February 8, 2012

Social Media – Looking People in the Eyes

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Written by: Ross Quintana
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Looking People in the Eyes is an article I feel compelled to write about social media interaction.

We have all met people in real life that talked to us like we were not that important. If you have ever talked to someone who wasn’t looking you in the eyes you know what I mean. When people lock eyes there is a connection that happens and a focus that is apparent. In the world of social media it is obvious when the person you are interacting with is not that interested in your interaction. Part of the problem is that text is just not that warm and fuzzy. I have read some emails and messages that felt like the person was had to reply in 10 seconds before going out the door. People can imply the human side of the text we send. Social media starts with the world social. Yet some people forget that people can feel how you or your brand values them through your interaction. Are you aware of how you are coming across? Here are 4 tips to make sure your looking people in the eyes with your social media and making the type of connections you want to.

Tip#1 – Use more than two words. Only real connections count in social media. If your idea of connecting or replying to someone is saying “thanks!” or “got it” then you are missing the connection. You aren’t doing anyone a favor by replying or commenting on a post of theirs in 1 or 2 words. STOP using the word nice. If you can’t spare five or more words then forget it. Overly short replies make people feel unimportant and if the point of the reply was to build the relationship, then do enough to get the job done. People asses a value to your words in the world of text so if you are in a hurry and don’t feel they are important then they can feel that in your words.

Tip#2 – Use their name. People love the sound of it and it lets them know you are engaging them. “@rm123 thanks” is not very personal, try “thank you Julie for your kind words”. Just like real life, social media is a crowded space and just saying “thanks” can get lost in the crowd of words. If you want to make sure they hear you and remember you, then use their name and say something of value.

Tip#3 – Follow up. Don’t let people speak into the black void of the internet. If they say something follow up, if they reply don’t leave them hanging, be the last one to speak. We don’t need more hit and run conversations on the internet. Go beyond abrupt conversations especially when it comes to thanking someone or saying your welcome.

Tip #4 – Go Beyond. After someone says thanks for your comment or retweet, go do one more thing for them. Post another comment, retweet another tweet of theirs. You are top of mind to them right now so build on that and link your good deeds. I guarantee you they will remember you even more. In the world of social media it is easy to get lost in the noise. If someone has 10,000 followers they aren’t going to remember you because you left one comment. Just like saying hi to a stranger isn’t going to make them remember you years later.

Social rules apply online as well as offline. Looking people in the eyes in social media means you make a real connection and make the memory more permanent and meaningful. Make sure when you are interacting online that your words and actions are looking people in the eye.

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About the Author

Ross Quintana
Founder of SocialMagnets, I am passionate about social media, influence, innovation, strategy, and marketing. I love to help people learn and understand the digital world. I stretch people's thinking and share my analysis of information, tools, and strategies in social media. Let's connect


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