Do you want a more successful blog? Would you like to make more connections in Twitter? Are you wondering how to get more value out of your experiences online? Focus on everything that encourages more interaction and participation. It’s a magic trick that works every time.
A Tale of Two Interactions
I’d like to offer you a choice. You may either sit in a quiet room and watch a recorded presentation given by one of the smartest, most thought-provoking women in the world, or, you can have a live meeting with a very smart and incredibly engaging woman, eager to hear your ideas and to talk with you in detail about your future goals and needs. Which would you choose?
Another choice: hang out with your buddy who brags about his sales all day, or spend time with a couple of friends who share ideas and listen to your challenges?
When we talk in terms of people, it’s pretty obvious, right?
Now, which face are you showing through your online presence? Are you the live and participatory, the sharing and thoughtful, or are you a one way street?
The Simplest of Interactions
Commenting and rating and voting are all very low-impact interactions. One of the main points of Amazon.com is that people can rate the products they’ve purchased, or leave reviews. Albert Maruggi and I are doing some work with a company called Quick Comments. They have some simple interactions in mind from their tool. There are votes in Digg, and star ratings in YouTube.
We feel something when we do even these simplest of interactions.
Consider Your Online Participation
If you’re on Twitter pitching your products and services all the time, or pointing to your blog posts ceaselessly, are you encouraging interaction? Shift a good portion of your effort into finding people of interest and talking with them about their projects, their success, their challenges. (Good salespeople know this inherently: that it’s all about the other person. Some of the rest of us don’t come to this realization readily.)
On your blog, are you writing strictly as the authority? How can you encourage a more two-way conversation?
If you’re marketing or performing any kind of business communication through video, is there a way to add participation around it? How can you encourage more interaction than simply encouraging a viewing habit?
Even in the event space, participation is key. I run a conference series and we’re working on ways to amp up the interaction during the events (not to mention before and after). One way we’ve come up with was to make the primary theme of the events “Strategy Into Action.” We’re encouraging our participants (not attendees) to bring business case questions for the speakers and exhibitors to solve. Why? Because we thought it would be a great way to make the events more participatory. (We learned it from PodCamp.
If you’re using online media tools like blogs, podcasts, and the like to reach new people, what choices are you making along the way? How do those choices encourage or discourage more participation and interaction with your chosen audience? What roadblocks or turnoffs have you put in the way of these things?
Everything I do on the web is based on the goal of extended human interactions. These types of questions have made the difference in what choices I make in my blogging, in my use of Twitter and other social networks, in why I shoot video sometimes instead of just typing. I encourage you to take a quick audit of how you’re using the tools. How are you doing in the interaction/participation category?
Photo credit, YuvalH