useful for your audience. Use Google alerts, search Twitter, listen in on discussions on message boards, join groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and participate in discussions, follow blogs, subscribe to your industry’s top magazines and newsletters– always be alert and aware of what’s going on.
Your social media is not just talking about you and your business—it’s about your audience, your fans and your followers. Always be on your toes in your industry and your profession, and relay these resources and information to your followers. You’ll be regarded as a thought-leader and an expert, and interesting content will conjure up more conversation between you and your audience.