3 Ways to Be Social with Social Media

People use social media in a lot of different ways, and what works the best is when social media is actually social.  Visualize a big networking event. Aside from that one guy your cousin knows who always shows up and gets ripped, many are approachable. So there you are, with your fancy glass of wine in hand–now what? Here are three ways you can engage online.

1. Talk to Your New Follower About Himself. If you accept the premise that social media is a giant networking event, what could you talk about? Think about each Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest account as being a person or a business. What would you actually say to that person if you met them in real life? You could talk about their profile, or ask them about their business. One thing I love to ask about is their name. If you’re a shy person, networking is much easier if you have a topic. Since most people love to talk about themselves, engage them in a conversation about themselves!

2. Ask Your New Friend How She Got Her Name. Most people love to discuss their own names. So you can ask: Were they named after someone? Do they like their name? Do they have a nickname? Do others have a hard time pronouncing their name? Why doesn’t their name have any vowels in it? If it’s a common name, did they ever receive anyone else’s mail by mistake?

3. For a Business, Ask About What They Do. How long have they been in business? What is their service area? Who are their competitors? Has business been good lately? Is their business seasonal? There are hundreds of questions you could ask–and that any businessperson would love to answer.

If you start out just talking about yourself, chances are after awhile the other person is going to leave. But if you put the spotlight on the other person, they will probably think “What a great conversationalist!” even if you haven’t said a word about yourself. What a crazy idea, right? That of being social on social media.


  1. Jody Yarborough says

    Good ideas, Carol. It has long been understood in the communication field that people love talking about themselves, so your tips are right up that alley. Additionally, you pose an interesting challenge because the conventional wisdom around social media (even from Mr. Zuckerberg himself) is that, at least for FB, the intention is to not meet new people per se, but keep in touch with the connections you already have. But if the point is only to interact with those you know, then what is the point of asking for followers? Clearly there is a learning curve here and you make some solid suggestions to aide in that education… for success!

    • Hello Jody, certainly keeping up with already-existing friends is one reason to use social media. However, I’ve met so many new friends through Facebook and Twitter that I can’t imagine not using them as networking platforms. Although I’ve never met some of my contacts in real life, they are supportive friends and many have resulted in real life meetings and deeper friendships.

      Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment.

  2. Great tips, Carol.


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