One of the more difficult aspects of the new world of marketing in a social computing paradigm is throttling your communications. Twitter is fleeting. Unless you've hit on a specific hashtag or keyword that someone is tracking, your messaging will be lost in the shuffle of generic partner references and #JustinBieber mentions. For example, the #SharePoint hashtag has become a virtual bus stop, with a constant flow of travelers climbing onboard while drenched in cheap cologne, eating an overcooked burrito, without so much as wiping their feet on the way in. (too descriptive?)
The natural response is to increase the volume of messaging. Alert your ground troops to re-tweet everything. And if you find yourself with nothing to say toward the end of the day -- and maybe you're also experiencing some unusually low blood sugar -- is to re-tweet others who have re-tweeted you. You know, to keep it all going. Like hot potato.
My advice? Don't do it. Social tool updates may be fleeting, but they should also be somewhat relevant. I've often advised my own team on using three separate "voices" when communicating or marketing via Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook/Google+ updates, but I'm going to add a fourth, overarching rule to my list:
I don't care what you're out there promoting -- your personal brand or your company -- but people do not want to follow a bot. Some part of your messaging should be personal to let people know there is a real person underneath all of the re-tweets, the obscure technology links, and the event recommendations.
I'm not talking so much about your tone or language (although, you should think about both depending on what message you’re trying to convey) but more about the second type of content you should share. Unlike personal notes, this is about corporate messaging. New product releases, participation in upcoming tradeshows, and so forth. Just don't let it be overwhelming. It should constitute no more than 1/3 of your messages, in my opinion.
Be an expert.
This is more than re-tweeting someone else. This is about sharing deeper insight into your technology/product/service than what people can find on your website. If you're in Sales, tell us about it. Teach us. Expand our minds. Help us triangulate between what we know about your personal story and your corporate messaging so that we can get a clearer picture of who you are, and what you bring to the table.
And here's my fourth suggestion: no matter what you do for a living, be genuine. People can see through the façade of empty tweets and brainless links. Lower frequency yet higher-quality messages beats high frequency noise. Period.
There are no hard and fast rules to building a following, or entertaining the masses who already follow you. You bring your own experiences, your own personality, and your own standards to the table. And if using these channels for marketing purposes, you should be constantly making adjustments, changing the "marketing mix" until you reach your personal equilibrium. #KevinBacon #socialnetworking #socialcomputing #buckleyplanet #networkingscience